Ask the expert: How can I regain confidence in my sexuality?

My newborn is now seven weeks old and I’ve been given
the go-ahead to have sex with my partner. I know my
partner is anxious to be intimate again but I’m still a bit
nervous. How can I regain confidence in my sexuality?

Answer from Dr. Robin Milhausen, Sexual Health Expert and Associate Professor at the
University of Guelph:

After having a baby, it takes the body time to recover. Though you’ve already received the
OK from your doctor and are physically ready, mental readiness can be a bit trickier.

As a new mom, you are now challenged by the demands of being a parent. On top of learning
how to care for a new infant, a mom has to also learn how to juggle the roles of mother, wife and
lover, where as before she was just wife and lover. Even some dads find it difficult to view their
partner as a sexual being post-baby. Where before you could have sex in any room, at any time,
you now have to work together as a couple to make sex a priority. It has to be purposeful.

Regaining your sex drive after giving birth can have a lot to do with body image. You’re
exhausted and maybe even haven’t had a shower in days. Though you may feel a pressure to be
ready to be intimate with your partner, sex just isn’t on your list of priorities. If this is the case,
it’s important to be honest with your partner about what is happening.

During pregnancy, and post-pregnancy especially, being purposeful about finding ways to
connect and keeping the lines of communication open is key. Explain that you would love to
be intimate but maybe you feel so tired or unsexy it’s difficult for you to be in a sexual frame of
mind. As long as the lines of communication are open, then your partner won’t misunderstand
why you’re not “in the mood” and you can work together on solutions. Both of you need to
affirm that you still love each other, then after a few baby steps, your intimate life can become
even more meaningful. – as told to Amanda Bloye

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, July 2013.

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