It's the thing we don't talk about, but it's the thing that means you're in a relationship rather than just a friendship, it's the thing that brings you closest together as a couple, and it's the thing that brought you a baby, for goodness' sake. But it's also the thing that might cause the most problems between you as a couple after the baby's arrived. I'm talking about the big S.E.X.
Yes, along with all the other baby-rearing challenges you'll encounter, you can also count on the intimacy being a bit different too. My own experience and talking to other new mums tells me that it's important to accept it and think about how to make things more comfortable, mentally as well as physically. It's ok to think about how things may have changed (if they haven't, hats off to you, lady) and to want to do something about it. That's why we ran our awesome pelvic floor event with Mothers Meeting earlier this year. Renowned Pelvic Floor Expert, Amanda Savage, who partners with &Breathe, gave the lowdown on pelvic floor health and good sex.
Here, we're publishing a series of Amanda's blog posts about your pelvic floor health and How to Get Your Mojo Back. Whenever you're ready to do that.
Through my work as a physiotherapist who specialises in coaching women, and men, on how to find and work their pelvic floor I have had lots of conversations about our bodies and how they cope with sex after a baby.
Sadly, nobody seems to be expecting postnatal sex to be any good. Popular press seems to be limiting our expectations. Why shouldn’t postnatal sex be as good as pre-baby?? I know many women who have found that childbirth improves their experience. Once the vaginal canal has been stretched it is more comfortable and accommodating, and they often enjoy having a more filled out body, feel sexier, and also enjoy seeing their partner in a new role as parent.
What is ‘good’ sex?
I hasten to remind you that I am a physiotherapist, not a sex therapist, so I am not even going to go down the road of what constitutes ‘hot’ sex - that's different for everyone and another topic entirely. My expertise is the exploration of your body and what might classify as good sex.
First you should definitely be able to actually have sex. It sounds simple, but it's not always the case.
- All your parts and your partners' should be able to fit together successfully without feeling there is a block.
- Then it should be without pain.
- And most importantly with pleasure for you.
Personally, I think of it as the type of sex that keeps your relationship with your partner connected, bonded and fun. It keeps you feeling like a woman and lover, not just a mother. It keeps you feeling valued and loved and allows you to value and love in return.
When things are really not right
If you are not having sex because there is a deep problem with yours or your partners' libido (totally not ever in the mood), or physically something is stopping you even trying (this could be a physical block, some bad healing, an infection, discharge, scarring) then you need to get to the root of why this is mentally and how to heal physically and mentally. If you are ready to have sex and you feel you just CAN’T then now is the time to take action. Book an appointment to see your GP for a proper examination, and don't be afraid to discuss the issues so you can start to get the bottom of the situation.
When it is just a bit flat
However, even if you are having sex, sometimes it's not quite the same as before. Perhaps you're feeling is that there’s no real medical reason why it shouldn’t be ok, but its just not really ‘doing’ it for you. Then, I have three things for you to look into. These three things could help you shift from things being a bit boring or uncomfortable, or not very satisfying, back to a place of 'ok I can get more sexy and heat up a bit from here by myself'. And that's a good starting point. Over the next series of posts, we'll be covering:
- Are you flexible enough?
- Do you have enough lubrication?
- Do your pelvic floor muscles squeeze in the right way?
- How to exercise your pelvic floor the right way.
Amanda Savage is a Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor who specialises in helping women find and train their pelvic floor muscles. She has been working in this field of physiotherapy for over 20 years. She is an amazing bank of knowledge and practical experience, helping me personally and other &Breathers adjust to their post-baby bodies. Her website, Supported Mums, is a fabulous place to start.