These were the responses I got when, at six weeks pregnant, I first started asking more experienced people in the scene how they handled being kinky with small children. It was, to say the least, a fairly disheartening response.
In my arrogance I wrote them off as older and therefore a different generation. Our generation had grown up with Madonna and Will and Grace. Sex and a baby? No problem! Kinky sex and a baby? Other than not letting the flogger hit the crib on your back swing, what was the big deal?
Eighteen months later, I understand. Being a parent is hard. Being a new mom who values sex in a world that constantly sends the message that sex should be the last thing on my mind is harder. Trying to keep the kinky spirit alive has been hardest of all.
The cultural narrative about motherhood in our society is absurd. Our job is to take care of our infants, find fulfillment in diaper changes, and our husbands are supposed to stand back and not get in the way. The worst thing I ever did for my sexuality was buy into that message for a short time.
Weight gain in the postpartum period, stretch marks, not showering in two days, bags under the eyes from lack of sleep, and breast milk stains on my t-shirt do not make me feel sexy. That my husband wants a fuck? Shocking!Attending a new mom support group, the topic of sex came up, but not exactly in a sexy way…
"My husband is sleeping in another room so that Baby and I can share our bed and I can breastfeed throughout the night."
"Wow, I wish mine would."
I grew more uncomfortable as the discussion devolved from there into a partner-bashing session. Noticeably absent from this group were single moms and lesbians, making me wonder if I was in the right new mom group. Online the discussion was a little more open and diverse, thanks to anonymity of the Internet. There was a much more frank discussion about vaginal dryness, vaginal pain, and lack of desire. Lube was discussed freely, and hand jobs and blowjobs were suggested to those women who were not interested in vaginal intercourse.
But the truth was immutable…new moms are tired, and sex requires effort.
As a kinky mom, my relationship with my newborn daughter reminded me of BDSM…and not in the fun way. I nicknamed her the Little Mistress, and it wasn't just in jest. We were unquestionably in a 24/7 relationship, and I was her service submissive. The problem was that I've never gotten off on service submission, and my daughter wasn't into any sort of positive feedback.
Reclaiming myself as a sexual being has required large-scale rejection of cultural norms. Giving myself permission to be sexual. Putting sex on the calendar. Forcing myself to put on lingerie when I'd prefer a tank and yoga pants.
One of the most difficult issues I have struggled with are the scars pregnancy has left on my body, and on my psyche. Weight gain in the postpartum period, stretch marks, not showering in two days, bags under the eyes from lack of sleep, and breast milk stains on my t-shirt do not make me feel sexy. That my husband wants a fuck? Shocking!
Not all of the scars my pregnancy has left are physical. There was a period of time where I lost my joy—in my child, in my marriage, in the things (sexual and not) that usually give me pleasure. I did everything a new mom is supposed to—I changed diapers, I played with my daughter, I ate and slept—but inside I was empty. Postpartum Depression, or PPD, affects up to twenty-five percent of new moms. I finally asked for help and began taking Zoloft, which is considered the safest antidepressant for a nursing mother. It helped with the depression, but simultaneously suppressed my sex drive, which was the motivating factor to change medications once I weaned my daughter.
Regaining one's sexuality also requires fighting biology. The body purposefully suppresses the hormones that control desire to keep you from getting pregnant again. Orgasm is more difficult to reach. This is an evolutionary response that hasn't caught up with the modern era of grocery stores…your body is trying to make sure your first child lives long enough to survive before you allow competition for food in the form of another child. Breastfeeding can extend this cycle. It has been helpful to know the biology behind this new sex drive fragility, and to make conscious choices with it in mind.
Breastfeeding requires some awareness of milk production and the breast tissue involved in it.There is a lot of conflict as to the safety of restrictive or impact play on breasts that are producing milk. I also had to think about whether I really wanted breast milk stains on my under bust corset.
Alone time is tricky.It's hard to get friends or family babysit until two or three in the morning so we can go to a strip club. My in-laws are done by 11 at the absolute latest, which is not enough time. Hiring an outside sitter requires lots of thought about what we're willing to leave out or lock up. I'm unwilling to leave it to fate to decide if information about my proclivities are broadcast to Facebook by anyone but me.
Participation in our local community has proven tricky. Babies aren't really a welcome presence at a lifestyle convention, and many have policies that completely prohibit cell phones, leaving you with no way to check up on the baby.Attending meetings requires a sitter.Depending on the organization, there may not be many other parents to connect with—TNG (The Next Generation), for example, is aimed at the 18-30 crowd and the number of parents is quite small.
Although my partner and I are non-monogamous, we effectively did become monogamous for a time with the birth of our daughter. It was a time management decision. We simply didn't have time for other partners. We know that this will change as we grow used to parenting, and find our balance. I make no apologies that only recently have I considered allowing others into the proverbial marriage bed.
In the end, my new identity as a mother has been one of the hardest adjustments of my life.It was foolish to think that I would just be me, but with a cute baby on my hip.It was hubris to think we'd be better at balancing our kink and our parenting than the parents we'd talked to. For me, it has been a lot like learning any new skill…progress is measured in weeks and months, not hours or days. There are mistakes, there is regression, and it can often be emotionally painful. Over time though, I have begun to recognize the woman in the mirror again. She's a little less showered, a lot more frazzled…but she's still kinky.
I am still me.