5 Realistic Ways to Reignite Your Sex Life Postpartum

As a doula and sex educator, here are my five action-oriented tips for re-establishing connection and rebuilding intimacy postpartum
how to feel in the mood again postpartum

While most people think of a doula as someone who helps women during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period, I’ve extended my practice and expertise to include relationship advice, too. After all, as mothers know—and I experienced firsthand—everything changes after having a baby. 

The postpartum and early motherhood experience is mind-blowing on every level.

After being ‘okayed’ by my own medical care team to have sex after the birth of my first child (which typically happens about six weeks postpartum), I was thrust into the new time period so many moms are familiar with, where I had “permission” to reconnect with my partner in a physical way…. but wasn’t actually be physically or emotionally ready. 

And as so many new moms experience, I didn’t have the resources or time to do so. I experienced this sense of being in total survival mode, struggling to get my own needs met and make sure my baby was doing okay. I wasn’t really thinking much about sex or what my relationship needed, at least not how I did prior to giving birth. 

This is when, in so many couples, feelings of resentment can start to seep in. It’s a huge reason why over the past decade, I’ve expanded on my work as a doula to offer relationship and partnership services, too. I’ve become a member of AASECT (the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists), and I’ve received certification in somatic sex education and sexological bodywork (which are focused on experiences in the body to support couples in the physical aspects of their relationship’s development). 

Feeling supported and being able to communicate your changing needs as a new parent is something so few people are taught, due to the lack of comprehensive sex and relationship education in this country. That’s why seeking out wisdom from qualified sex educators is vital.

Couples and individuals come to me to find out if there’s something deeper going on, and how to get out of the routine day-to-day with their partner (a little preview of what’s to come: this usually involves refilling your own cup, first). 

From my work as a doula, I have experienced that soon-to-be moms and new moms are especially likely to experience this kind of challenge – I hear from a lot of my clients and those who come into our Foria community that they went from feeling good, confident, and settled in their relationships to quickly feeling as though they were just going through the motions with their partner.

Sometimes it’s such a blurred line that we don’t realize for years how long it’s been since we truly reconnected with our person (I promise, it’s so normal). 

By making some intentional, thoughtful changes here and there, you’ll open up new pathways of conversation and bonding that will make your relationship that much healthier.

Here are my best tips for reconnecting with your partner:

Check in with yourself, first: 

No matter where you are in your motherhood journey or in your relationship, the first step in reconnecting with your partner is first checking in with yourself. Assess what you’ve been feeling and the thoughts/emotions that may be coming up that have sparked a desire to reconnect with your partner. 

One thing I see regularly in my practice is mothers who feel very touched out, and stressed out. They love their partner, but they feel squeamish and sometimes even repulsed when their partner tries to connect with them intimately.

If this is something you’ve experienced, you know how strange and hard it can be to want to love someone, and not feel like your body is open to sexual intimacy. Don’t worry though, this is common and not a sign that your relationship is failing. It’s much more likely a sign that you are tired, and have too much on your plate. 

Not all forms of reconnection will look and feel the same: figure out what your relationship needs at that moment.

If you need time to connect outside of your home, time to be physically affectionate, time for conversation or a specific need, write it all down so you can get it out of your mind and into action.

Often connection needs to happen with ourselves first before we can feel super connected to our partners, take time to find what you need and want and once you have that clarity you can share your request with your partner. Once you’re clear, try to figure out the best setting, this can be a quick conversation, a date night, or another special invitation for your partner.

Keep it fluid

You likely need two different kinds of connected time. First, longer periods where you can make love, talk about your relationship, and relish in just being the two of you. And also, daily interactions in the middle of busy life that show you are connected through the mess, chaos, and responsibility of it all. Staying fluid and feeding both of these kinds of connected time is crucial.

This can look like planning a date night once a month in the early months of postpartum and then more frequently as you grow into your new role as a parent. It can also look like making sure as you are leaving for the day that you give your partner some praise and a genuine, real kiss. 

The in between moments are so important, especially if you feel like you’re not getting enough quality time together or feeling connected. If you focus on being generous to each other with praise and with physical affection it will go a long way. 

For new moms, including those who are just figuring out breastfeeding, trying to sleep a few hours in a stretch, or starting to go back to work, serious physical intimacy might not be top of mind at all—which is completely okay. When long cuddle or makeout sessions don’t sound good (or let’s be honest: feasible), even simpler acts like prolonged eye contact, a gentle hug as you pass by one another in a room, or an offer to pick up some slack when the other is running on fumes can be just as effective. 

