A growing proportion of mothers are breastfeeding their babies today. The virtues of breastfeeding are well known, but little is said about the impact it can have on sexuality.
After giving birth, there are many physical changes that influence sexuality. The body has changed shape, often with extra plumpness and some stretch marks and there are the lochia (postpartum bleeding). It can then be more difficult for the woman to feel desirable. Added to this is the fact that there may be sequelae of childbirth, such as a bruised perineum.
The milky discharge, which occurs in the first days after childbirth, can make the breasts sore. In addition, it is very common for the nipples to be sore in the early stages of breastfeeding. Indeed, many women end up with cracks, the time that baby and mom adapt to breastfeeding and that the latch is good. Other breastfeeding problems may also occur, such as chafing or mastitis. It is obvious that during these periods when the breasts are sensitive, the woman does not perceive herbreasts like sexual organs and does not want to be stroked.
Breasts also become larger and firmer, especially at the start of breastfeeding and when they are full of milk. This new shapely chest can be a source of pride in women and make them feel attractive. On the other hand, when the breasts empty and become softer, or when there are stretch marks for example, some women may feel complexed by this breast which does not correspond to the beauty criteria conveyed by the advertisement.
During sex, it is completely normal for milk to leak from the breasts. The stimulation of the breasts and especially the orgasm cause an ejection reflex. Some couples may feel uncomfortable with this milky explosion, while others may even find it appealing. Most couples are surprised at first and then get used to it. As breastfeeding progresses, it becomes less and less easy to induce a let-down reflex outside of breastfeeding. This situation is therefore only temporary.
So the appearance of the breasts is certainly modified during and after breastfeeding and, depending on whether these changes are considered positive or negative, can have an impact on the place that the breasts take in relationships sex and libido in general.
At the hormonal level, following childbirth, there is a significant drop in estrogen levelsand progesterone. This drop often leads to decreased vaginal lubrication and thinning of the vaginal wall, potentially making intercourse less comfortable. Furthermore, these hormonal changes have an impact on libido and morale. With the fatigue and feeling of being overwhelmed that one can feel when one becomes a parent, the baby blues are often there.
Breastfeeding also causes hormonal changes. Prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production, promotes attachment to the baby. As for oxytocin, the hormone responsible for the milk ejection reflex, it promotes love. These hormones therefore create a feeling of well-being in the mother and encourage her to take care of her baby. In some women, this surge of unconditional love and well-being for their baby can fulfill them to a level where they can turn away from the spouse and feel no sexual desire.
For other women, the effect may be the complete opposite. Indeed, some women can have a very sensual experience with breastfeeding. We then notice a certain vaginal lubrication, sometimes even sexual excitement, even a feeling of well-being comparable to orgasm. These attachment and love hormones are at their peak after pregnancy and gradually decline throughout breastfeeding, thereby reducing their impact on the mother's sexuality.
As we saw above, the womancan react in many ways to the changes brought about by breastfeeding. She may feel more beautiful, more sensual and have an increased libido, just as she may feel like she's not quite a woman anymore.
The fact that breasts are considered a very important asset of femininity and sexual power means that we can have a very ambiguous relationship with our breasts, which now produce milk and bring us closer to our animality, in addition to no longer resembling our young woman's chest. Putting the baby on this erogenous zone can give some women the impression of committing a somewhat incestuous act and they will have to separate in their mind the nourishing breast from the sexual breast. For some, the chest will therefore be stripped of any sexual character, while others will alternate between the two functions or even harmoniously mix the two realities.
In addition, the mother is solicited several times a day by her baby. When the spouse arrives with his caresses, many women have only one thing in mind: let them breathe! After hours of breastfeeding, especially when there are pitfalls, many mothers need space and therefore do not feel sexually available to their partners.
Thus, many women go through a period of adaptation where they have to redefine themselves as a woman and a lover and accept these changes
And the man in all this?
How does the man react to all this? Of course there isas many reactions as there are people. Reactions can oscillate between unease, excitement, normality, disgust, humor, etc.
Some men find that their lover is resplendent when breastfeeding. Others are disturbed to see these breasts becoming the nutritional source of their babies. Some men may even feel a certain jealousy, because they feel like they have lost their place. Still others may have difficulty perceiving their partner as a lover now that she is a mother, as if these two roles were mutually exclusive.
During sex, some men get turned on by the sight of those round breasts or even by the milk squirting out of them. Many, however, do not really know where to position themselves: they are afraid of hurting their lover, they feel a certain shame in kissing or licking the breasts.
Men must therefore also adapt to the situation and find their comfort zone to pursue a satisfying sexuality.