I'd like to say that I've become more candid since having a baby (I mean, once someone poops in your hand, all bets are off) but that would be a lie. When it comes to sex — or any other aspect of my pre-baby life — I was open, honest, and unapologetic. After all, sex is a great thing and a natural thing and when done safely, respectfully and consensually, it's a freakin' amazing thing. Which is why there are things no one will tell you about masturbation after having a baby, that I have no problem dishing about. We're all adults, right?
I credit masturbation to helping me learn to love my postpartum body, get over my irrational fear of a post-baby vagina (seriously, you guys. They're just fine. You don't "ruin" them. They're incredible body parts that "bounce back" like absolute champs.) and becoming more comfortable with the idea of postpartum sex. I had a traumatic pregnancy, labor and delivery, so feeling sexy was the last thing from my mind and, honestly, the last thing I thought I was capable of feeling (potentially ever again). It took me some time, to be sure, but a few masturbation sessions where I was able to rediscover myself, take time to focus on just myself and, you know, feel awesome was so, so clutch. I finally felt like my body, after going through so much change, was something I recognized and was connected to.
Sadly, however, our culture has yet to shed the masturbation stigma long enough to talk about a very normal part of being a sexual human being without giggling incisively like we're stuck in some middle school sex-ed class. Enter, um, me. Here are just a few things I think every postpartum woman should know about masturbation, because having a baby doesn't mean your needs go out the window. Get yours, you hardworking mom, you.
Sadly, our culture hasn't reached "peak sex-positivity" yet, so masturbation is still somewhat of a lingering taboo, "hush-hush" part of being sexually active or even sexual or even, you know, human. However, push all that aside and it doesn't take long to realize that masturbation is important, especially after you've done something as taxing as having a baby.
Turns out, orgasms can give you those feel-good endorphins that can (and probably will) assist you in stabilizing relentless postpartum hormones. Not only is it important to feel one with your body, it can actually benefit your overall mood, ease your anxiety and just help you relax during arguably one of the most stressful, exhausting, transitional moments of your life.
It's Something You Should Really Make Time For
When you become a mother, you're consistently, relentlessly told that your needs no longer matter. Instead of being reminded that you're a human being, the messaging women hear from an unforgiving culture consists of words like "sacrifice," and "selflessness" and "superhero," all encouraging women to give give give and never, ever take (or even ask to possibly take, on occasion).
However, in my short time as a mom I have realized that if I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of my son. He deserves to have a mom who is at her best and, just as importantly, I deserve to feel at my best (because I'm a human being, not a mom-machine). So, honestly, you should really put forth some effort to make time for some self-care. You deserve it. You need it. It doesn't make you a bad mom, it makes you a human being with very human needs.
It'll Help You De-Stress
Parenthood is stressful and trying to figure out what being a mom truly means for you and to you, is hard. If a few minutes of "alone time" where you can #FeelYourself makes that stress melt away (if only for a moment), I say go for it.
It Will Help You Love Your Postpartum Body
Full disclosure: loving your postpartum body isn't easy. I had a difficult time feeling like my body was mine again, and it took a while for me to look in the mirror and recognize the vessel that was carrying my exhausted brain all over the place.
Plus, while I didn't tear, I was very swollen and sore and the thought of anything going in where my baby came out, was painful. Seriously, just thinking about it hurt. So, a great way to ease into sex was to have some one-on-one time with myself. I could be in charge; I could go as slow or as fast as I wanted; I didn't have to worry about anyone else; I could stop if I wanted to, without having to even say "stop." That's the dream, you guys. That's the sexy dream.
Sometimes, It's Better Than Sex...
I mean, I'm just being honest. It's not a knock on my partner because he's wonderful and great and sex with him is magic (how do you think our kid happened?), but sometimes being the only person touching you is what the doctor ordered. I can easily incorporate masturbation into my schedule; I don't have to take anyone else's wants or needs or preferences into account; I don't have to worry about my partner and whether or not he's going to get off, and when; I can just do my business and go about my day, like a satisfied boss.
You Deserve Time To Focus On Yourself, And Only Yourself
As as parent, so much of your time is spent thinking about, dealing with, taking care of and focusing on someone else. If you're a working mother, you also have to think about your coworkers or bosses or employees or all of the above. If you're just, you know, and adult, you also have bills and family members and friends and romantic relationships; all taking up your time and energy and brainpower.
So, if masturbating makes you stop and think about yourself, and only yourself (and probably Chris Pratt if you're, you know, me), that's honestly the best self care you could give yourself. It's cheaper than a spa or a trip to a secluded island off some remote coast, and I'd argue the pay off is much more enjoyable (even if it only lasts a few seconds).
It's Something You Should Never, Ever, Apologize For
There's absolutely no reason why you should ever apologize for taking time to care for and love yourself (and give ourself multiple orgasms). Nope. Never. This isn't middle school anymore; you should know that masturbation isn't something to be ashamed of or apologetic about. Own it, mama.
If You Need (Or Want), It Can Restore Your Libido
Every woman feels differently postpartum, so I won't go so far as to say that every woman is completely turned off from even the idea of sex (for at least a while) once she has had a baby. However, a good majority are.
I was severely touched out after I had my kid and I was ready for some body autonomy, to the point that I didn't want anyone touching me. Ever. I was breastfeeding my kid on demand and spending all day with him and the constant skin-to-skin contact made any advances from my partner unwanted, at best. Masturbating, however, helped me not only get over that mental block, it restored a dried out libido thanks to fluctuating postpartum hormones. Orgasms truly are magic, you guys.
It's, You Know, Fun...
I mean, this is really all you need to know. It's kind of the best, you guys. You can literally make yourself feel awesome whenever you want (in an appropriate setting, of course).
...And Pretty Easy To Fit Into Your Schedule
Unlike having to check in or plan a time to have sex with someone else (because consent consent consent) you can simply masturbate whenever you have the time and/or a few minutes alone. After all, you're a busy mom now. Time for sex? Ha. Ain't nobody postpartum got time for that.