You’d think that after giving birth the last thing you’d want to do is get in touch with your girly parts. But many new moms might be feeling frisky, and that 6-week wait to resume sex with your partner might seem like an absolute eternity. So what’s a girl gotta do to get off? And how soon can you masturbate after giving birth?
“If there is no laceration or episiotomy, then there really is no cause for concern and masturbation should be allowed,” OB/GYN Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, tells Romper. “Even if you’ve had a C-section, masturbation shouldn’t be a concern.”
Here’s Why Masturbation After Birth Is Beneficial
In fact, some self-pleasure might actually be very good for you, especially after giving birth. “The orgasm physiology itself is not known to be harmful, and there are many reasons to think it may be helpful in managing postpartum,” explains Nicole Prause, PhD, a sexual psychophysiologist. “For example, sexual arousal produces opioids that help manage pain naturally, and orgasm facilitates sleep, which you may need to speed up with an infant's sleep schedule!” And masturbation can boost your blood flow to your vaginal area in an effort to help mend some of the damage you might have experienced during birth. Indigo Stray Conger, LMFT CST, AASECT, a certified sex therapist in Colorado explains: “Masturbation brings blood flow to an area that could benefit from circulation in order to heal more rapidly.”
Masturbation Can Help You Emotionally, Too
And then, there are the benefits beyond the big O that can help you both physically — and mentally. “It can be emotionally healing for new mothers as it helps them become reacquainted with their bodies, maintain connections with their partners, and improve their mood,” Dainis Graveris, a certified sex educator and relationship expert at SexualAlpha tells Romper in an email. “Exploring new sensations and pleasure points is an excellent way to reclaim your sexual identity.” Not only that, but playing with yourself prior to actual intercourse can prepare you for what’s to come — literally. Graveris advises you to listen to your body during masturbation to be mindful of any parts that might still be sensitive or in the postpartum recuperation phase. That way, you can clue in your partner ahead of time so that when the time is right, sex is pleasurable… and not painful.
How To Masturbate After Giving Birth
Of course, how you masturbate is going to dictate what’s safe and what’s not. “The majority of women self-stimulate to climax in an area over the clitoral shaft, then the clitoral glans, which is fairly removed from the vaginal,” explains Prause. “However, these tissues can remain inflamed or tear during childbirth, so a good general rule of thumb in stimulating the clitoris after childbirth is just to monitor for any pain experience.” If you’re desperate to use your dildo, you might have to wait those obligatory six weeks to resume penetrative sex, even if it’s just a party of one for now. “You should likely avoid inserting anything into your vagina or anus, especially if you had tearing or an episiotomy,” she says. You can use a toy that offers clitoral stimulation only, Graviers says. “Just make sure to take things slow and stick with toys that stimulate your clit and not penetrate your vagina,” she says.
Plus, using your hands and fingers allows you to create a more intimate experience. “In general, it is best to avoid masturbating with anything other than your hand,” says Conger. “Using toys, water or any other stimulator runs the risk of not fully feeling the area you are palpating. And your hands have a high concentration of nerve endings and can give you as much sensory feedback as your vulva about how far to go.” But even if you’re hella horny, (or just want to get off quickly before the baby wakes up from their nap), try to go slow the first time you self-stimulate. “Be cautious of vigorous thrusting or deep penetration,” says Conger. “Go slow and take the time to be curious about what your body needs to feel pleasure in this post-natal state.” Just remember, masturbation isn’t always about the orgasm (although it’s definitely a bonus), but rather learning and loving other parts of your body. “Self-pleasure after giving birth should not just focus on the genitals,” says Graveris. “Allow your hands to explore other parts of your body — begin reconnecting with your body by getting a massage from your partner or enjoying a bubble bath.”
Learn How To Meet Your Own Sexual Needs Postpartum (And Not Just Your Partner’s)
Just make sure to take care of your own needs, ladies. In the study, “Exploring women’s postpartum sexuality: social, psychological, relational, and birth-related contextual factors,” researchers found that new moms were more likely to give their partners oral sex before they would masturbate. That’s all fine and good, as long as you’re getting what you need sexually as well, whether it’s by your own self-stimulation or mutual masturbation.
Ultimately, you need to listen to your own body (and your desires) before you begin trying to masturbate after having a baby. Start slowly, and if you’re scared, you can always wait a little longer. (After all, anxiety isn’t exactly sexy.) And who knows, you might discover new ways to pleasure yourself during this period that will give you a newfound appreciation of your body and all that it can do.
Hipp, L., Low, L., van Anders, S. “Exploring women’s postpartum sexuality: social, psychological, relational, and birth-related contextual factors” 2012.
Dr. Kim Langdon, MD, an OB/GYN
Nicole Prause, PhD, a sexual psychophysiologist
Indigo Stray Conger, LMFT CST, AASECT, a certified sex therapist
Dainis Graveris, a certified sex educator and relationship expert
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