I’m a firm believer that sex is the most fun you can have as a couple and think this is especially true after a baby. It’s an amazing way of reconnecting with each other; getting pleasure and nourishing your relationship. But if you are self conscious about your body after a baby then it can be really hard to relax and enjoy sex. Body image issues can really get in the way of a satisfying sex life. It could be feeling uncomfortable when you’re actually doing the deed or it can even stop you wanting to be anywhere near your partner naked.
But sex is a really (really) important part of your relationship. It can help you feel wanted. Attractive. Connected. It can remind you that you can be a wife or partner as well as a mum. Sex gets the happy hormones flowing too and let’s be honest, if it’s done right, it can feel fantastic too!
So how do you get a fulfilling sex life if the thought of your partner seeing your body has you hiding under the duvet? Luckily there are lots of things you can do so here are my top 5 ways to enjoy sex when you hate your post-baby body.
#1 – Talk to your partner
The most important thing to do starts outside of the bedroom. You have to talk to your partner about how you are feeling. I know it’s not easy. I know you can be worried about how they are going to respond (you can read this post on 5 important questions to ask if you feel your partner doesn’t find you attractive if you are worried about that). But it is one of the best (and easiest) ways to start tackling your body issues when it comes to your relationship.
Chances are your partner knows you are feeling self conscious about your body. That doesn’t mean they will know how to help you though. Sometimes we need to ask for what we want. So if you want reassurance from your partner that he finds you attractive – ask him. If you want him to make you feel sexy by sweeping you off your feet – ask him. Or if you want him to show you more physical affection outside the bedroom – ask him. Tell your partner what you need from him to start feeling sexy around him again.
Also, by talking to your partner you can get your worries off your chest. You can get the reassurance you want and get his help to start enjoying sex again. You can also let him know what makes you feel sexy or, conversely, feel uncomfortable. For example, you might not be comfortable with your partner touching your stomach but if he doesn’t know this then when you are in bed together you might find it hard to relax as you’ll be anxious that that is what he might do. By telling him what you want or don’t want you can stop worrying and just get on with enjoying things.
#2 – Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the buzz word of the moment but when it comes to letting go and enjoying sex it’s one of the best skills you can learn. Mindfulness means focusing on the present moment. The here and now. It’s not about stopping any negative thinking; more about letting those thoughts come and go without getting caught up in them.
Which is why it’s sooooo good for helping you to enjoy sex. If you find that your mind starts going crazy with negative thoughts about your body during sex then practicing mindfulness will help you to let them go and focus on what you are doing. Mindfulness is also about noticing what is happening around you. So when it comes to sex this means focusing on what you are feeling physically. How your partner is touching you or how it feels when you kiss. It’s really just about being present with what you are doing.
Mindfulness during sex won’t just help you with any negative thinking that gets in the way of you enjoying sex. It can also increase your pleasure as you’re focusing on how everything feels. You can feel more connected with your partner if you are fully present with him too. There are no downsides to being mindful during sex so give it a go!
#3 – Set the scene
Giving some thought to when, where and how you have sex can make a big difference to how much you enjoy it. There are lots of logistical challenges around sex after a baby. You might have baby in the room with you. You might find it hard to find time to shower or put any effort into your appearance (which can make it hard to feel sexy!). Or you might have older children who stay up later and get in the way of an early night for you and your partner. Plus, let’s be honest, you’re probably exhausted and have a million and one things to worry about.
You need to plan sex and make it a priority. Make a date with your partner when it will just be the two of you and you both know sex is on the cards. If you have a baby in your room use the spare room. Or the sofa. If you are really self conscious then candles are your best friend – romantic and flattering. You might want to start with a bottle of wine and just a chance to talk to each other. You might decide sex is better early in the evening when you’re not so tired rather than waiting until you both fall into bed late.
Think about the things that will make sex more enjoyable for you and more comfortable. If that’s lights off, under the duvet then fine. Or if you want to feel romantic with candles, wine and snuggling on the sofa then do that. Find the things that are going to help you to relax and enjoy sex. After all, that is the whole point of it!
#4 – Just do it…
The quickest way to feel more comfortable having sex is to just have sex. Often. Put bluntly, the more your partner sees, feels and enjoys your body, the more confident you’ll be with him. It can be hard to trust that your partner will love your new post-baby body as much as he did your pre-baby one. Which can change how you behave around him. You might not be as willing to be naked in front of him. You might start getting dressed behind closed doors or in the bathroom. It can put a real barrier up between you when it comes to sex but this is a vicious circle. The more you avoid letting your partner see your body, the harder it’s going to be to let him see your body.
So really you just have to get on with it. Make an effort to have sex more. Challenge yourself to do the little things that make you uncomfortable so that you get used to them. Strip off in front of him. Try sex with the lights on. Or in daytime. Get frisky on the sofa rather than under the duvet. The more you do it, the easier it will get.
The other advantage to this is that the more you have sex, the more you will want it (same for your partner). If you’re finding now that your sex drive is a little low (or non-existent) then commit to having sex at least twice a week for a month. Remind yourself of how pleasurable and fun it can be. Also, enjoy how it makes you and your partner feel reconnected again. Sex and physical affection are often linked so increasing one will increase the other. Having sex more will help you to feel stronger as a couple outside of the bedroom too. There’s really no downside to this one…
#5 – Put your imagination to work
There’s a reason why 50 Shades of Grey is a bestseller. It’s badly written, with a poor plot and dubious lead characters but it flew off the shelves. Why? Because it sparked the imagination of women everywhere and let them fantasise about sex. Your imagination is the biggest weapon you have in feeling sexy and enjoying sex. If you spend all day thinking about what you want your partner to do to you when he gets home then when he walks through the door you’re going to want to jump him. Likewise, if you imagine yourself feeling sexy, confident and desirable then that’s exactly how you will start to feel in real life.
Use your imagination to your advantage and get it working to help you to feel sexy and enjoy sex again. Spend time thinking about how sex used to be. What did you used to love about it? What were your favourite sexual encounters and why? How can you use this to rekindle your sex life now? Using your imagination will remind you how much fun and pleasure you used to get from sex. And that will get you wanting it again.
Plus your imagination can get you feeling amazing about your body. Imagine yourself enjoying sex and not feeling self conscious. Picture yourself as the most sexy and desirable woman alive. Really focus on how that would feel. Bring those feelings into everyday life and act as if you are the sexiest thing ever. Think about what you would do if you felt sexy? Would you initiate sex? Pounce on your partner? Have sex with the lights on or go on top? Wear skimpy clothes or lingerie? Use your imagination to make yourself feel like that and then do all those things! Because you’re already sexy – you just need to remind yourself of that!
If you are really struggling with your post-baby body then sign up for my 5 day challenge on learning to love your post baby body. You can also read these posts on 7 ways to make peace with your post-baby body and 5 ways to love your post baby body too. Plus come over and join the Facebook community where you can get support, advice and encouragement on your body positivity journey.