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Ep. 201 – Return to sex and physical intimacy postpartum – Interview with Connie Lappa

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Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Milk Minute Podcast. Welcome, welcome, welcome. I’m here with Marty, who is currently nursing. So, sorry about all the slurping. No, enjoy. Enjoy the slurping. Well, today we have an interview that I’m pretty excited about.

We are going to be interviewing Connie Lappa. Connie’s a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in individual and couples therapy, sex therapy, infertility and pregnancy loss, postpartum mood disorders, anxiety, depression sexual abuse, adjustment to illness. She really helps people with a lot of things.

She received her B. A. at Marietta College and her master’s in social work at University of Pitt. She’s a licensed social worker and a certified sex therapist. She worked at McGee Women’s Hospital for 16 years, and she currently runs a private practice in Pittsburgh, and we are going to talk to her a lot today about postpartum, sex postpartum, dealing with that with your partner, kind of navigating those conversations, and we know that those are really important to all of you guys out there.

Well, and also, as you know, I always try to schedule a guest that’s going to benefit me in some way. And I am six weeks postpartum now, and I was actually just doing a continuing education the other day for my midwifery license, and it said somewhere in there that 50 percent of people have resumed sex by six weeks postpartum, and I was like, oh, that’s not me.

Because I’m still bleeding, but also, you know, it just hadn’t occurred to me, really, you know. Yeah, you know one of the courses I took on this had, had cited a statistic, something like 87 percent of people still have pain with sexual intercourse at six weeks postpartum. Not shocking to me. Like, yeah, not shocking and I mean, I know this is not comparable, but I did try to use a tampon the other day and that hurt.

So I was like, well, don’t do that. Good thing it’s not a penis. Heather don’t do that. Listen, I was in a situation. I didn’t have any pads. My bleeding is doing that thing where I think it’s gone and then it’s not gone. And I only had a tampon and I was like, well, it’s been six weeks and I put that thing up there and I was like, man, that’s coming right back out.

I don’t like that feeling of cotton there at all. Yeah, it’s not surprising to me that it was uncomfortable and just didn’t work really because Yeah, Your tissues have not fully healed yet at that point. And we really want to talk to Connie today about just navigating those conversations with partners about that and, and how to do that in a way that’s like respectful and maintains your relationship and allows you guys to move forward in a healthy way for both of you.

And not just that, but breastfeeding in general and sex, you know, because breastfeeding is a relationship that can last years. And what does that mean for your sexual health and wellness and, and your relationship in general, because, you know, oftentimes we have a bit of a mismatch with our partners when it comes to sex and how we feel about breast milk and, and sex and wearing a bra.

I mean, your partner has weird opinions that you didn’t know that they had when these things start to come up. Yeah, until they suddenly come out. Well, I’m excited to get to that, but first I want to thank a million patrons. And then we have a question. All right let’s hear it. So thank you to all of these new patrons and apologies that you all probably joined a while ago, but because of the break we took over the holidays, everyone’s a little bit late.

So thank you to Bailey Garrett, Alex Toscanas, Catherine Muniz, Emily R., Taylor McKenzie, Jessica Peterson, Linda Roberts, Julianne Watson, Nicole Bondi, Kayla, Erin, Heather Helmy, Mia, Bunny Howell, and Heather Yoder. Bunny Howell. What a great name. Thank you guys so much for joining our Patreon. We’ve been getting a lot of new patrons, especially to listen to Beyond the Boob, and we are super, super grateful for all of you.

Yes. Thank you so much for your support. It’s been so Overwhelming to see how many people are interested in hearing my story, you know, and just, I love sharing it with you all. And I hope you had a great holiday season because that was such a gift when you all became patrons, like right before Christmas, it’s like, Oh, what a great, awesome present.

Yes, absolutely. Okay. Facebook group. And she asked, do you have any advice on starting daycare? We start in a week. We are exclusively breastfed, and I’m not sure how to prepare bottles or bags for daycare. I don’t know how much he typically eats, and he is 12 weeks old. Well, you go back to the guideline of you want to prepare 1 to 1.

5 ounces per hour that you’ll be away. So if you’re working eight hours away from baby, I typically recommend 12 ounces in a bottle, not at one time, several bottles, not at one time. Usually, I think a safe bet would be to offer three, four ounce bottles and have a couple one ounce snack bags available. If needed, and then I would actually ask the daycare what their feeding schedule is so you could try to match it because if most of the time it’s going to be three feeds in an eight hour period, but you might have one of those daycares.

It’s like, oh, we’ll feed on demand. for you, and that’s great. And if your baby eats every two hours, then you can do four bottles with less volume in each, which would be great. So start by asking the daycare and then kind of go from there. And you can listen to episode 121 where we talk about preparing to return to work.

