If you have little ones, you know that toddler laughter creates world peace and their stubbornness creates epic upheaval. Because toddlers mimic the behavior of their favorite adults, you can’t wait to thank your sister for introducing your three-year-old to the word ‘fart.’ We won’t even talk about the exhaustion.
If in the midst of all this, pondering sexual thoughts about the father of said innocents is as likely to occur as your creating an equation to refute E=MC2, then read on.
Consider using non-hormonal birth control.
I hear some of you saying, “That’s brilliant. More kids would be the exact opposite of improving sex drive.” Others are saying, “Are you crazy??”
Combined Oral Contraceptives (having both estrogen and progestin components) have been proven to lower testosterone levels significantly. Testosterone is a factor in creating physical sexual craving
Most hormonal birth control (HBC) pills work by stopping ovulation. Ovaries actually produce a small amount of testosterone. Shut them down and this bit of testosterone doesn’t get made.
Also, the estrogens in HBC increase the production of a molecule called Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin (SHBC). SHBC binds to testosterone circulating freely in your blood stream, making testosterone less available in your body. A 2006 study showed that HBC users had four times the amount of SHBC in their bodies than non-users. This study also showed that even after HBC was stopped, SHBC did not return to normal range for some. That means HBC can negatively affect you even after you quit taking it. It can cause a permanent change in your body chemistry.
I don’t mean to scare you, just make you aware. I knew none of this when I was taking it.
All HBC work generally the same way. However, research your specific brand because some are more testosterone friendly than others.
And remember, there are other methods of birth control that do not contain synthetic hormones. Discuss these options with your doctor.
Breastfeeding? Embrace the dual nature of breasts.
Your babyweight is falling off. Finally, your figure is looking more hourglass than pear. You have the best set of ‘girls’ of your life.
Then, why do you feel more like a milk cow than sex kitten? If you feel this way, you are not alone.
The reward is to see your baby’s sweet, sated smile when he looks tenderly up at you while nursing, knowing he is getting so many wonderful health benefits from your milk.
God’s divine wisdom provided recovery time for a mama’s body after pregnancy while sustaining the life of the child. He accomplished this through breastfeeding.
The hormone prolactin maintains mother’s milk (literally “for lactation”). Prolactin promotes maternal behavior, counteracts dopamine (sexual arousal hormone) and suppresses ovulation (remember the ovulation and testosterone correlation).
Prolactin also suppresses estrogen which normally keeps vaginal walls lubricated.
In a show of God’s efficient design, he chose oxytocin, the bonding hormone, as the hormone which triggers milk release from the ducts and as the hormone which is released during orgasm. For many breastfeeding women, the moment of climax not only results in exquisite sensations, but a geyser of milk.
In a nutshell, nursing your baby ramps up your nurturing behavior, squelches sexual desire, causes drought in the nether regions, and makes gushers of your breasts during the ultimate moment (i.e. orgasm). And still, I’d do it all over again!
So, how does a low-libido breastfeeding mama get back in touch with her sensual side?
It’s OK to not know how you feel about your breasts. They have been connected with sexual pleasure for a long time and now they are connected with nourishing a child.
Understanding what’s going on physically can help you sort through the vast array of emotions. Unfortunately, the way I dealt with this internal conflict was to turn off all sexuality. That was not healthy for my marriage.
Talk with your husband about how you are feeling. Let him know what you are working through. Your breasts can belong to both your baby and your marriage bed, it just takes time to get used to the idea.
To rehydrate the southern arid region, I suggest coconut oil. It’s cheap and feels luxurious.
In the meantime, if breast touch during sexual intimacy is weird for you, buy a sexy nursing bra and wear it during lovemaking, don’t forget to insert absorbent breast pads for leakage. As time goes on, experiment with your husband and see how much breast touch you can tolerate both physically and emotionally during lovemaking.
Manage sensory overload.
A roaring three year old lovingly head-butts your back side. Cherub #2 clings to your legs like a dryer sheet and sings happy songs. Lots of noise and uncoordinated touching are the language of littles.
When their dad gets home, he also wants to bestow kisses upon you, pat your fanny, and playfully yank your ponytail. And truly, you benefit greatly from the touch of the man who wants to be your biggest fan.
If you are overwhelmed by the sounds and feel aversion to touch by the end of a toddler-town day, sensory overload may be something to consider. It truly is a thing. However, not everyone experiences it and if you do, it’s not a flaw. It’s how you were wired.
The solace for sensory overload is silence. Sensory overload usually isn’t remedied by a girls’ night out. Sensory overload needs decompression, not more stimulation.
Carve out 5-7 minutes each day when you can quiet your mind through prayer, journaling, or Bible study. Even if the only few minutes you can capture are while you are in the bathroom, be intentional about clearing your mind, exhaling all the stress out, and reciting your favorite scripture.
“After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper,” 1 Kings 19:12.
I was so serious about my mothering that I forgot the flirty woman that still lived inside me. Young mothers, your flirty sensual identity still lives inside you. It just may be overshadowed by hormonal birth control, breastfeeding, and wrangling small children.
Pray for the Lord to lead your body, heart, and soul through this journey toward understanding how motherhood and wifehood can mesh together. Ask your husband to pray with you as you sort it all out.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God,” Philippians 4:6.
This post, written by Bonny Logsdon Burns, first appeared at 31 Days to a Better Marriage.
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