It's hard to talk bad about sex because, well, I'm a fan. I love having sex, I'm a sex positive person so I think safe, respectful and consensual sex is never a bad thing, and sex is the reason why I have my son (and can enjoy the occasional, mind-numbingly awesome orgasm). I mean, who doesn't love sex, right? Still, even the best things come with a few downfalls, an undeniable fact so many women realize the first time they have sex after having a baby. Turns out, there are things no one actually likes about postpartum sex; things even I, the sex-loving, sex-positive feminist, couldn't talk emphatically about because, well, they were a pain in my exhausted, postpartum ass.
I had a hard time learning to love my postpartum body, so sex with my partner was awkward, somewhat uncomfortable, made me hyper-aware of all the changes my body had experienced and, you know, hurt. Coupled with exhaustion, fluctuating hormones and more sleep deprivation, and postpartum sex wasn't always my idea of a good time. It took me a while to even feel sexual, or feel like sex was worth the effort, so when I did have postpartum sex with my partner there were certain aspects of our happy-fun time that I didn't necessarily like. At all.
Of course, I wasn't "forcing" myself to have postpartum sex. If sex isn't consensual, it isn't sex, and I was definitely a willing participant because I wanted to feel close to my partner again (and I wanted to have an orgasm). Still, there were parts of the process that just weren't enjoyable, and I think it's important that we talk about those parts because, well, high expectations about sex are the surest, quickest way to find yourself sexually disappointed. So, with that in mind, here are just a few things I definitely didn't like about postpartum sex, that I'm sure most mothers don't necessarily appreciate, either.
How Painful It Can Be
Postpartum sex is different for everyone, but I definitely didn't appreciate how painful it was the first few times. In fact, the first time I had sex after I had a baby, I had to stop midway through because I just couldn't take it anymore.
Eventually, that pain went away and everything went back to normal (actually, better than normal) but no one likes being in pain or experiencing an amount of discomfort that makes sex anything but enjoyable.
How "Dry" It Can Be
Thanks to changing and fluctuating postpartum hormones, you'll probably find yourself to be a little "dry" in your nether regions, so bring the lube. Seriously. Bring. All. The. Lube.
That lube will make the "dryness" of postpartum sex a non-issue, but no one really likes that part or the necessity of lube (I would argue). Some men take it seriously (don't) and some women find it to be embarrassing (please don't) and it can create a potentially awkward situation (it shouldn't). It's a normal part of the postpartum sex process, I assure you.
How Self-Conscious You Feel
Not every postpartum mother is going to feel this way so, again, it's all relative and every postpartum sexual experience will depend on each and every person and the relationship they share with their partner.
I, personally, wasn't the biggest fan of my postpartum body. Not right away, anyway. While I was still in awe of all my body did and was continuing to do, I also had a hard time coming to terms with the changes my body had experienced and lasting affects of pregnancy, labor and delivery. So, those first few postpartum sexual escapades were kind of awkward, because I felt awkward. It's hard not feeling comfortable in your own skin, and while I was willing to have sex with my partner, I didn't like that feeling self-conscious was part of the process. At first, anyway.
Basically, That It Feels Like Your Losing Your Virginity All Over Again
I don't know about you, dear reader, but I didn't have the best time when I lost my virginity. The first time I had sex, ever, was very awkward and super uncomfortable and a little painful and way too quick and didn't benefit me, sexually, in any way; other than I could now say I had sex (a big deal when you're in high school, apparently).
That's basically how postpartum sex feels, and it's not all that endearing or desirable. Just like losing your virginity, postpartum sex does get better the more you have it, so have no fear. Just because the first few postpartum sexual encounters were enough to get you thinking about celibacy, doesn't mean the sex can't improve. It can, I assure you.
How Much Time It Can Take
Because postpartum sex can be painful and uncomfortable, it's best if you go slow and take your time. Then again, as a new parent, you don't really have that much time. If you're trying to get a quick sex session in before the baby wakes up from a nap or for a night feeding, you don't have all night to ease into sexy time.
Plus, you're busy. You have shit to do so (if you're anything like me) you kind of want to get the show on the road. I love sex as much as the next person, don't get me wrong, but there's something to be said for a quickie. Usually that "something" is "they're awesome."
How Tired You Are During
You haven't been sleeping consistently (maybe at all) and you're adjusting to this brand new life and you're trying to keep up with every other responsibility you have as an adult — while simultaneously dealing with the new responsibilities of parenthood — and you're just exhausted. Throw some sex into the mix and you might not even fee like you have the energy for it.
Then again, a good orgasm can definitely wake you up, so maybe being tired during your postpartum romp in the sack isn't the worst thing. I'd take a feel-good tingle in my lady bits over a shot of expresso, any day.
How Often You'll (Probably) Be Interrupted
Whether it's a toddler coming into your bedroom five minutes after you were able to get the baby down for a nap (finally), or a late-night cry for some milk a few moments after your baby fell asleep, you're bound to be interrupted a few too many times. It's the most annoying, the most frustrating and it will definitely make it somewhat difficult to get (or stay) in the mood. Welcome to parenthood, folks.
How Quiet You (Probably) Have To Be
Full disclosure: I'm loud when I have sex. I'm loud and I'm a talker and I make no apologies. However, I can't necessarily be very loud when there's a baby (and now a toddler) in the house, and I very much like it when that baby-turned-toddler sleeps through the night or during his daily nap.
Sometimes it can be sexy to try and remain relatively silent when you're having sex. Other times, however, not so much. It all depends on the person, of course, but having to keep your sex-life essentially hidden from the other human or humans you share a home with, can be exhausting.
How Frequently You Have To Check In With Your Partner
I think it's important to check in with your partner regularly during sex, because positions change and so do sensations and when someone isn't feeling good or wants something to stop, they should feel like like they have the freedom to voice whatever it is they're feeling.
Having said that, sometimes the constant "checking in" can make sex feel more like a job than, you know, sex. I was so appreciative of my partner and how concerned he was for my wellbeing and/or how I was feeling, but the questions didn't have to be constant or frequent. When you have a safe, respectful and consensual sexual relationship with someone, you know you can say something if you need to. No constant questions necessary.
Still, You're Having Sex, So Even When It's A Struggle, It's Fun
Sex is life pizza. If it's safe, consensual and respectful, it's never "bad," per se. I mean, you can definitely have some "bad sex" (trust me, I have) but it's a lot like a solid slice of your favorite pizza pie in that even the worst slice you've ever had is better than, you know, a salad.
So hang in there, dear reader. Postpartum sex can be awkward and uncomfortable and even a little painful, but it does get better. While you are never, ever, obligated to have postpartum sex (or any other kind of sex), if you want to and feel up to it, the more sex you have the better it will eventually get. Trust me.