And episode 15, I think, where we go into a little bit more detail about how much milk to put in a bottle. Yep, that’s perfect. And best of luck heading back to work. I know it’s not easy. Okay, well, we’re going to take a quick break. And then when we get back, we will hop right in with Connie.

Imagine a world Where you seek lactation care and it’s easy and someone greets you at the door and they’re nice to you And they give you a hot cup of tea and let you sit on the couch and talk about all the issues Not just the breastfeeding issues. What a cozy fantasy. Is there anywhere that’s real? Oh, it’s real girl It’s real and I’ve been building it for quite a long time My business is called breastfeeding for busy moms and me and every member of my team are trained in our three major tenets which is accessibility and Kindness and personalization.

If you want to book a consult with Heather or anyone else on her team, you should head over to breastfeedingforbusymoms. com. We do accept some limited insurance and we’d be happy to walk you through it if you want to give us a call. And that number’s on Google. So go sit on the cozy couch with Heather at Breastfeeding for Busy Moms.

Love you guys.

Hey everybody, welcome back. We are ready to welcome our guest Connie to the podcast. Hey Connie. Hello. Thank you for having me. Thank you so much for coming. Do you think you could give our guest just a very quick introduction to yourself? Sure, I have a master’s in social work and I was a social worker at the third largest maternity hospital in the country counseling pregnant women as well as women diagnosed with breast and gynecological cancers and in the process of doing that, sexuality concerns of course came up and especially around the women going through changes to their body.

After having cancer and nobody seemed to be addressing that and so I did a little research and found out what I needed to do to go back and get trained as a certified sex therapist so I could help people and so that’s what I did. I went back and got trained and you have to be a sex therapist. An experienced individual and couples counselor first before you become a sex therapist because so many issues, individual issues, couple issues, of course, you know, affect that.

So I then got that training and then I later left the hospital and went into private practice and I treat clients with all kinds of sexual concerns including postpartum women and I also work with clients experiencing fertility issues, which also Sexuality issues come up. I’ve actually been asked to come and give a lecture to the fertility specialist physicians about how they can deal with sexuality concerns with their patients.

Oh, that’s great. So, yeah, and then I deal also with pregnancy loss and postpartum stress disorder. I just need to interject straight out of the gate here with a question not on the list. So when you’re working with patients that are going through chemo and patients that have brand new babies, it seems like sex is probably the thing that’s like, that most providers would think is low on the totem pole.

So when you focus on that, do you see patients like get better in more ways than just sexually? Like, is that a bigger component of general wellness in relation to like their life circumstance than just what’s happening with the sex. Does that make sense? Yes, absolutely. It’s a quality of life issue.

There are a lot of changes, a lot of losses with, you know, all different kinds of health issues. And People feel a loss of who they were, their identity, and so there’s a good feeling if they can regain some of that back, if they can say, Oh, oh, yes, that’s me. I remember that part of me. Wow. I mean, I kind of felt that way many times in my life, even when it comes to just like an injury that’s limiting how I typically exercise, you know, so like when it comes to, When it comes to sexuality and another partner and how they feel about it.

I imagine, you know, you would need to work with a professional sometimes. I think a lot of the, one of the big struggles that our listeners have, especially in the early postpartum, like where you’re at Heather, is how to even start the conversation with their partner in a way that’s going to like lead to, you know, respectful like sharing about that.

So, you know, just in a general sense, how, how do you advise patients begin that conversation postpartum? Ideally, that conversation would have started before postpartum, but I know that’s not generally the case, but I, yeah, ideally it would be a conversation about, you know, there’s going to be some changes and, you know, we should talk about that, you know, ahead of time and kind of plan for that.

The sooner you can have the conversation, the better. Oftentimes, people will wait for months and tensions are building up and, you know, they’re not understanding each other. And so I think the sooner, yeah, you can talk about it, the better. And I think it’s, it’s good to reinforce how much you care about your partner.

First off, I care, you know, about you. I care about your feelings. We want to work together on this as a team. expressing those kinds of things. And, and talk about it in a positive way. Like I, I want us to be closer sexually. I think I could feel more comfortable being sexual if blah, blah, whatever it is.

Or I think it might turn me on a little bit if this. And to say things in a constructive way instead of, you know, in a negative or Accusatory way. So, using I statements and in a calm tone, it’s really important to try to pick a time, although time is very precious, but to pick a time when you’re not like both exhausted, about to walk out the door, about to go to bed, you know just.

