Name: Tynan Rhea
Workshop: Trimester 4 Stream: Pleasure after Kids
What's your go-to gift for a friend having a baby?
Sex-positive sex ed books for kids or body-positive puberty books for kids that are transgender and non-binary gender identity conscious. There is an amazing library of kids book on the Come As You Are website. I could thumb through those books for hours! Sometimes even I learn a thing or two, and I think about sex all the time.
What's something that you think there's too much attention on the birth world?
When penetrative sex starts happening again. If you look at the scientific research on sexuality postpartum the vast majority are obsessed with when people start having penetrative sex again and whether or not it's painful. This is also reflected in the articles I read online and it's super disheartening: why aren't we talking about pleasure? Sex is so much more than penetration. Intimacy is so much more than sex. Relationships are more than just sex and intimacy. If sex isn't pleasurable, what's going on?
What's your best advice when it comes to sex postpartum?
Assuming you want to have sex (or want to want to again), finding the hotness in scheduled sex is a complete game changer. For a lot of folks that can sound like a lot of pressure, which is definitely not hot, but there's ways to work-up to it so that the anticipation of a sex date is exciting, not anxiety-provoking. Glenda Corwin described it best in her book Sexual Intimacy for Women: A guide for same-sex couples— when you first start dating someone, it might feel like you're having all kinds of spontaneous sex, but you're actually having loads of scheduled sex. You plan a date night, you think about it all week, you fantasize about what might happen, maybe you masturbate thinking about it, and then the day finally arrives and you've done all this foreplay leading up to it, and surprise, you have hot seemingly spontaneous sex.
For postpartum folks it's not quite that simple. Breastfeeding, feeling touched out, sleep deprivation are all real and can definitely impact our energy for sex. But a lot of people think sex is spontaneous and now that they have a baby spontaneity goes out the window, ergo, sex goes out the window. If you want to have sex postpartum, this doesn't have to be the only story.
If you don't want to have sex and you wish people would get off your back about it (literally?) that's a legitimate and valid choice too. If you have partners who want sex with you and you don't want it or vise versa, and you still want to stay together and make it work— that's something else entirely. My best advice for that scenario is finding a good sexual health counselor or couples therapist that is experienced in this area.
What excites you the most about being a presenter at 4 Trimesters first conference?
I love getting talk with people in person, I love talking about sex, and I love hearing people's stories about their personal journeys. I feel so privileged to be able to do the kind of work I do, and it's truly an honour that people would invite me into their lives during such a difficult time with such a loaded topic. I don't take that lightly, but I'm comfortable sitting in discomfort because I believe in the places it can take us.