You might have a super hot, fulfilling, “can’t get enough” sex life before you became a mom. And then, well, you became a mom—and things changed. If you are finding that sex has lost the appeal it once had, you are not alone, mama. That’s why we invited sexologist and founder and CEO of Bloomi, Rebecca Alvarez Story, to chat with us in a Motherly live on Instagram. Alvarez Story wants to normalize the conversation around sex, encourage women to become the CEOs of their bodies (yes, please!), and to help women improve sex drive and reclaim their sexuality.

Before our conversation, we asked you to send in your questions—and you had a lot (we did too). The most common concern you wanted to hear about was how to improve libido—how to bring sexy back.

The first action step is to check in with your health care provider. Sometimes low libido or painful sex can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition or injury. Remember that if you feel like your concerns are being dismissed, you can get a second (or third) opinion. “Yeah, you had a baby; it’s like that now,” is not an appropriate answer.

I know this can feel awkward, but remember that midwives and OB/GYNs talk about this stuff all the time.

Once you’ve been cleared from a medical standpoint, it’s time to explore empowering ways to boost your sex life and improve your sex drive.

Here is what Alvarez Story recommends:

Motherly: The most frequent question [we received to ask you] was: “How can I regain interest in sex after having a baby?” So, people feeling like they’re talking about their libido being just really diminished, people talking about feeling really touched out by the end of the day, and just exhausted and missing having feelings of sexual desire. This is probably a very big topic, but can you shed a little bit of light for our audience on that.

Rebecca: Yes. I want to start off by sort of acknowledging low libido as being such a common experience for moms. Especially new moms. There’s a lot of changes going on hormonally and physically, but low libido is actually the number one sexual complaint in the U.S. among women. So not only is it common among women, but then you put changes going on in our body: postpartum, raising a little human and managing things in a new way. It is extremely common to have low libido. Especially for like the first year after having a baby.

I just want to start off by normalizing that because it is a common experience, and it is to be expected. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you notice that there’s a change.

It can be really tough when you had this super passionate, spicy sex life with your partner and then things change very dramatically. It can actually be quite… difficult for people to process those two extremes, but… you can boost your libido.

What I find is that a lot of women that have low libido, one of the challenges is finding the energy or the time to be intimate. So, the coach side of me tells you, you should dedicate at least half an hour to yourself. And it doesn’t have to be sexual—but it can be time to masturbate. It’s healthy; it will give a dump of this feel-good cocktail of hormones we call it.

Things that help you sleep better, put you in a better mood, relax you, but you can also basically take that time to yourself to do a scalp massage, a foot massage, a bath, something that makes you feel good.

Motherly: It’s like, love on yourself!

Rebecca: Love on yourself!

Motherly: Whatever that means to you, you know. Love that.

Rebecca: Yeah. And self-care is an overused term sometimes, but honestly, 30 minutes for yourself a day is going to be so helpful to put you in a good mood to receive and put the energy into your sex life and intimacy.

With your partner, this can also be challenging, but scheduling time together at least one night a week, is key to making sure you have some kind of stability moving forward and that you’re growing to more intimacy overall… just carve out time with your partner. Schedule a date night—you can even call them sex nights—because the more sex you have, the more sex you want. So, it’s sort of like a snowball effect where it can build up, or it could go down. The less you have it, the less you want it or crave it, and vise versa.

Motherly: Interesting. Okay, so sex begets sex.

Rebecca: It does. It does.