You know, whenever you can find the time, even if you have to have several times of conversations, break it up to try to find a time where you both can be attentive. Sometimes I encourage couples to hold hands when they’re talking about difficult topics and make eye contact and that can be helpful. And listen to understand, everybody wants to be heard, when you listen and you can reflect back that you’re understanding, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree with what the other person’s saying, but you’re hearing them, and they’re, and then they can hear you, and then you can start to get somewhere, because both of you are recognized.

A lot of times when I’m working with couples, I see That they’re talking over each other, and they’re not listening, and they just end up escalating, so. I think that’s a great idea because I can tell you right now that there are days that go by where my husband and I don’t touch each other. And not because we’re purposefully avoiding each other, but because someone’s always touching us or asking us to run and get something because of all the kids.

Or we’re running out the door, our schedules just don’t line up. And then at nighttime we’re so exhausted, it’s, we’re lucky if we pat each other on the shoulder and go, love you. You know, so I think that’s a great idea to hold hands and make that initial contact and just kind of like set the tone, like we’re together, remember?

Right, right. There’s actually even an exercise that You know, it has been around for a while that where people like sit cross legged facing each other and you put your hand on their heart, they put their hand on your heart and then you put your hand over top of their hand and you make eye contact and you say just one thing.

loving to the other person and it’s very powerful. It’s kind of sounds kind of corny and people giggle sometimes at first, but it’s very powerful. Connie, to be honest with you, that sounds scary to me. That sounds more intimate than a lot of the sex I’ve probably had in my life. Yes, indeed. It can be. It can be.

That sounds like 10 out of 10 intimacy, where doggy style is like a 2 out of 10. You know? You’re right. It can be. Okay. Well, I challenge people to try that. I’ll try it if you guys try it. You know, we’re down for anything on this podcast. But what about partners that are a sexual mismatch in pregnancy, or even before pregnancy?

Where there might be some old sexual wounds to heal, but now there’s a baby involved and we have breast milk and all these other new body fluids and feelings in our bodies to deal with. Right, so that can certainly be a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity. When there’s a drastic change in your life like that, that can be an opportunity to break out of your old patterns and say, we need to talk about this more.

We need to maybe read some books together. I have some book suggestions later because that also really helps people, sort of gives them a guideline. Let’s look through this. And sometimes that’s a time for couples therapy. to get the, if the communication isn’t flowing the way it needs to. And sometimes it’s also a time for individual therapy.

Some people have past traumas they need to work through. I’ve had a lot of people where giving birth has reactivated some past traumas for them. And so sometimes that needs to happen before they can enter back into a sexual relationship. But, you know, trying to have healthy sex when you don’t have like enough, you know.

Emotional intimacy and trust in the relationship can be pretty difficult. So, you know, once you can start getting the communication going and start to really have some honest conversations and come up with some creative solutions, people can be less defensive and, and then start to problem solve. Yeah, I really like looking at that as a new opportunity.

You know, reflecting back on my own experience after our first, you know, I, I think my husband and I made a lot of mistakes in how we communicated about it, but with more experience after our second, we were, we like had a whole new sexual relationship after that. And it was wonderful. And it’s, I don’t know, it’s really, it’s really great to frame that positively, even if you’re coming from a place where you’re like, I don’t know if I ever want to have sex again.

Okay, great. That’s fine to start from. Right. Exactly. Absolutely. Well, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I mean, I have not resumed sex postpartum yet. As you should not, because you’re only six weeks postpartum. Right, exactly. I mean, it’s crossed my mind a couple of times, you know, where I’m like, oh, I actually am thinking about sex.

That’s exciting. So I’m trying to like, celebrate the small wins of like, oh, a hint of a libido. How exciting, you know, instead of approaching it like, oh man, like you’re you 99 percent of the time don’t think about sex. I’m trying to. Celebrate the 1 percent of the time that I did think about it. Oh, sorry.

Oh, exactly. Those little flickers eventually, you know, can become a flame. But sometimes you just have little flickers. And you also don’t have to be sexual in the same way you were. Yeah, well, how, how is the best way to approach, you know, entering in this, you know, sort of new sexual chapter with basically a whole new body in a way that is gentle, you know, emotionally and physically and it, it, sometimes it feels really difficult to remember that those are so intertwined.

Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, first of all, just respecting that your body has just done something amazing and, you know, deserves to recover and be gentle with it. But, you know, some of the issues that come up. For people or of course, vaginal dryness, sensitivity, soreness from the episiotomy or tearing and scar tissue.

There’s additional role responsibilities, fatigue. I know I’m preaching to the choir here. And then with breastfeeding, cause, you know, hormonal changes that can lead to issues. Being touched out, as you’ve referred to, yeah, definitely that comes up a lot. And then there, with the different, changes in the family.

