Eco Living Magazine presents:
So you’ve had a baby, what happened to sex?
By Jan Roberts
If you’ve just had a baby you might be wondering whatever happened to sex. Rest assured that many women are relatively sexually uninterested after childbirth and during breastfeeding. In fact it’s quite normal and is Nature’s way of spacing out your children in the most effective way. Studies show a wide variation of sexual behaviour among women after childbirth. Every woman is different and no response is ‘normal’ or better than another.
In fact, in some cultures, post-childbirth sexual abstinence is compulsory, and it is considered ‘bad form’ for children to be born very close together. For example, in Sierra Leone sexual abstinence lasts for a full year, in some Pacific Island cultures it lasts for two. Although some women experience a highly charged vitality, even in the first few days after birth, and find their sexual energy also heightened, there are many reasons why you may be less sexually motivated than before.
The factors involved include hormonal changes, your new role as a mother (and your joint role as parents), your levels of energy (or fatigue), your emotional state, physical problems resulting from childbirth, your new body image, your possible fear of another pregnancy and your partner’s attitude to it all. As well as letting your body and libido recover at their own rate it’s important to understand why you feel the way you do.
While you’re breastfeeding, raised levels of prolactin are produced by your pituitary gland. This is the hormone that controls lactation and also has a sedative effect. Another result of increased prolactin production is that ovulation is delayed. In the absence of an ovulation cycle, normal ovarian hormones such as oestrogen won’t peak once a month to trigger the release of an egg, and this affects your sexual motivation which is highest at ovulation.
Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for the ‘let-down’ reflex, is the same hormone that is released at orgasm, and its release during breastfeeding may make you less likely to look for sexual satisfaction with your partner. Part of the delight you take in your new baby will be sensual. The skin-to-skin contact, so vital for him, is also exquisitely pleasurable for you. This, coupled with the intense feelings of love you feel, will probably mean that you are emotionally and physically focused on your child, and on your breastfeeding relationship.
It’s a common joke that birth control in the postnatal period is mostly achieved through ‘baby interruptus’. The best way round this is to keep your baby in (or at least near) the bed with you. In this way he can still sense that you are close, and will stay peacefully asleep. Even if he does wake, you can tend to him without too much disturbance. This arrangement also overcomes the problem of sleep deprivation. A breastfed baby will want to feed more often, so, in order that this doesn’t affect your sleep too adversely, keep your baby in the family bed, or at least within reach, so you can satisfy his hunger without getting out of bed.
However well you manage your night time feeds, you may still find at the end of the day, or at any time when you can relax, that all you want to do is sleep, and that sex is the furthest thing from your mind. Obviously the best plan is to sleep when your baby does, but this may not leave much room (or desire) for sexual activity. If you and your partner feel like ships passing in the night, make ‘appointments’ to at least meet and talk, and arrange to set aside special times to get together. These times may not necessarily lead to sex, but they will set the right intent for a time when libido is restored and you feel ready to resume regular sexual activity.
©Eco Living Magazine
Eco Living Magazine presents:
Heading: Aphrodisiacs in Food
Yummy food Yummy love
With The Sacred Chef
Intro: Celebrating spring is very much about the birds and the bees, sowing seeds and enjoying the fecundity of nature. So what foods stimulate the arousal of life inside us by their essential chemical make-up and perhaps by their shape and form?
Eating well – beautiful organic food presented naturally, and eaten after some blood pumping exercise is the first step. Food tastes so much better when you have a healthy appetite for it. Don’t eat out of habit. Don’t eat the same boring thing every day. Don’t eat if you are not hungry. Food like love making is better when it is special.
Food is an essentially visual art medium, like painting it is an arrangement of form and colour on the plate. Glistening green spears of asparagus with a dollop of basil, macadamia nut and honey mayonnaise; freshly shucked oysters alive in their sea salty liquor; ripe red strawberries perfect in their natural state; a salad of warm artichoke hearts, goats cheese, fresh figs and baby spinach leaves; or a tangle of fettuccine slippery with extra virgin olive oil, cherry tomatoes, chilli and chunks of ocean trout. Each dish can be a moment of poetry, involving all the senses – what other art form do we literally consume. Let the smears on your serviette be a testament to the abundance of your life!
Food for fertility and a touch of “friskiness”
Zinc is one of the most important minerals to be aware of in relation to our libido and fertility levels. It helps maintain sperm count and levels of testosterone in men and in women; it is involved in a healthy menstrual cycle; it is vital for cell division during pregnancy. Zinc is also needed for the parts of our brains that activate our sense of appetite, taste and smell. Oysters are packed full of zinc, as are fish, green leafy vegetables, lean meats, nuts and pulses.
