Sex, though something I enjoy, isn't something that I talk about all that often. It's not that I'm a "prude" or that I think talking about sex is dirty, because I'm not and I think talking about sex is healthy. It's just that I keep my personal life, you know, personal. So when I started to feel physically ready to have sex again after giving birth, I was nervous. No one seemed to talk about postpartum sex, so I had to find my own way "back into bed" and rather blindly. That's why I'm here; because there are things no one will tell you about postpartum sex but I will, because being left in the dark, for me, was oddly enlightening in a round about and somewhat difficult but eventually helpful way.
I didn't expect sex to feel like it did before I had kids. I knew it would be different, I just didn't know how. It felt sort of like my first time all over again, if I'm being honest. I was nervous and I didn't know what to expect from myself or my partner. Although sex can be better after baby, it's not going to be immediately amazing and, honestly, it may take some time to get back to feeling like your "sexy" self.
The changes our bodies go through during pregnancy and birth are incredible, sure, but they inevitably change a bit. Our emotions, our mentality, our entire life is different after we have a baby change as well, so physical changes are not the only manifestations pregnant women endure and get, for lack of a better sentiment, "used to." A different body, a different meaning, and different circumstances all mean that postpartum sex is going to be a different intimate experience. Yes, it can and will still be an amazing experience, but it probably won't be the same as it was before.
Part of finding your way back into bed is understanding some of the ways that postpartum sex might be different. So, in the spirit of sharing secrets, here are ten things no one will tell you about postpartum sex, but I will. You're welcome.
You Might Not Feel Physically Up To It For A While...
If you had a vaginal birth (and even if you didn't, because you're still going to feel uncomfortable and in pain), it's going to take some time for your body to heal.
If you had an episiotomy, you're going to be especially aware of exactly how sensitive your body is, and having sex, well, isn't going to sound all that appealing for a while. Give your body time to heal.
...Or You Might Feel Up To It Pretty Quickly
On the other hand, perhaps your mind will be ready to get in between the sheets long before your body is physically prepared. Trust me, I get it. Again, let your body heal before you have sex and listen to your doctor and/or midwife. They're not trying to ruin your sex life, I promise. They're trying to take care of you.
Sex After Baby Can Be Painful
Even after you've been cleared for sex by your doctor, the first time is still going to hurt a little. Sorry, there's just no way around it. It's not horrific pain or anything, but it is a little uncomfortable. It might take some time for your body to adjust to having sex again, so don't get discouraged if your first time back in bed isn't quite as, um, sexy as you thought it would be. Also, lube.
The Pain Should Eventually Subside
I promise the pain does go away eventually. Exactly how long that takes is different for everyone, but in my experience, practice makes perfect and the more you practice, the better your body will adjust. Have fun.
You Might Not Feel Mentally Or Emotionally Up To It
After I had my first son, I was mentally and emotionally ready to be with my partner much quicker than I was physically ready. However, with our second, it was a very different story. Having a baby is, you know, a big deal. It changes your life in so many ways, and sex can definitely still be an equally amazing part of that life, but it might take some time to get in the mode for sex again. Take your time, mom.
It's Hard To Find Time For It
So, babies are pretty needy. I mean, they need you pretty much every minute of ever hour of every single day, which can obviously throw a wrench in a couple's plans to get some alone time. You might have to get creative with your intimacy, and take advantage of any windows of opportunity that your baby gifts you with. There's no shame in this game.
You Probably Won't Have It As Often As You Did Before You Had A Baby
Even if you do find the time for it, the odds are that you're going to be pretty exhausted. Most parents are so sleep deprived that a quick nap sounds a lot more alluring than an actual quickie. In this case, quality is better than quantity. Just because you might not have sex as often as you once did, that doesn't mean that it's any less important in your life.
Your Body Might Do, Um, Weird Things
If you're breastfeeding, your breasts might leak during sex. It's a little weird, but it's perfectly normal and your partner should be flattered, rather than grossed out because it's ultimately an indication that you're enjoying yourself.
Your orgasm might feel different, too, maybe even better than before. Sex in general is also probably going to feel different, especially if you had your baby vaginally. Also, if you're worried that your vagina won't ever be the same after giving birth, don't because it will return to its normal state eventually, but it's going to take a little time.
You Still Need Birth Control
You can get pregnant if you're breastfeeding, so don't believe the rumor that you can't. In fact, you can get pregnant as soon as you ovulate for the first time after giving birth, which can happen quickly. The term "Irish twins" exists for a reason. It's used when a mother has kids who are less than a year apart in age, which means that she got pregnant very quickly after she gave birth. How you want to space your kids out is obviously up to you, but if you're not in the market for kids close in age, consult your doctor about a birth control method.
You Shouldn't Feel Obligated To Hop Back Into Bed Before You're Ready
If you aren't physically or emotionally ready to have sex again, don't. Your partner shouldn't pressure you to have sex before you're ready ever, but especially after you've just had a baby. I get that women are inundated with this idea that we're supposed to turn into "MILFs" after we have kids, that we're supposed to play the role of some sexy housewife who wants to jump her partner's bones five minutes after giving birth. Please, don't buy into it. Have sex when you are ready, no matter how long it takes for you to feel ready. Your partner should support you, not pressure you.
I promise that the wait it worth it. Sex after a baby is different, yes, but it's still pretty damn amazing.