There can be resentment about roles and who’s doing what and all that stress feeds into things. A negative body image and then of course if there was any other prior sexual issues. So I think the first thing is self-care is essential. You can’t give to another person and share with another person if you haven’t taken enough care of yourself and my experience has been that too many moms don’t.

You know, even if they have, are given the opportunity, don’t always take advantage because they feel guilty of having some time by themselves, even if it’s for a half an hour, 15 minutes, whatever. I think those little spots of time just for you are really, really important for you to start to get back in touch with yourself.

Again, before you can feel like you want to share. And so, you know, all the things I’m sure people have talked about, you know, napping, relaxation time, and also reframing like your negative thoughts, you know, because that happens a lot of times when people, especially when people are tired and stressed out, you know, and trying to say, wait, is there another way to look at this?

You know, can I reframe this? Not Pollyanna, you know, rainbows and unicorns, but you know, well this isn’t gonna last forever or this happened or I had a flicker like you said. And then I, I tell people to try to experience positive feelings and sensuality through all their senses. That you move into that space where you start to pay attention, you feel your skin as you wash yourself, you smell the scent of new grass, listen to music that calms you or else brings you up, you know, brings you to life, you know, look at things that are beautiful that bring you pleasure, you know, so start to appreciate that, that all of your senses and that’s sort of the foundation for sexuality.

Okay, quick question, maybe it’s not quick at all. So I think there are some people that have makeup sex and there are some people that do not have makeup sex and I think that you have so much more conflict when you were in the postpartum period, not meaning like yelling and fighting, but just conflicts to work out like there’s, there’s always something to work out whether it’s like, Who’s taking the kids where or what should I put my breast milk in or what did you do with my breast milk?

And I think some people are really good at setting that aside and using sex to kind of round those sharp edges and other people cannot let those things go to get in the headspace to enjoy sex. So What do you have to say about that? Like, is there a way to kind of meet in the middle, or is there a way to learn how to be good at makeup sex?

Is that a, something that we should all strive to be good at? No, not necessarily. I think it’s a, it’s a personality type thing. I mean, some people, that is something. makes them reconnect, and it’s a stress reducer, and it’s a bonding experience. For other people, they don’t feel emotionally safe having sex unless they feel emotionally connected.

And so, you know, I don’t think people should go against who they are. But, you know, so then, okay, Then how do you start to find a way to be emotionally connected again? So you work toward that so that then you can get back into being sexual in a comfortable way for you. That makes a lot of sense and I think will make a lot of people feel a lot better because I think If you’re a person who is not a makeup sex person, I think you have some guilt about that, you know, especially if you’re already feeling pressured because you have not had resumed sex yet.

And it’s like, there’s so much conflict and there’s no sex. And if only I was one of those people that could use this as a tool, yes, that that could be nice. But, you know, there’s Sometimes there’s issues with that too, because then sometimes those people may be not diving into issues they need to work out.

So, I mean, there’s pros and cons for both, right? Absolutely. Well, you know, thinking of postpartum and how much we change physically. You know, yes, there are many partners who are like, oh, you’re beautiful no matter what. But there are people who are scared of a postpartum body or turned off by it or just can’t imagine engaging in, you know, some physical sexual contact when somebody is like leaking breast milk.

You know, how do we get past those kind of icks that, you know, obviously no one is doing on purpose, but might be preventing like comfortable sexual engagement? Well. First off, I talk about this all the time, right? Emotional connection, you know, so make sure you’re working on that emotional connection.

Because that can kind of pave the way for people to feel a little more comfortable. And then start at a low level with hugging, kissing, cuddling. I’m going to talk a little bit later about like body caress, that kind of thing. So not jumping right into being sexual but getting more comfortable physically with the body.

Some people will wear, you know, a bra or a sexy top if their partner’s uncomfortable with the, you know, aspect of breast milk, you know, if that’s going to help them get past that a little bit. And, you know, there’s this process sort of desensitization in a way, you know, so as, as there’s gradually more touching, more contact, you know, usually people will come around to that.

But, you know, our bodies change our whole lives. everybody’s. And so it’s good to practice acceptance and start to get more comfortable with changes because you can still be a sexual person. I once worked with a couple where the one partner was dying and they still wanted to be sexual but there were some Restrictions with being able to breathe and they found ways to do that and to continue to be sexual and enjoy that, but they adapted, so.

There’s just a part of me that gets really upset even thinking about someone looking at me and going, I’m just uncomfortable with your breast milk. Can you wear a bra so we can have sex? I, I gotta be honest, that makes me want to throat punch them and never have sex with them again. Right. If you think of it in terms of, yeah, not accepting in that way.

