6 Tricks for Having More Sex After Kids
As a sexologist, I’m in the business of coaching people on how to have great sex, a topic still considered taboo by many. When I was growing up, my mom and tías rarely discussed intimacy—not even periods. My burning questions eventually led me to study human sexuality and dedicate my career to educating others.
So you’d think I’d have it all figured out when it comes to sex. But with a tween and an infant at home, it’s not always easy to make time for love. For starters, in the past six months, my husband, Matt, and I have barely managed to get sleep. And, if I’m being completely honest, I smell like baby spit-up pretty much 24/7 these days! All of that can make it hard to feel sexy.
But it’s like I tell my clients, great sex doesn’t just happen. It takes effort and creativity to reignite your relationship. Here's where to start.
Set a Reminder
Bringing a calendar into your sex life might sound like a real mood killer. But you can’t always rely on spontaneous desire. Instead, help yourself get in the mood by scheduling sex. It helps build anticipation throughout the day and even increases arousal at your partner’s touch. After all, skin-to-skin contact is so important. It promotes the production of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin, reduces anxiety, and boosts intimacy. That’s why I’m not shy about planning sex. At least once a week, I’ll send my husband a little meeting invite with just an emoji, either a red heart or the smiling purple devil. He knows that’s our code.
Work On It Together
I learned from my first baby that I wouldn’t be feeling quite like myself postpartum. So I asked Matt to be my own personal body-positivity coach after baby #2 arrived. That meant telling me I was beautiful even when my belly felt flabby and my breasts leaky.
It also required complete honesty on my part. Keep in mind, your post-baby sex drive will be naturally low because of intense hormonal changes and lack of sleep. Be open with your partner if you feel uneasy about getting intimate again. You can say something like, “I’m not sure how this part is going to feel,” and then get through it together.
I know what you’re thinking: “Who has time for foreplay?” But, ladies, it makes all the difference. Women need about 20 minutes to feel completely aroused, and increasing desire slowly helps make sex more pleasurable. Since your body is changing and recalibrating after the baby, you can test the waters by trying to get aroused on your own. Women are stimulated by what they hear or imagine, so listening to erotica, like on the app Dipsea, can rev you up. And don’t be afraid to use lubricants or arousal oils to enhance intimacy.
Try Hotel Sex
Research shows that when couples get out of their home, they can enjoy sex more because they’re not thinking about reorganizing the closet or the million other little things on their to-do list. One Saturday a month, we find an overnight sitter—usually a family member—and book a hotel in a city nearby. We’ll spend the day together, and go to a museum or the movies. Then at night, I’ll put on something that makes me feel sexy, like cute heels, red lipstick, or lingerie under my dress. And after dinner, we’ll have fun hotel sex. You know, the kind where you’re not afraid to mess up the room or wake up the baby!
Shake Things Up
Quickies can also be fun whether you’re sneaking in a session during your kid’s nap time or trying an unexpected space—your car, the bathroom, even the laundry room. Actually, the vibrations of the dryer can be a real turn-on (just saying!). Even if you keep things in the bedroom, you can push all your kid’s stuff out of sight—always have a storage bin handy—so it doesn’t kill the mood.
Keep It Fresh
To make sure our love life doesn’t get stale, my husband and I play sexy games (“Truth or dare?” anyone?), which are cheesy but ridiculously fun. And, every six months or so, we each make a “Yes, No, Maybe” list. In the “yes” column: things we want to do sexually. In the “no” column: what we absolutely won’t do. In the “maybe” column: things we’re open to trying. For example, one of us might suggest a new position or “kissing all the way down your body.”
If you want to give the list a try, bring it up with your partner casually so it doesn’t feel like a bigger deal than it is. You can say something like, “I have an idea of how we can make our sex life even better!” The best part? Seeing where your yeses and maybes overlap—and going for it!
Rebecca Alvarez Story is also the founder of Bloomi, the first online marketplace for intimate-care products, such as organic tampons, plant-based arousal oils, period undies, and sex toys. Follow her on Instagram @rebeccaalvarezstory.