So your bundle of joy is finally here, and your life has completely changed. You’re in love, exhausted, and life has changed in more ways than you could have imagined, so the last thing on your mind is intimacy with your partner. Often times, we are in the throws of life, and just trying to get through each challenge, so the sex drive just isn’t very high (if it even exists). The last thing on your mind is satisfying someone else’s needs, but I have a few reasons why returning to intimacy with your partner may help make YOUR life better.
- Less stress:
- Intimacy with your partner can reduce the stress you feel, which may be much needed when dealing with a new baby, or a child of any age for that matter. Sex can lower the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) that gets released into the body during a stressful situation. 1
- Improves your mood
- Researchers in Arizona have found that physical affection or sexual behavior with a partner allowed women to feel less stress and have better moods the next day. 2 A study in Albany found that women who had sex, and where exposed to semen had less rates of depression.3 Not to mention the little saying “If Momma aint happy, Aint Nooooo-body happy”
- Helps you sleep
- As moms know, sleep is in short supply when you are rearing children, but sex with your partner decreases cortisol (which reduces stress), boost oxytocin (helps you feel connected to your partner), and increases prolactin (which helps you feel relaxed and sleepy). 4 Sex may not increase the length of time you get to sleep, but it can improve the quality.
- Helps with pain
- Being a mom is hard on your body, whether you’ve just had a baby, have been lifting heavy kids in and out of car seats, keeping up with your child’s sports, or just trying to climb the bleachers to watch your kiddo perform, being a mom is hard work. Sex can (once again) decrease cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone that is largely responsible for your body’s pain response.
- Increases your libido
- Having sex can actually increase your desire to have more sex because it increases blood flow, natural lubrication, and elasticity of the vaginal tissues, which makes it feel better. Sometimes just getting back to sex, helps you get back to sex.
After baby, make sure your OBGYN or Midwife has cleared your for return to sex, which usually occurs at your 6 week check up. They will examine to make sure you have properly healed and your vaginal tissues look healthy. Also consider using protection if you are not ready for another baby. Remember if you experience pain with sex after baby, this is NOT normal. Consult your local pelvic floor physical therapist for tools to get rid of pain, so you can claim these benefits for yourself!
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- Ditzen B, Neumann ID, Bodenmann G, von Dawans B, Turner RA, Ehlert U, Heinrichs M.Effects of different kinds of couple interaction on cortisol and heart rate responses to stress in women. Psychoneuroendocrinology. June, 2007
- Burleson MH, Trevathan WR, Todd M. In the mood for love or vice versa? Exploring the relations among sexual activity, physical affection, affect, and stress in the daily lives of mid-aged women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 2007.
- Gallup GG Jr1, Burch RL, Platek SM Does semen have antidepressant properties? Arch Sex Behav. 2002 Jun;31(3):289-93.