However, I guess because I’ve worked with a lot of people and I experienced a lot of different things, there are people that have almost hesitates, like sort of OCD kinds of feelings about it. I have had a woman that was off by her own wetness. It was very difficult because she’d start to get aroused.

She wanted to get aroused, but it freaked her out. It was gross for her to get wet. It had people freaked out by their partner’s semen, you know. So, I mean, there can be sort of a little. So, I try to be understanding in that way that it, it can be sort of. That kind of thing. It’s not a rejection of you as a person.

Okay, yeah, that, that does help. Because, I mean, the, the healthcare provider in me would understand that. If it was a condition. If it was just like, you accidentally married a frat boy. And he’s like, oh, gross. We’ve got some other problems then, Heather, that probably go deeper than just that. I hate it when you accidentally marry a frat boy.

All right, well we’re going to take a very quick break to thank one of our sponsors. And when we get back, we will continue our conversation.

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All right. Welcome back, everybody. So I, I have a question that I’ve, I’m having a little bit of trouble phrasing, but I’m going to try. How do you deal with low libido when you actually, like, you want to be sexual, but your body’s just not cooperating? You know, it’s like, it’s something you want to do, but you have, you have none of the physical signs that you’d like to do that.

Well, there’s many things that we get from being sexual. There’s that sense of connection. Closeness as well as arousal and orgasm, you know, so sometimes that’s not going to be what’s going to be happening, but you’re going to get something else from being sexual. You’re going to get to focusing on satisfaction.

Can I get from this for me? What, what can be good? And then I think working on libido, if you do, would you want me to go into some of those things? Sure. Yeah. Okay. Again, you know, it’s important to be flexible and creative and not to think, okay, well, I need to be able to feel okay having sex exactly the way we used to.

It’s maybe not necessarily going to be that way, at least at first, and to be, okay, what can you do? You know, if penetration is, is painful, you can do, you know, oral or manual stimulation. You can, there’s all kinds of You know, wonderful vibrators out there that you can use, you know, together. There’s one that you can crescendo that you can wrap around a guy’s penis and you can use it for you can be for both.

There’s clitoral vibrators. There’s penis sleeves too. There’s one called the Tenga egg. It comes in this cute little egg. that can you take it out and it’s this penis sleeve and that you, a woman can put it between her thighs or you can just hold it and so you can have some intimate connection without penetration if, if at that point penetration is uncomfortable and it comes in all different designs of internal ridges.

That’s fun. For his pleasure. You can buy them on Amazon, Ava. Wow. Yeah, I, I think it’s a good idea to really remind folks that toys are a great way to, you know, explore new ways to have sex. You know, and I think a lot of from what I’ve heard from a lot of women I speak to is that their husbands are a little freaked out by it.

You know, it’s good to remind them like, hey, this isn’t, this isn’t just for me. It’s for you too. And it’s a tool we’re using. It’s not a replacement. Yes. Yeah. Yes. That’s the thing. They, they worry about being replaced. Yeah. No, it’s just, it’s just an enhancer. Just like lingerie might be an enhancer for somebody, right?

It’s not a replacement. But yeah, women sometimes will lube their thighs and have people thrust between them and then To get extra arousal, there’s hands free vibrators like the Dame Eva is one, a popular one. There’s also, you know, because of discomfort and stuff, there’s also all kinds of wedges and pillows that are sold that can, you know, help people, you know, feel more comfortable in different positions.

And lubes, lubes, lubes are essential, absolutely, and you know, there has been for a long time this prejudice. Oh, there’s something wrong if you need a lube. No, you know, everybody can use lubes, and I am noticing, you know, a lot of people in their 20s, they’re just, they love lubes, you know, they don’t see it as like something that, you know, you know, you have to have an issue.

They just think it’s fun to play with. And there’s silicone loops, which are the very slippery ones that stay slippery. And so for some people that’s good. And especially if say you know, your perineum is, is sore. And you put a little extra silicone lube and you are trying to penetrate of sex, that can help slide things over it so there’s not as much friction.

So that can be helpful. And then the water based lubes I always tell people to use ones that are paraben and glycerin free because you don’t want the stuff that’s going to cause you problems. Some women really do need pelvic floor physical therapy, you know, because of, you know, their pelvic floor has been disturbed.

you know, by the birth process and they need help with that. So that’s really important. And I’ve seen people have tremendous benefits. I just went to a five hour pelvic floor workshop on the importance of all of this. And it was interesting about. What people don’t realize is that, you know, the blood flow through your pelvic floor goes to your clitoris, also goes to a guy’s penis, and if your pelvic floor isn’t flexible enough, you’re not going to get the blood flow, so you’re not going to get as much arousal.

