Sex and Intimacy After Childbirth
It’s completely natural for sexual intimacy to decline after having a baby. Parenting comes with many responsibilities and it can feel like there’s little time for anything else.
You absolutely can remain intimate after having kids, though. Whether you’re the proud parent of a newborn, or your kids are already a bit older, here are four tips to maintain closeness in your relationship and keep the romance alive after becoming parents.
1. Be clear about expectations and moods
Some couples avoid all intimacy, even simple physical touch, because they’re afraid it will be received as a signal that they want to have sex, even if they don’t.
According to Carolyn Pape Cowan, Ph.D., and adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Berkeley:
“The frequency of lovemaking declines during the early months of parenthood when mothers especially are exhausted, but we find that most couples' sex lives rebound within two years. During that time, though, some partners may not initiate even snuggling or touching for fear that it will give the message that they're ready to have sex when they aren't. We advise couples to be perfectly clear: "I'm not sure how much energy I have tonight, but I'd love to hold you for a few minutes." That enables them to have more intimate time together and show caring for each other.”
Simply stating how you’re feeling and how you’d like to be intimate can open the door to more intimacy of all varieties.
2. Prioritize time with your partner
Intimacy often declines when you don’t feel emotionally connected to your partner. To fix that, it’s important to make time for your partner and to treat them as a priority in your life. Maintaining emotional connectedness requires your time and attention.
This could be as simple as talking about your day (and not just about the children and other responsibilities) for 10 minutes before bed, or sending each other text message updates throughout your day.
3. Consider your partner’s needs
Communicating your own needs is important, but you also need to be mindful of your partner and their needs. Ask them what they need and how they’re feeling. Giving this sort of attention also makes it more likely that you’ll receive the same care and consideration in return.
4. Be willing to compromise
Intimacy doesn’t always have to mean sex, and it can take on many different forms. Cuddling, quality time talking together without distractions from the kids, cooking a nice meal together, and more can all be ways of maintaining intimacy after having kids.
As you focus on these small acts of intimacy more frequently, your emotional connection with each other will improve, and so will other aspects of intimacy.