Not quite a year ago I was introduced to Martha Lee, the only sexologist here in Singapore and the owner of Eros Coaching. She was interested in arranging Singapore’s first women and sexuality conference. Over time, this evolved into Cozy Cot Gets Sensual, with Cozy Cot (a local website/magazine that does beauty and health, etc) acting as the sponsor/organizer.
I was asked to speak on one of my areas of professional interest, post-partum sexuality and reconnecting with your partner after a baby.
I’ve done safe sex workshops, taught sex ed to middle school students and trained with Planned Parenthood over the past 1o+ years and am currently doing online education to gain qualifications as a sex coach. Eventually, as family commitments allow, I plan to pursue a PhD in Sexology and a masters in Social Work with an emphasis on family/relationship counseling (the masters will have to wait until we’re back in the US) with the long term goal of opening a practice working with pregnant and post partum parents and their partners.
I want to help women with everything from pregnancy loss (I can attest to huge body blow my own confidence and sexuality took when I had a loss in 2007), to dealing with pregnancy trauma (especially in the wake of rape/spousal abuse…some women have triggers), to feeling comfortable expressing oneself sexually during pregnancy/relating to a pregnant partner, recovering sexuality in the post-partum period, reconnecting sexually with a partner after children, etc. There are also major changes if your family grows via adoption and/or surrogacy or through partnering an individual who already has children. I also feel like I can help men in understanding and supporting a female partner during the process, or a gay man/couple as they go through the adoption/surrogate process. Long term I’d also like to do workshops and education relating to talking to kids about sex at every age in an appropriate and positive way without shame. I sort of see it as a combination of individual counseling (which is where the masters in Social Work and the ability to take insurance will come in handy) and workshops like the one I did here in Singapore.
Unfortunately I had to miss the majority of the day–Ellie was potty training and Ravi was sick. But I did get to meet some of the other presenters, and hope to talk to them more privately and see them in action in the future.
I felt like my talk went very well. There were 500 respondents, but due to rain, only about 100 showed up, which was still quite a crowd. While a little nervous, it was nice to be in front of a room again, and comfortable (remember, I was a teacher for 5 years before Ellie). I began by talking about how biology hasn’t caught up with technology, move into how in the wake of a baby relationships often suffer as we deal with changes in identity and less time to connect, and finished with a discussion of regardless of how old our “baby” is how we can start to reconnect if we feel we’ve lost a sexual connection with our partner. I got the audience to laugh a few times, and even saw some people nodding as I made certain points. The audience was mostly female, but I saw it as a victory when I saw a man nodding when I talked about how our male partners need to feel romanced and needed as well (although obviously what that looks like is a very individualistic thing–Ravi was recently very sweet and made a great gesture by forwarding me a tweet to make sure I knew amazon had broadway albums on sale–which to me was a very loving gesture, and not every guy would see his wife making him fresh squeezed OJ as a loving gesture, but it’s one of Ravi’s favorites).
Obviously this being Singapore, I modified my talk to appeal to a straight and married audience as that’s who was in front of me. In actuality I’d like to work with individuals and couples of every orientation and family makeup (I have friends who are single moms, divorcing parents, gay couples, straight couples, and polyamorous couples and all have their own relationships to sexuality and their relationships in the wake of a child).
It felt like a wonderful moment personally and professionally. Considering it’s the first professional thing I’ve done since the website I used to write a parenting and sex column for closed last October, it felt especially rewarding. Martha and I talked about my doing some workshops for her company once the baby is born and life settles down again, which would be wonderful.
If anyone is interested in hearing more specifics or talking to me more personally about pregnancy/post-partum and sexuality you can leave a message asking me to email you, and we’ll keep it private.