So that’s very important. So there’s different things you can do with that if you can get to PT or you can just do on your own. You can do diaphragmatic breathing which helps flex your pelvic floor. There’s different yoga poses like happy baby that help open things up. So you know those kinds of things can be helpful too with arousal.

So, and then some other things that can help, some women will use erotica to get warmed up. That’s one of our favorite methods. Right, and there’s some great apps like Dipsia is sexy erotic stories. Yeah Quinn is another good one. And, and, and Rosie has some too. And so, and then there’s also educational type apps that you can watch things with your partner and say, Hey, maybe we could try that.

Or look at that like, Oh my God. Yes. Or coral. Those are educational sites that help. And they also have little exercises that are fun that you can do. And a lot of times I notice it’s anxiety and stress that’s getting in the way of arousal. Desire and arousal vary. complex. It’s not, just not something you can flip a switch.

And so anything you can do to help reduce that anxiety and stress, like asking for help with things, doing some meditation. There’s a great app from UCLA. It’s UCLAhealth. org and they have quick, free, meditations based on research they’ve done that people can use. And I like it because the first, I think they go from three to five minutes to 19 minutes, so they’re much easier than You know, you don’t have time to do a half hour meditation, so, so they’re nice, quick meditations that you can do even in the shower, you know, that, you know, can give you some relaxation.

There’s also a woman named Jessica Graham, who is a meditation teacher, and she has sexual meditations. And you can find some of them free online that help you to be more present in your body and be aware of like those little, tiny tinglings, you know, and help them to grow. Also being aware of your brakes and accelerators.

Emily Nagoski who wrote Come As You Are talks a lot about our brakes and accelerators. The brakes are things that get in the way and accelerators are things that help us. And they’re not just sexual things. You know, they can be all kinds of things. Is the room too cold? You know, put in a space heater, you know, warm up the room, shut the door before you start anything.

I mean, there’s all kinds of things that can get in your way. And there’s other things that can enhance things. Sometimes somebody doing the dishes for you is foreplay. So it can help. So I, I like to recommend folks if they have a. A baby monitor that has a visual indicator of noise that you mute it but put it somewhere you can see so like the little baby noises don’t like interrupt everything you’re trying to do and feel.

Right, that’s kind of distracting, right? Exactly. And locks on the doors. I am surprised at how many people do not have locks on their doors. Yeah, we put one on when my son was about five and we were like, you know. Yeah, yeah. Because then in the back of your mind, you’re always. Are they going to come in? Yeah.

And the answer is probably, yeah. Right. So, yeah. They’re definitely going to come in. The minute your pants come down, they’re like, hey, can I have a snack? Right, exactly. So, yeah. Well, I’m actually really glad that you mentioned the pelvic floor situation and the blood flow because although I have not had penetrative sex, we did do manual stimulation one time.

Recently, which I forgot about until just now. That’s how awesome it was. And so when I was pregnant, I had tons of blood flow and my orgasms were crazy in pregnancy. They were like really intense. And although I had no sex drive, whenever we would actually do it, it would be really intense. And I’d be like, why don’t I do this more often?

So whenever I had my first and only postpartum orgasm with manual stimulation, it was the weirdest orgasm I’ve ever had in my life. It was like slowly letting air out of a balloon. It was like a sigh. Yeah, it was just kind of like it never really peaked and vallied. It was more just kind of like all right, we’re doing this.

And my husband was like, did you? And I was like, yeah, but. I don’t know. Sort of? It was weird and I just kind of feel like a pelvic floor PT would make sense for me given that huge flip flop. Oh, yeah. Let me know if you need a new referral for that, Heather. Thanks. Yeah. No, I think, I, I, I think it could be great and it’s very helpful for a lot of women that, Yeah, that need that.

Yeah, well, and you have an extra pint of blood, right, when you’re pregnant. So, you do have more blood flow. Yeah, but yeah, but it’s still, yeah, it can help with a lot of things. Yeah, but yeah, I mean, I think, you know, it’s important to just be moving into things gradually, being playful, you know, trying to get yourself on simmer a little bit.

I always use the metaphor, You know, you put a pot of cold water on the stove and you want to bring it to a boil, right? It’s going to take a lot longer, but if it’s already in simmer, you can, it’s already partway there. You can move into that place easier. Well, if we’re not ready for physical sex, what, what can we do to increase intimacy otherwise?

