It’s inevitable that certain life events will affect your sex life. You know this if you’ve ever gotten out of a long-term monogamous relationship and gone a little crazy with new partners or taken a well-deserved break from dating after cycling through the apps for too long. But some milestones are so major—like having a baby or transitioning genders—that your lifestyle and sexuality are permanently transformed, and they’re the ones that can be the scariest and most confusing.
For help navigating these situations, we consulted columnist and clinical sexologist and couple’s therapist Dr. Eve, author of Cyber Infidelity: The New Seduction and host of the #CyberInfidelity podcast (downloadable here). Ahead, some tips to steer you through the postpartum dry spell, dating etiquette as a trans woman, and how to up your odds of squirting during sex. Yea, we went there.
Q: I’m a new mom. When will my sex life go back to normal?
A: Take a deep breath as I share the news: The days when you regularly enjoyed 30 minutes of foreplay before long, lingering morning sex sessions are mostly behind you—at least for awhile. But bear with me, and you’ll see that it is possible to reframe this as an opportunity to explore your sexuality in a whole new way.
If you’re breastfeeding, your libido’s likely already taken a hit, since your body is producing libido-inhibiting prolactin (nature’s way of preventing you from having another kid too soon). And even if you’re not breastfeeding, for many women the initial hormonal adjustment and fatigue after giving birth (or having a new child join the family) is enough to kill interest in sex. Your relationship, if you’re in one, is also changing, with the new challenges and expectations of parenthood, support and domestic chores. Pregnancy and the postpartum period are high-risk times for partners to act out with behaviors like cheating or indulging in other unhealthy habits or substances to manage feelings of fear and anxiety.
Moving forward, know that you have to be much more intentional about your sexuality or you can risk losing touch with it amidst the demands of parenthood. Boundaries should begin as soon as you bring your bundle home. Prioritize your relationship and sex life once your body has healed and you’ve adjusted to the routine of caring for a baby—perhaps once you’re getting a bit more sleep. One way to do this is to keep your bed a sacred, erotic space you share with your partner(s), and not turn it into a family bed. Friends, family, and babysitters are also essential so you can grab moments of freedom when you can escape and have fun, with or without your partner.
If you feel horny and up for postpartum penetration, my advice is to forget the six-week sex boycott some doctors suggest (unless, of course, you’re healing from a challenging birth or have a specific condition, in which case, follow doctor’s orders). If all feels normal and well, trust your instincts and go for it! And don’t simply settle for time-saving quickies if they don’t satisfy you, please. If you can commit to yourself as a woman and partner independent of your baby, your sex life will eventually go back to being as healthy and active as it was before your baby.
Q: How can I increase my chances of squirting during sex?
A: If you’re intrigued by the idea of squirting, a.k.a. gushing, I encourage you to explore and experiment, but not to make it—or any other one thing, other than pleasure—your main sexual goal. Any kind of specific motivation or pressure during sex will only end up inhibiting your body’s natural arousal responses, which is obviously counterproductive.
Now that we have that out of the way, here’s my advice for conducting your squirting experiment. Find your prostate gland area (yes, women have them—they’re located between the urethra, bladder, and vagina). This super-sensitive area contains tons of nerves and can be stimulated through the front wall of your vagina using a “come hither” finger motion.
My best tip: Don’t do this until you’re already turned on and lubricated, which will make the whole process easier and more fun. Being turned on by your authentic sexuality—meaning your deepest, most uninhibited fantasies—will certainly up your odds of successfully squirting. If you get this far, have fun and be ready with towels to catch the prostatic fluid.
Q: As a trans woman, at what point should I tell people I’m dating whether I’ve had gender conversion surgery yet?
A: You’re probably very excited to enter the dating world as a woman, as you should be! But the dating world is a jungle for most everyone, and it’s important to take care of yourself and remember that you may face certain risks when entering the pool of dating/sex partners, including, unfortunately, stigma, judgment and even abuse. This means you may need to give your dating and sex life a bit more thought and planning than you might wish, and that safety is ultimately more important than sexiness or spontaneity.
Before meeting anyone, consider what type of romantic connecting you’re looking for—a hookup, friend with benefits, significant relationship, or other type of relationship—and be open about it in your online dating profile or early on in conversation in person. This may help you avoid encounters with people who won’t be open or interested in the same type of relationship you are. Do your best to subtly find out how conservative a person is and whether they’re comfortable with and open-minded about transpeople. Steer conversations to uncover prejudices or judgment so that you can gauge whether they’re safe to meet in person.
The conundrum of when to disclose highly personal information, such as the status of your genitalia, to a new person has no single, simple answer. My best advice can be distilled down to only when you feel safe. After that standard has been met, I’d say only to do it once you’re ready for sex or feel one or both of you are catching feelings. In the latter scenario, the one thing that will hurt your partner more than discovering you have a penis is the fact that you kept it secret, since secrets kill trust.
Ultimately, I advise you to confidently keep this to yourself until you feel physically and emotionally safe and the timing feels right (don’t forget to rely on your gut!). It’s your information to disclose; you don’t owe it to anyone. And when you do tell any partner, do it with confidence and womanly pride.