Sex after baby can feel like an oxymoron for many couples. Passion (and marital satisfaction) takes a nosedive during the first three years of parenthood. It’s a huge transition, sleep is at an all-time low, and mothers often feel as sexy as a wet mop after birthing and taking care of baby. In addition, new moms get a ton of oxytocin (a feel-good hormone) from baby and so they don’t crave cuddling with dad like they used to. Dad, on the other hand, usually wants snuggles, cuddles, and SEX.

Going too long without connecting can take a toll on a marriage. I never want people to force themselves to have sex. But sometimes putting extra effort in to see if you can get in the mood can be helpful. Just because you don’t want it right now doesn’t mean you can’t be romanced into it. And orgasms are natural stress-relievers.

Getting Back to Sex: Where Do You Even Start?

First, acknowledge that things are different now. If you’ve just had a baby, your hormones are raging. And, if you’re breastfeeding, libido goes way down. Plus, your body looks and feels different which can mean lower mood and self-esteem. Add that to being at baby’s beck-and-call 24/7 and a delirious state of exhaustion… Your sex life has never encountered so much resistance. So you’ll have to try different things to get in the mood and satisfy one another.

Be Honest (But Gentle) About Sex

Being honest about sex is incredibly important. But it’s also important to be gentle with your partner. Nothing will stop someone from initiating sex like being shut down repeatedly. So be honest about where you’re at (not in the mood) without snapping at your spouse. Maybe try “I’m not in the mood right now but see if you can romance me.” And when you want to be seduced…

Share What You LIKE (instead of what you don’t like)

If you want amazing sex, you have to be able to share turns you on and is pleasurable for you. So if you’re nipples are sore and uber sensitive, maybe point your partner in a different direction like “I’d love it if you kissed my neck.” If kissing gets you randy, suggest starting there and then seeing how your libido progresses. Because the clearer you are on what you like, the better your chances of having a satisfying sexual experience.

Compliment Your Partner

When you’re not having sex, you need other ways of feeling that your partner finds you attractive and sexy. Women often feel unattractive post baby. And men often feel unattractive post gotten-turned-down-for-sex-more-times-than-I’d-care-to-count. So both of you can benefit from compliments. In fact, affirmation and appreciation are good ways to keep your emotional back account robust during lean times. And, for women, talking is foreplay. And so is…

Nonsexual Affection (Especially Touch!)

Touch is as important to bonding with your partner as it is to baby. And, as you know from baby, it doesn’t have to be sexual. In fact, if mom’s not in the mood, nonsexual touch is preferred. It can feel really luxurious to be pampered with a foot, back, or head massage. It’ll help her for cared for and connected. Which could lead to sex (in the near or distant future). Think of it as long-term investments in your sex life. Happy, connected couples have more sex long-term.

Quickies Are Your Friend

If you find yourselves in the mood for sex, quickies are your new best friend. Babies seem to have a sixth sense for parental lovemaking. So, if this seems to be the case for your baby, it’s better to have a quickie than no sex at all. Plus, you’ll feel more relaxed and connected afterwards.

Interested in learning more? I’m doing a workshop on Baby-Proofing Your Marriage and Bonding With Your Child

Marriage Counseling