All different kinds of things. You can do some physical things like a hand, foot, or back massage, you know, it’s at least something, you know, connecting, or you can make sure every day that you tell each other something that you appreciate about the other person, to even text them, you know, something just to stay connected, pull out old photos from when you were first together, and reminisce about things.

That can be a nice exercise. Even watching a short show, because you can only watch a short show when you have a baby, or a YouTube video maybe, you know, preferably something funny together, so that you can laugh together again, and then, you know, if, if one you know, that emotional intimacy part that if one of you is upset, you know, asking, do you want comfort?

Do you want to be heard or do you want a suggestion? My husband and I have that conversation every day because I am a, I am a problem solver. And he just wants to discuss his feelings without that. Mm hmm. Just wants to be heard. We can be clear about it every time. Just wants to be heard. Yes. And then there’s the, the body caress, if people are willing to do that, where breasts and genitals are off limits, and this is an old Masters and Johnson.

thing that’s been around for a long time where you just do a sensual caress. Because if you think of a physical touch on a continuum and one end is affectionate touch and the other end is sex, in the middle is that sensual place. And so moving from affectionate into the sensual and spending some time there can get you more ready to move into a sexual place.

I love that and I think it’s really helpful to have a tangible list that we can refer back to because our brains are just constantly in what’s the next task in motherhood and it kind of takes the thinking out of it. So I appreciate you giving us a list. Speaking of playful, because you were mentioning being playful before, What about situations where your partner actually has a little bit of a kink when it comes to your breast milk and sex, and you’re maybe ready to wean, because some people breastfeed for a long time, and you might redefine your sexual relationship and breast milk is actually a part of that, so what, how do you manage That’s That situation where it’s like, Oh, now we’re going to change again, and I’m going to change my body again.

Sorry, it’s my body again, maybe an opportunity to explore, you know, like, what else can be arousing? What else can be fun? I mean, I, I started my sex therapy journey working with women with breast cancer. And at that time, they were doing mastectomies a lot. So that’s for somebody whose main erotic sensation came from their breasts.

That was a big change that they had to adapt to, but people were amazingly adaptable where they can start to find other things. You know, let’s explore other things. Let’s read about some things. Let’s look at some things. Let’s try to find something else that could be fun. Yeah, absolutely. I think Well, we’ll have to link a bunch of those apps and things that you mentioned because it does sound like a lot of fun to sort of look at a new, a new list of options together and see if any of them like spark excitement.

Right, right. And I, I’ll tell people you can, you know, list some options and then you can say yes, no, or maybe. Yeah. Well, you know, we, we’ve talked a lot about the different kinds of conflicts that can arise here, but how do we know when. you know, we should actually seek some professional help with all of this.

Well, so if you’ve tried some of these things, you’re still feeling stuck and it’s just not working, or you’re even having difficulty communicating about it. And every time you try to have a conversation, it ends up in an argument, or you’re feeling so anxious that you just don’t feel like you can connect at all.

You know, those would be times where it might be a good idea, you know, to talk to a professional. And I also suggest, as I mentioned before, there’s a number of different books that people can use for sort of self-help and try to use that. And sometimes that works. And that’s enough for people and they’re able, they have enough communication skills that they can work through something together with that.

Other times, you know, they need a professional to give them some guidance with it. And if I can just add if you’re having pain with sex, pain’s not normal. And you should definitely reach out to a trusted healthcare provider and have them check things out. You might have scar tissue, you might actually need some estrogen cream to help you lubricate yourself.

You know, perhaps you have a little bit of a spot that’s not healed correctly. So definitely reach out. Pain is not normal. We have to remind ourselves that as women because I think our pain is so downplayed most of the time that it’s like, Oh, that’s just part of being a woman. You know, you’re in pain one week a month with your period.

You know, whatever. Sex is painful 30 percent of the time. Oh, well, sex for you, but it’s not normal. Right. It’s not. And, and, you know, like I said, initially you may have to gradually try to, you know, work through that with the healing, but it shouldn’t be a regular thing. And, and gritting your teeth and burying it is not a good thing.

And, and plus, you know, as I tell people, you know, if you keep persisting and, and, and. Having painful sex, you’re going to associate your partner with that, and that’s going to continue to be a trigger. It’s that when you see them, you’re going to tense up and you’re going to think, okay, is this going to hurt?

And that’s not an association you want. Yeah, might I just add, we’re talking about unintentional pain during sex. It is, it is absolutely up to you if that’s part of what makes it good for you. Right, right. That’s different. That’s consensual agreed upon pain. That’s a different kind of pain. It’s always good to differentiate there.