Research shows connected and present contact in our romantic relationships (an awareness of what the other person needs, and when) helps us feel tethered to that intimate fire that is at the heart of a happy partnership. 

Schedule it

Many clients I’ve worked with are struggling with feelings of complacency— there’s nothing wrong per se, but when disconnection creeps in, it can start to feel a bit foreboding. When you’re redeveloping intimacy with someone, this is one of the main things I think people struggle with but find hard to name. 

As unglamorous as it sounds, sometimes (just like with many other things in life!) reconnecting won’t happen unless you intentionally set aside time for it.

Determine when that time is for you and your partner – and if it’s just half an hour for conversation or a quick cuddle session, that’s great.

If you can, I also recommend scheduling sex. We’re trained to think that being in the mood is just something that happens or doesn’t happen, when actually setting aside time and space to explore sensuality, romance and sexual connection can light that fire and turn on our desire. So, even if you’re not initially in the mood, you likely will be able to create and find the mood together when you intentionally create it. 

For new parents or those juggling a baby and a toddler, though, it can still feel like there’s just no overlap in schedules (between working, running a household, doing daycare pick-ups/drop-offs, etc.). My advice here is twofold. First, take stock of what might be able to wait (can the kitchen mess linger for 20 minutes? Can the show you’re watching get a short pause? Is sex the thing that wins out over an evening walk tonight?) 

Then, if it still seems too stressful to find the time (to the point where you’re glancing at the clock when you finally do make it happen—we’ve all been there), skip it.

It’s okay to realize that there may be a lull in your physical intimacy during this very busy (and stressful) time. 

Engage in forms of intimacy that aren’t sex, too.

Often when we think of reconnecting, we think of a steamy weekend-long vacation or a night of doing anything other than sleeping. But for many couples, especially those with little kids running around and waking you up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning, this isn’t realistic— even a quickie can sound exhausting.

My advice here is to remember that any forms of intimacy that sound good to you are valid: a squeeze on the shoulder, a quick calf or foot rub, a prolonged conversation over morning coffee (or on the playground), or even offering to take over childcare for the day so that the other partner can get an hour or two off to go for a solo walk, work out, or run an errand. Physical intimacy doesn’t always mean sex, our intimate needs are filled by so many other forms of connection. 

Embrace parallel play

Sometimes, reconnecting means being together in the same room, but embracing the things you enjoy and might have lost time to incorporate into your routine, independent of one another. This is hugely popular among couples I work with as a way to regain some personal/alone time but still feel connected and together. 

For instance, this might mean one of you is reading a book while the other is cooking, or one is doing a puzzle while the other works on a crafting hobby.

For new parents, this might mean one of you is with your baby doing tummy time or feeding, while the other picks up or gets a load of laundry going. 

I highly recommend, if you can, establishing core roles as parents (for example, one of you always does the bedtime routine, while the other one gets dinner on the table for both of you). This helps set expectations but also ensures that the tasks of early parenthood are getting accomplished. Enjoying what nourishes you, and supporting your partner in getting what nourishes them while being together is a great way to support the quality and feeling that your relationship is a nourishing place for you both.

Just as our connection with (and appreciation for) our own bodies ebbs and flows throughout our lifetime, the sense of connection in our relationships can too. It’s no one’s fault— as someone who has practiced in the field of women’s health and relationships for over a decade, you might be surprised by how many people (I’m talking the vast majority) experience this at some point throughout their relationship.

What matters is realizing it’s normal, common, and not something to be ashamed of; it also doesn’t mean your love for your partner has faltered or that anything is wrong with your own body. 


  • Kiana Reeves

    Kiana Reeves is a somatic sex educator, certified sexological bodyworker, pelvic health practitioner, certified doula, healthy beauty expert, and Chief Education Officer at the botanical-based wellness brand Foria. Kiana has been practicing in the field of wellness and female reproductive health for over 10 years. Her career began in birth work as a full spectrum doula, working with mothers and families during birth, postpartum, abortion, and miscarriage. She is also a mother and a member of AASECT. Kiana's background in beauty, pleasure, and sexuality is informed by work as a certified somatic sex educator, offering her clients hands-on experiences to connect with their bodies, skin, and pleasure. Her commitment to promoting open dialogue ultimately led her to become a voice for Foria as Chief Education Officer. With a commitment to helping people feel more connected to their own bodies, especially as they age, Kiana harnesses her certifications and qualifications to help drive Foria’s content and brand education. Prior to joiningForia, Kiana founded her own company called The Tulip, centered around women’s pelvic health.

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