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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Episode 72 (Epilogue): Intimacy After Childbirth

Tonight’s show focused on sex and sexuality after childbirth. Ryan and Cheryl worked to uncover some of the myths, misconceptions, and mysteries on the subject, while also focusing on how to build a healthy sexual relationship between partners after childbirth.  While the birth of a child (especially a first child!) brings a great deal of exciting and happy new changes, it also brings changes to a couple’s relationship and one’s self which may take some extra work to navigate.

Our first guest tonight was Christina Holmes,  Florida Licensed Midwife, Nationally Certified Professional Midwife, and owner of Birthways Family Birth Center. Christina talked with us about some of the physiological changes which can take place after birth, and discussed the differences between being physically recovered from birth and being “ready” for sex.  Christina also stressed the importance of open communication between partners, which can help ease stress and fears about common concerns like changes in the body.

Our next guest was Deborah Huntley , PhD Licensed Psychologist, Certified Addictions Professional, and Certified Sex Therapist. Deb currently has a private practice in Sarasota, where she has practiced since 1981. She treats individuals and couples for a variety of concerns, both non-sexual and sexual.  Deb began the discussion by letting listeners know that a decreased sex drive after childbirth is normal and natural, and emphasized that this change is active on a variety of different levels, including changes in hormone, scheduling, and the addition of an important and new relationship with one’s child. She emphasized the importance of self-care, and widening one’s notions of “sex” to include more than just vaginal/penile intercourse. Along with sharing tips on these topics, Deb also discussed the importance of communication, especially understanding partner’s individual expectations and needs.  Finally, Deb shared the importance of sticking with a relationship, and putting the work in to make it last, and recommended authors John Gottman and Marsha Lucas.  

On top  of the wonderful advice we received from professionals this week, the Maternally Yours Collective also turned to you! Here is the great advice about keeping the spark alive we received from our listeners:

 -Take time for YOU!! Eat sexy foods- a sushi, red wine and chocolate date make me remember and reclaim the sexy goddess I was before kids. Find a babysitter you can drop off to- an empty house is fabulous! And it's even better if you drop the kids off and have time for a bubble bath and dressing while your man makes dinner. After the home date is over let Him do the kid pickup so you can lounge, read a book, or take a nap while you enjoy that post sex glow.  Have a close circle of friends- people who you can dish to, vent, seek advice from and share empathy.  Talk about your sex struggles with your partner. If your mama hormones are robbing you of moisture, effecting you Lobito or making orgasm feel unobtainable talk it out! Feel less sexy with your mama bod? Talk it out. Take plenty of time- try not to rush it. (From Maternally Yours’ Cheryl!)
-Be patient and gentle with yoursel
-Nourish yourself, reenergize, exercise; remember you’re not just a mom! Appreciate your body for all it has done regardless of the shape. Appreciate the extra weight or new shape: your body creates life, food... and fun.
-Fake it. I seriously think I still look like I did at my hotness of 18 and have convinced myself. So yeah, I can rock my porn star sex life a couple months out since I feel that hot. Sometimes I look in the mirror and say, "who the hell is that?" I quickly ditch that thought and go back to thinking I'm my old look self. Sleep is also key, obviously. If that doesn't happen, decide to have a great day and it'll happen most of the time. Oh, and getting into bed early can be great, even if you're just reading and he's trying to knock off. Wake him up!!
- The bed is for sleeping. The kitchen floor, shower, couch, back seat of the car are for sex. Have fun with it!
- Take advantage of the odd times of the say that children sleep. That  10 am nap can quickly turn into a sexy lunch break.
- Schedule regular date nights where kids are dropped with a sitter and you and your partner go back to your nest and enjoy each other.
-Remember that intimacy is more than just intercourse. Have fun being playful and exploring ways to excite your partner without penetration.
-The more you “do it” the more you’ll want to do it!
-While it may seem counterintuitive, if you push through the initial exhaustion and feeling of ambivalence about having sex and just do it, you will enjoy yourself and have fun.
- Laundry and dishes can wait. Hire a maid! Your relationship is more important than any chore.
-Massage, exercise and buy (or borrow) a couple of items of new clothes that make you look and feel hot
-Shower and exercise--although easier said than done.
-Get your chi moving/ flowing! Yoga, acupuncture, dance, massage.
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