Exactly, exactly. Which involves a lot of communication. Absolutely, it does. Well, Connie, any last words of wisdom for people that you wanted to share or favorite toys, favorite lubes, you know, drop all of the, the number one favorites list of yours. Well, I, I like Uber Lube. A lot of people like that and that’s, it’s nice and slippery and, and so that’s good.

Clean Love Almost Naked is good because it doesn’t have any of the bad stuff in it. But there’s a lot of different ones. I like those kinds of vibrators like the EVA and different ones that can be used together with different kinds. It’s hands free, that kind of thing is nice. I think it’s just And books, I use books a lot because it’s just a helpful way, like I said, to have a conversation starter, to start to read something and say, Hey, I can identify with that.

Like, you know, look, and I’ll have people, I said, highlight it either on your Kindle or in person, you know, and, you know, share it with your partner and say, what do you think about this? You know, it gets people and I’ve had so many people that said. I started this off trying to be able to communicate better sexually, and I feel like we’re communicating better overall, because if we can talk about that, we can talk about all kinds of things.

That’s a very good point. Well, thank you so much for coming on with us today. I have loved our conversation. Thank you. Me too. I’m sorry for all the feeding and Marty took a giant poop in the middle of this. I don’t know if you heard that or not. That’s real life. Yeah, I mean, I’m over here like cracking up thinking about like everything but sex while talking about sex.

I’m just dealing with poop and milk and boobs and I’m like, yes, okay, I’m going to go home and I’m going to caress my husband right after I change this diaper. Baby steps. Well, maybe you can put this, you know, bookmarked for next month. Right, exactly. You’ve given me a lot to chew on, though. And I’m so glad that you came on the show and I think just Normalizing that this is a thing that we have to work on postpartum, and that, you know, you’re not weird if you’re having issues sexually with yourself or with your partner, and your body is different, and it’s okay, and, you know, if you need help, and your partner needs help, you know, get it right.

There’s all kinds of, you know, resources out there. Like I said, when you said about the body, there’s a nice book called the body is not an apology. That’s really good about, you know, feeling good about your body. Love that book. Alright, well, thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can our listeners find you if they want to work with you or learn more about you?

Well, my schedule’s pretty full, but thank you. But they can go to ASECT, A S E C T dot org, and that is the Certifying Body for Sex therapists. And if you go on there, find a therapist and then you look up your state and then you can find a therapist in your state. There’s only about a thousand sex therapists in the country.

But in, in quite a few of them do take health insurance. So, you know, not always, but a lot of times they do. So it’s covered under your behavioral health benefits. So that makes it a little more accessible to people. Wonderful. All right. Well, Thank you, Connie. We’re going to take another quick break, and when we get back, we will close out the show.

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All right, everybody. Well that was a wonderful conversation with Connie. I’m so thankful that she took the time to come on the podcast with us. I know you all got a couple gems to take home to your partner. Or you’re making your, your war plan where you’re like, all right, none of this has gone down the way I thought it was supposed to go down.

And now I’ve got beef. Well, I, I just hope that this can kind of give you a framework to think about. the sexual connection that you have with your partner and how that interacts with motherhood and lactation and all of that. So that hopefully then when you move forward with those conversations you can do that in a way that is really productive for both of you.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, do we have an award to give today? I actually thought we’d read a review really quick because it was cute. Oh, let’s hear it. This is actually a review for Beyond the Boob, which again, like if you guys want to hear it, you should subscribe on Patreon. So this is from Niela Bella and it’s titled Big Fan and they say, I’ve already been a big fan of the Milk Minute and have weaned and still listen to it.

Thank you. And I knew if I got pregnant again, I would subscribe to Beyond the Boob and follow along. Well, the time has come, I am six weeks, and I couldn’t be more stoked to subscribe. Aw, that’s so fun. Oh my gosh. Yeah, congratulations. I really, like, it’s definitely our dream. That that podcast sort of stands alone and, like, transcends time, you know?

Yeah, for sure. And just continues to be relevant for the entire, like, childbearing year for whomever would like that. Yeah. I hope it helps you all feel seen in your struggles through pregnancy and. And also helps you kind of like laugh at the funny stuff and celebrate the wins at the same time. All right, everybody.

Well we will see you next time. Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the Milk Minute. The way we change this big system that is not set up for lactating parents is by educating ourselves, our loved ones, our partners, and sometimes our providers. If you want to support us, like I already said, you should join our Patreon at Patreon.

com slash MilkMinutePodcast. And if you don’t have enough money for that right now, that’s okay. Just do me a favor and tell one friend about the podcast. Tell the friend or write a review that takes 30 seconds and we greatly appreciate all of your support. Bye bye. Toodaloo!


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