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Intimacy and Sex after birth: Mother’s top 3 concerns answered

The transition to parenthood isn’t easy. There’s a not-so-exclusive group you’re now likely part of that you never thought you would be. It’s called the “no sex life” group. 

80% of new mothers have no interest in sex, and 89% of new parents hide their 11 to 20 sexual concerns. Sexual concerns lead to stress, which leads to anxiety and tension, which leads to reduced sexual desire.

Sexual health and intimacy in relationships are important. Preserving your connection to yourself and your partner is important not only for your relationship satisfaction but also for your baby. 

Babies are astute. Your relationship sets the foundation of their socio-emotional development, so when your relationship is rocky the only question is, “do I want my baby to learn this is ok?”

Take control of your transition. Let’s ease some stress by sharing advice on the top 3 sexual concerns mothers have. 

Mothers’ top 3 sexual concerns

Frequency of intercourse after childbirth

For birthing mothers, intercourse can initially be uncomfortable due to physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy and birth. Don’t be surprised if you don’t have intercourse often or at all during the first 9 months postpartum. 

There’s no push present for having intercourse first. Sex isn’t about numbers and is more psychological than it is a physical act. Even when it feels like a physical need, there’s still more of a psychological necessity! Sex and intercourse are about connection and pleasure. After a baby, quality connection through intimacy is even more important to express love and appreciation to yourself and your partner.

Get your best frequency of intercourse by:

  1. Defining within your relationship what sex is and its role. 
  2. Outlining how often you want to engage in sexual activity as a couple and solo?
  3. Expressing what sexual activities you enjoy? Remember intercourse is one sexual activity. The best plan postpartum is to take your sexual relationship back to basics and build on your activities as you rebuild your comfort.


1. Intercourse may be an ideal pleasure position for men but it isn’t for women.

2. Sex and intercourse should never be painful. If it is, contact Vanessa to discuss why.

Changes to your own body image and its impact on sexual activity after childbirth

Numerous changes affect mother’s body image after having a baby. Some are temporary and others permanent. 

It’s important not to lose sight of yourself as a woman. Let motherhood be a part of your identity, not your whole identity. Seeing that extra belly roll can be disheartening. I know I’ve been trying for 5 years to get rid of mine! Your low body image will impact your sexual desire and the activities you engage in. 

Make lighting and clothing adjustments initially to ease your anxiety during sexual activity. Incorporating these into your sessions will make it easier for you to focus, relax and remain present. In the Mama’s Sensual Safari, we take this further and make lifelong changes to love and accept our body and self as we are. To experience pleasure, you must block out unnecessary and negative thoughts. Sexual desire is EXTREMELY TEMPERAMENTAL. It can disappear faster than flash!

Impact of childrearing duties on time for sexual activity

Keeping a newborn alive and safe is exhausting and overwhelming. Fatigue is the biggest sexual desire destroyer for mothers who tend to be the “default parent”. 

There will ALWAYS be something that needs action. You’ll never be on top of everything and that’s ok. Every day decide what tasks are urgent and which you can ditch for another day. Then schedule regular couple time, at least once a week. It’s the only way you guarantee time together as a couple in those first few months. You don’t need to do anything special or even sexual. Hugging on the couch watching a movie, or giving a foot rub are still intimate acts that show your partner love and affection. Ease into your new routine and be there for one another.

Everyone’s goal in a relationship is to feel loved and appreciated. Sex is just one way that we show our partner their value. During the transition to parenthood, it’s easy to focus on your baby and ignore your partner and relationship. It’s also vital communication lines are open and honest.

An important step in reclaiming yourself post birth is your recovery - prepare yourself  (here)  and things will flow better than if you hadn't!

Written for Bubba Bump by 

Vanessa Tarfon, Mmed(HSSH) - Sex Therapist and Founder

IG - @authenticawareness

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