When a fellow mom confides in me, "I just don't feel sexy AT ALL anymore and I'm not sure I ever want to," I totally know what that feels like.
And I know that working on getting 'sexy' back means opening a great big can o' worms about body image, self worth, resentment, fear, confidence, vulnerability.
Which is why signing up to redefine 'Sexy' now that you're a mom is some of the most awesome therapeutic work you can do. It's an opportunity to get to know yourself anew, let go of toxic beliefs and expectations, and stake claim to enjoying and loving yourself.
We've all been there. Whether you adopted, had a c-section, or vaginal birth - your body and how you relate to it has likely changed dramatically since you became "Mom."
There are a few reasons you may not be feeling sexy anymore:
- You spend so much time in Mom/caretaker role and no time with your erotic parts of yourself
- You criticize your body harshly, making it the enemy, not your friend
- Your body is touched-out by your kid(s)
- You are exhausted and your sexy-feeling hormones are zapped
- You have a hard time believing that moms can be sexual beings, too
- You believe that sexiness has a very narrow definition based only in your body looking a certain way
- You secretly never felt sexy to begin with, even before kids
If any of this sounds like you, no wonder you don't feel 'hot' or 'sexy' or 'turned on.' Like, ever.
Here are some steps to move toward a new relationship with your body and it's sexuality:
1. Define WHY You Want a Sexual Dimension To Your Life.
- Most people don't think about how sexuality connects to living a meaningful life on your own terms. You need to know what you value most in life and whether and how sexuality serves those values. Everyone's values are different, so your reason for wanting a sexual life can only be determined by you (and some people determine it does not bring any meaningful value, and that's okay, too!).
2. Stop Believing That 'Sexy' is Defined By Anyone But Yourself.
- Our culture plagues us with messages that say 'sexy' looks like This and not That. The pressure and shame involved in trying to be This is toxic and only backfires when you can never live up to the ideal. The inner and outer messages may never go away, but you can stop believing them over time.
3. Focus on Feeling Alive and Vitalized, Not Just 'Sexy.'
- Sensuality, eroticism, sexiness are all extensions of feeling really alive. 'Turned On' doesn't just refer to your genitals, it also means energized and excited by life. If you put your energy into spending more time pursing vitality and aliveness, the sexiness will likely be close behind.
4. Make Your Body Your Friend and Play With It.
- Your mind probably went straight to masturbation, which is awesome, but I also mean all kinds of play and friendship with your body. Enjoy your body for what it is. Enjoy how it feels in certain positions, in certain temperatures, when doing certain activities. Practice enjoying your whole body for a while, and then you can turn to enjoying the specific erotic pleasures 'down there.'
5. Let Your Lover Love You.
- You know what your partner finds sexy? You being turned on and feeling sexy yourself. If your partner enjoys your body, don't talk him or her out of it. Let them tell you what they love about your body and what it can do. Be connected with your partner and let the love in. (*If your partner criticizes your body or tells you you're not sexy, then there are deeper relationship problems going on that need to be addressed.)
Redefining your sexuality and erotic life in motherhood is challenging, courageous, and ultimately rewarding work. Working with a therapist on these issues requires a sense of trust and faith that you can create a new, healthier relationship with your body and the gifts it can give you.
When you explore what it means to be sexy, you will uncover all kinds of beliefs and fears that aren't serving you anymore that you can then work on releasing. Working on your relationship to your body and sensuality is a gift you can give yourself that will have rewards beyond the bedroom. You will find confidence, vulnerability and strength, and never lose your 'sexy' again.
With love and optimism,