Organic veggies have higher levels of mineral content than those grown with chemical assistance. Why not grow your own organic veggies? Spend a weekend digging in a patch and readying the soil for sowing – you will be amazed when green things start sprouting and you will feel a quiet pride when you first serve the progeny of your garden to friends and family. The taste, (oh! the taste) will blow your mind. You get the complete package – exercise by honest toil to build appetite, pheromones from perspiration to attract the opposite sex, superior nutritional value from organic produce, and the best flesh for taste and colour.
Avocadoes were known as testicle fruit by the ancient folk in Central and South America. They are rich in phyto-chemicals and are linked to lowering cholesterol. Their creamy texture, gorgeous colour, (and reputation as an aphrodisiacal food), make them an ideal ingredient in dips, salads and wraps. Three quarters of the avocadoes, which we consume in Australia are of the Hass variety – with distinctive purple black skin and oval shape. Other varieties are the Shepard – green skin with golden buttery flesh ( and the only avocado not to turn brown once cut open), available from Feb to April; Reed – green skin when ripe, round shape, peaks in November; Sharwil – smaller pear shaped avocado with a rich nutty flavour; a winter/spring variety; and the Wurtz – a smaller winter avocado grown in Queensland. Try spreading avocado, a good local honey and cracked black pepper on some lightly toasted sour dough rye bread for a delicious and nutritious start to the day.
Tropical fruits are pretty much sexy per se; things that like to grow and ripen under the sweaty equatorial sun. Biting into beautifully coloured fruits that explode in your mouth, and send streams of juice running down your chin are experiences to surrender to. Fresh pineapple slices are particularly like eating sunshine – and of course mango is the queen of the slippery fruit affair. These fruits are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and a diet rich in them can make you feel vital and youthful.
The following is an excerpt from Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Penguin Books ISBN 9780143038412
Holy of Holies – Perfect Pizza in Italy
“Pizzeria da Michele is a small place with only two rooms and one non-stop oven. It’s about a fifteen minute walk from the train station in the rain, don’t even worry about it , just go. You need to get there fairly early in the day because sometimes they run out of dough, which will break your heart. By 1pm, the streets outside the pizzeria have become jammed with Neapolitans trying to get into the place, shoving for access like they’re trying to get space on a lifeboat. There’s not a menu. They have only two varieties of pizza here – regular and extra cheese. None of this new age southern Californian olives-and sun-dried tomato wannabe pizza twaddle. The dough, it takes me half my meal to figure out, tastes more like Indian nan than like any pizza dough I ever tried. It’s soft and chewy and yielding, but incredibly thin. I always thought we only had two choices in our lives when it came to pizza crusts- thin and crispy, or thick and doughy. How was I to have known there could be a crust in this world that was thin and doughy? Holy of holies! Thin, doughy, strong, gummy, yummy, chewy, salty pizza paradise. On top, there is a sweet tomato sauce that foams up all bubbly and creamy when it melts the fresh buffalo mozzarella, and the one sprig of basil in the middle of the whole deal somehow infuses the entire pizza with herbal radiance………”
Recipes from the Sacred Chef
A different kind of sexy is the feeling you get sliding a warmed spicy olive into your mouth.
Warmed Kalamata Olives in Infused Oil
Into a fry pan over a low heat, pour 2 tbspns of extra virgin olive, then chop up a lime & 6 cloves of garlic and a piece of ginger, a sprig of rosemary, a cinnamon quill and add this to the warming oil, before adding in 3 cups of Kalamata olives. Stir through for 5 minutes and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve on a platter.
Salted fresh pineapple is a great way to serve the tangy flavor sensation of fresh ripe pineapple.
Choose a ripe pineapple by its aroma, if you can find one that has not been too dulled by refrigeration, cut it up into bite sized pieces and lightly salt with a special sea salt freshly ground down in your mortar and pestle. Accompanied by a fresh lime soda or a cold beer — and heaven is right there on that tropical island inside your taste buds.
Fresh Asparagus Spears dipped in Basil, Macadamia Nut & Honey Mayonnaise
Whole free range egg or egg yolk mayonnaise with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard
3 Tsp honey
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh basil leaves torn
½ cup roasted macadamia nuts
1 ½ cups extra virgin olive oil drizzled in slowly.
Freshly ground black pepper & sea salt to taste.
Whizz it by hand or in the blender adding in your oil slowly as you go. Lightly steam or blanch your asparagus spears and serve accompanied by your tangy mayonnaise.
Warm Salad of Artichoke Hearts, Fresh Figs, Goats Cheese and Spinach Leaf Salad
4 Globe Artichokes Steamed Peeled and halved
3 Figs sliced lengthwise into quarters
120g fresh goat’s cheese served at room temperature
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 cups baby spinach leaves
3 Romano tomatoes sliced lengthwise into quarters
Dressing – ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Sea salt & black pepper to taste.
Begin with the warm artichoke hearts and cover them with dressing before gently arrange dobs of the goats cheese amid the figs, tomatoes, parsley and spinach leaves on a platter and lightly toss before serving.
©Eco Living Magazine.