4 Reasons Why Sex Should be a Priority as a New Mom
By Natalie Hatjes, MS, CHt
Becoming a new mom comes with an overwhelming amount of emotions. It’s exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time, but overall amazing nonetheless. It’s a very challenging time, as a woman, trying to figure out how to switch between being a mother and expressing your sexual side. You may find yourself pondering questions like, “Is it possible to still feel and be sexy even though I am a mom now?”
Just because you now identify with a new title “mom”, does Not mean you can’t experience pleasure and orgasmic intimacy with your partner, or even yourself. Even as a sex expert I had to continually remind myself, as a new mom, that it was ok to still be myself while trying to raise a child. Losing yourself in motherhood is an easy thing to do, but difficult to come back from.
What excuses do you find yourself making to avoid sex? Do you find yourself saying things like, “I am too tired,” “I don’t have enough time” and, “My baby is awake all of the time?”
Pre-baby, you may not have had to put extra effort into making sex a priority, but it’s ok to schedule it in now that you have an extra person that requires a lot of attention. You schedule in a workout when it’s important, right? There is nothing wrong with scheduling in a time to have sex. This way you will feel more relaxed, maybe even take a nice nap afterwards. Bonding with your partner and self-care is so important postpartum, and I can’t think of a better way to be with each other than making time to get intimate.
You are still a sexual being, and even though it may not seem like it right now, you are still very much attracted to your partner. Your health and happiness are even more important now and you deserve to nurture that aspect of your life. To remain happy and healthy, my motto has always been, “An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away.”
Orgasms have so many benefits for new moms, or any woman for that matter.
When I was a new mom, my brain was on overdrive and I was exhausted all of the time. The advice I received was “sleep when the baby sleeps,” which wasn’t easy for me. Yes, I was exhausted, but I couldn’t just relax. I couldn’t stop thinking about what needed to be done, did I remembered to brush my teeth and/or take a shower? So here is some advice on how making sex a priority helped me to relax into motherhood.
1. Orgasms. After an orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness. Interestingly, it’s also the hormone that nursing moms release that helps with lactation and the same hormone that kicks your libido to the curb. Orgasms are much safer than a sleeping pill.
2. Reduce stress levels. As a new mom, you are probably feeling stressed. You are responsible for a new life, after all. Sex and intimacy with your partner can lower your stress levels and a help to increase your self-esteem by releasing a “feel good hormone” called oxytocin. You may have also heard it referred to as the “cuddle or love hormone.” Even just touching and hugging can keep you happy, healthy, and feeling good. Sounds good, right?
3. Exercise. Getting in some exercise may be difficult until you figure out a routine. If you can’t leave the house, have sex instead! Having sex burns about 5 calories per minute. You’re using all kinds of muscles and it bumps up your heart rate.
4. Increase sex drive. As a new mom, especially a nursing mom, you may notice you have a low sex drive. Having sex actually helps with your libido. It increases vaginal lubrication, blood flow, and elasticity, which all make sex feel better, and then you crave even more of it. Even better, it can help with that new “mommy bladder” because sex is like a workout for your pelvic floor muscles. Orgasms cause contractions in those muscles, which will strengthen them. Soon enough, you will not have to cross your legs to sneeze!
Sexual intimacy needs to go on the to do list, but don’t look at it as a chore. This is the icing on the cake, the reward to your hard work, the chocolate sprinkles on your ice cream. It makes your day better. This is all part of your self-care routine. I realize that many new moms are experiencing a low libido and don’t want to even think about sex, but there are ways to help with this. As a new mom, we typically put ourselves last. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so you have to push yourself to the top of your list.
A big disconnect can be that your partner thinks you are super sexy, but you feel frumpy in your oversized t-shirt and nursing bra. On top of that, you’re sure you smell like pee, poop, and now one breast is bigger than the other because you only nursed on one side two hours ago.
What will it take for you to feel sexy again? Go for a walk, schedule a salon appointment, pick up a new bra or lingerie, and/or go get a mani/pedi. Make sure you are taking some time for YOU. You can even set the mood with some candles, massage oils, music, dancing, and/or some sexy games. Just know that there is a light at the end of this tunnel! Give yourself permission to switch between roles. Take baby steps if you must, but keep the sexual intimacy alive. You are giving and receiving so much love to your baby, and even though your baby is consuming so much of your time and energy – don’t forget about Dad (and most importantly yourself).
Bio: Natalie Hatjes, MS, CHt, founder of Love Chat with Nat is a sex expert and hypnotherapist, sex toy peddler, speaker, blogger, and event organizer in South Florida. She offers empowering education for women through her wide variety of transformational, inspirational, and practical teachings. She has over 13 years of experience working one on one and in group settings, educating women on self-love, intimacy, and sexual health.
Natalie is also the founder of an online program Reconnect, Restore, Reclaim; a Holistic Approach to Intimacy After Cancer. She can be seen in ihadcancer.com. beatcancer.org, noumagazine.org, and more. She has also appeared on multiple podcasts, blogtalks, and webinars.