How can I feel sexy again after giving birth?

How to get your groove back

Many women ask themselves this question after healing and recovering from labor and delivery. And the prospect can seem daunting. For one, you are most likely exhausted and overwhelmed by the demands of the new person in your life. Plus, women often have concerns about the way pregnancy has changed their bodies. You may have curves in places you didn't used to, and stretch marks have probably made an appearance. All these things will take some getting used to.

You're probably also wondering about more technical matters such as "will my vagina ever be the same?" and "what will it feel like to my partner?" and "will sex and orgasms feel like they used to?" All these questions are common and normal. The good news is that many of these concerns are more about a perception of change rather than an actual difference in your body and how it works. You might even discover that some changes are for the better.

More good news is that you don't need to rush back into anything if you are too tired, overwhelmed, or just not ready. So ask yourself whether the desire to feel sexy again is because it is something you want and need, or something you feel you should get back to. If you're feeling pressured by your partner or the outside world, then take a breath and slow down. It's important to understand your internal sexual desires and needs and not take on those of others. When you discover for yourself that it's something you want, here are a few ways to get your sexy back.

Cultivate "me" time. Spending some time alone may help you get back in tune with your body. Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, suggests making time for yourself "when the baby is napping or when your partner can take care of the child to give you a bit of a break to take a long shower or sit with your thoughts and feelings."  

She recommends doing the things that made you feel sexy pre-baby. "It may be shopping for new clothes, getting a mani-pedi, having your hair blown out at a salon, or buying new lingerie that makes you feel hot." Look for something that "flatters the parts of your body you feel great about" and then arrange "for someone to watch your child, giving you some time to get pampered." Even just an hour of self-care can help reignite your sexual spark.

Check out your postpartum body. When you're ready, take a look at your body and marvel at what it has been through and created. Any evidence of pregnancy and childbirth, such as stretch marks, are proof of your strength and resilience and of what the female body is capable of achieving. Rather than trying to hide those changes, embrace what they signify.

Levine recommends focusing on the parts of your body you love instead of the areas that may make you feel less confident and keeping in mind that it takes time to get your body back after a baby. She suggests doing yoga or taking a dance or another movement class to help you find your way back to your "sexy vibe."

Most women do experience some degree of stretching after giving birth vaginally. It's part of the birthing process. But the vagina is remarkably elastic and will eventually return to its original shape and form, depending on the extent of your laboring and pushing.

Many women report that not much feels different after healing, while others experience a newfound ability to get in touch with their g-spot. However, if you continue to experience vaginal pain, numbness, or urine leakage for several weeks, talk to your obstetrician or midwife at your six-week checkup.

Love thyself. Of course it can take time to move from trepidation to celebration of your body. So be compassionate and patient with yourself, and don't feel rushed. In the meantime, there is one very practical solution that will help you move toward greater self-love: masturbation. I talk in more detail about masturbation in my book, A Piece of Cake: Recipes for Female Sexual Pleasure.

Orgasms are stress relieving, emotionally bonding, and mind clearing. They're also a surefire way to feel sexy and improve pelvic muscle tone quickly. And one of the least anxiety provoking ways to achieve orgasm is to do it yourself. If you're not comfortable using your hands, a vibrator does the job well and quickly. Check out toys at Babeland to find a vibrator to enjoy solo or with your partner.

Once you've reconnected with your postpartum body, it may be time to include your partner. Sexual satisfaction involves both receiving and giving pleasure, so sharing the techniques you discovered on your solo journey can inspire you with your partner. Touch, intimacy, and affection are all part of it, but the most tried and true motivator for desire and arousal is prioritizing your pleasure and your orgasms.

You may be surprised to discover that the physical experience of pregnancy and giving birth has yielded new and exciting ways to experience orgasms. Your body has changed, but you can change also your relationship to it in a way that helps you feel sexy again.