Sex has never been a source of stress or contention in my marriage. I often see partners complaining about mismatched sex drives, especially in relationships between a man and woman. None of those stereotypes apply to us. We both want to do it almost every day, so that’s what we do. We’ve been doing it for almost twenty years, and that’s just our pattern. It’s not better or worse than anyone else’s; it’s just what works for us. Unless I’m breastfeeding a new baby.
We’ve had three of them now, and OH. MY. GOD. Breastfeeding literally turns my sex drive off. My libido leaves the building. Milk-making kills my lady boner, and it lasts pretty much the entire time I nurse my kids.
Breastfeeding kills my desire to get naked which sucks enough. But more annoyingly, it makes orgasms next to impossible. Even if my husband busts out his best moves and gets me in the mood, it takes close to an hour and an act of god to have one little disappointing blip of an O.
The good news is, I didn’t marry an asshole, so he’s cool with all of it. He doesn’t whine about it. We made the kid together, and we are in it together. Sure, it’s my body acting differently, but it’s not MY sex life that changes; it’s OURS.
It makes perfect sense to him. When I’m breastfeeding, I spend a lot of my life feeling totally touched out to begin with. There are about seven minutes a day when a small child isn’t touching me, and I just don’t want to spend those minutes with a person IN ME most of the time.
Breastfeeding babies are relentless! They’re all like, “Hungry? I want a boob. Tired? Gimme that knocker. Scared? No cure for this but a jug or two of boob milk. Something made me laugh? Super! Let’s celebrate at the titty bar.”
But there’s a light at the end of this boring sex tunnel, because right around the time each of my kids turns a year old, my body starts to act like its old self again.
I’m one hundred percent sure other factors are involved, but part of it is that all three of my kids dropped most of their nursing sessions around their first birthday, slowing down to two or three times a day.
My last baby turned a year old a couple of months ago. She’s only on the boob a couple times a day now, and let me tell you something: I’m rested, my formerly-gnawed-upon nipples are back to normal, and I’m back, baby! (Forever! Thank you, tubal ligation!)
About two weeks ago, my sweet, conscientious husband was tiptoeing around our room trying not to wake me while he got ready for work. I opened my eyes and saw him standing there, wet and glistening from the shower. Suddenly, I was completely wide awake. Mind and BODY. The clock told me he needed to be out the door in less than five minutes, and I shoved my face into the pillow in frustration.
I couldn’t get him out of my head all morning. I texted him something during his lunch break that I will not repeat here, and he made it home after work that day in record time. My mission in life that day was to ensure that all of the kids were happy and busy or sleeping when he walked through the door. I told them that I had to work on my computer, and Daddy needed to take a shower. We instructed them to only bother us if there was an emergency.
I’ve never seen a man get naked so fast. For the first time in over a year, my body responded to my husband like it usually does. It didn’t take an hour, it wasn’t a lot of work, and when it was over, he looked at me, smirked, and muttered, “Welcome back.”
That first time was such a relief after this last baby because I’m not as young as I once was. I’m in my late thirties now, and I was starting to worry that maybe my shit was just broken. Maybe my body was never going to recover from my decision to geriatrically birth three children in quick succession instead of procreating in my early twenties like the rest of the good Southern girls I grew up with.
I’ve never been so damn excited to be wrong.
Since that afternoon, I’ve been “working on my computer while my husband takes a shower” A LOT.
Once, I even “worked on my computer” before my husband went to work in the morning despite my utter disdain for any hour before seven a.m. Apparently, I love sex more than I hate mornings for the time being. I can only assume it will wear off, but for now, I’m going with it.
All this sex has made me feel like myself again. I’m less grouchy, and I even feel some of the weight of my anxiety disorder lifting. Everything feels less stressful and overwhelming when you’ve got orgasm endorphins pumping through your veins. My mental illness is easier for me to manage when I feel more at home in my body.
But the very best part of this return to sexiness is that watching the way my body progresses from birth to feeling normal again makes me feel really healthy and strong. My body did an amazing thing creating a human being. It took a while to work through the mental, emotional and physical effects of that beautiful process. That’s awesome.
There’s nothing wrong with me because I’d rather watch TV than ride the D for a long while while I’m all postpartum and breastfeeding and exhausted. Nothing is weird about preferring an afternoon nap to afternoon delight when you were up 17 times with a screaming baby sucking on your titty all night. It’s NORMAL.
And there’s no timeline for “bouncing back.” Some people are ready as soon as the doctor clears them for takeoff. It takes me about a year to get back in the groove with my loving, patient, supportive partner. If he was hounding me for sex every five minutes, it would take me a lot longer to want to get back to it. There are a million ways a baby can change your sex life.
If you’re having a tough time feeling like a sexy, delicious lover since your baby was born, don’t be like me and start mourning your youth. One of these days, you’re going to find yourself lying on your back, breathless and satisfied, relieved that having a kid didn’t mean never enjoying the kind of sex you had before you were a parent.
Sure, the soundtrack of your afternoon quickie might be the musical stylings of Pinkfong blaring from the next room. You’ll learn to tune that out and do-do-do-do-do your partner like you used to before you ever knew who Baby Shark was.
I can almost guarantee it.