Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2015

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Page 14 of 41 ■ Hudson Valley Parent 15 reduces pain, and provides a gentle re-acquaintance with sex. Tell your partner what types of sexual intima- cy you are, and are not, ready for. Remind your partner that soft and gentle is best with a new mom. Rewire your 'mommy brain' For a new mom, getting your head around the thought of sex as a pleasurable possibility is often half the battle. Ask for time for yourself. Put someone else on baby duty while you take a bath, relax, have a glass of wine, and read a romance novel or erotic book. Or catch up on your favorite, steamy television series. Whatever puts you in the mood, do it to remind your "mommy brain" of sensual pleasures. Don't forget your Kegels Sex coach and author Dr. Patti Britton suggests doing 60 pelvic fl oor exercises (Kegels) a day for noticeable positive sexual improve- ments after three weeks. For moms who have just given birth, Kegels are key. They increase urinary control, vaginal lubrication, and enhance pleasure during sex. Do 20 Kegels each time you brush your teeth or comb your hair, and your pelvic fl oor will thank you. Embrace your curves Welcome to the new curvier you. Did you know, you can still enjoy sex even with a muffi n top, love-handles, cellulite or jiggly bits? In fact, most women have one or more of these. Just remember, sex- ual pleasure is for women of every shape and size, so don't discriminate against your body. Don't think you have to lose your baby weight before you can enjoy sex again. Seize the moment! Try sexual intimacy during dif- ferent times of the day when your energy levels are higher. Put your weekends to good use and take advantage of being home together during the day. Use your baby's nap time to sneak in couple time. Practice honest sexual communication Be honest with yourself and your partner about how you feel sexu- ally. Listen carefully to your body and honor when you feel ready for intimacy. If you feel pressured into having sex before you feel ready, it will lead to feeling resentful and that's not good for any relationship. Explain why you don't feel ready for sex or why you need a different approach to intimacy. Your partner is less likely to feel rejected if you share your feelings honestly. Practic- ing strong sexual communication is a skill that benefi ts every relationship. Honor your primary relationship — with yourself The most important sex advice for any new mom is: don't get so caught up in caring for your baby that you forget to honor yourself. There is no right or wrong way to have sex as a new mom, there is only your own way. And really, that's what mother- hood is all about, doing the best we can with what we have. So have at it! Sarah J. Swofford, MPH, is a sex educator and mom of two. W ant to add some spice to your love life? Why not host sex toy party with your friends? Athena's, Tasteful Treasures, Pure Romance and Pas- sion Parties are just a few of the online companies that have local reps who will host parties for you and your friends in your comfort and privacy of your own home. Amy Sullivan is a Saugerties social worker, mother of two youngsters, and a former rep for the now-closed Brown Bag Parties. "Women would often ask advice about their marriage and how to 'spice things up,'" says Sullivan. "As we all know, being moms with responsibilities we get tired and withdrawn. Sex isn't always a pri- ority. I would say: Make it one." When Sullivan was hosting par- ties, she says they were education- al and liberating, and found the host's friends were usually really receptive to the idea. "They want to come because they're usually too terrifi ed to host themselves!" Why add toys to the mix? "I'm a fi rm believer that some- times you just need a little help," says Sullivan. "Lingerie can make you feel sexy again, toys can get your juju moving! That's why I love using toys — they're spontaneous." Sullivan adds that you can use something that is very private (think remote control toys where your partner has the remote) while on a date, or use them in the bedroom. "Some folks are shy or even afraid of toys because of what you might have seen or heard when younger, but there are literally thousands of choices! Most home party companies have choices that are good for beginners. Most of all — get rid of the 'afraid' feeling because it will enhance and make you feel like a star!" Spicing up your sex life isn't just about the act of sex, says Sullivan. "It's about making your relation- ship and intimacy a priority. Every relationship will have its ups and downs, but it's remembering to kiss everyday, hold hands, have a date, snuggle, and the like that keep things fresh." One of the things that really works for new moms is fi nding ways to sneak in sexy times, says Sullivan. "Think lunchtime, taking a half hour off work early, or the like. Keep it spontaneous!" Host your own sex toy party!

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