Most of the moms I spoke to said that sex was quite literally the last thing on their sleep-deprived minds in the early days after having a baby. But when they did start thinking (and googling) about it, they wanted to know if it would hurt (some research suggests it does, the first time, for as many as 85 percent of women), if they’d look and feel different to their partners (very possibly) and, of course, if they’d ever even want it again.
I brought the libido question to Kendra Hamilton, a certified somatic sex educator and co-owner of ESC Holistic Sexual Wellness in Vancouver. She says that, between postpartum hormones and the “physical battle scars” of labour, loss of mojo is just “mother nature’s way of saying ‘You just had a baby and this is probably not a great time to procreate.’” Unless there’s something deeper going on, your libido will return eventually, she says—but it’s also helpful to “nudge yourself in that direction.” The longer partners go without physical intimacy, the harder it can become.
Still, even if you’re physically cleared to jump back in the saddle, you might not feel emotionally and mentally ready. New dads and co-parents, too, often suffer a loss of sex drive. (Fatigue, anxiety and stress aren’t exactly a recipe for sexy time.) For many couples, there will have to be a relearning process for sex, says Hamilton, so patience and self-compassion are key. She recommends easing back into things through cuddles, kisses and massage, focusing on emotional connection and intimacy. Take your time.