One of the first questions I asked my doctor after I had my son, was when I would be able to have sex again. Honestly, while I was excited to be a mom, I was also excited to "get my body back" and use that body to have non-pregnant sex with my partner. Well, I was for a little while, anyway. Turns out, postpartum hormones are unforgiving and exhaustion is a big turn off and my desire to have sex dwindled to almost nothing. Thankfully, there are things any partner can do to make postpartum sex more appealing, and when my partner tried some of these aforementioned things on his own, I was able to remember that while I was a mother and I was exhausted and I was overwhelmed, I was also a sexual being with needs and those needs deserved to be met.
It can be difficult to feel completely comfortable and confident and sexy directly after (or even a few weeks, months and even years after) you have a baby. I know that while I was in awe of my body and everything it had accomplished, I was also somewhat unfamiliar with it, now that it had been changed by pregnancy, labor and delivery. I wasn't as in tune with my body as I usually was, and I definitely wasn't as confident in it (especially when there weren't any clothes on it) than I had been pre-baby. All of those changes, plus hormone fluctuations and a dropping libido and new-mom exhaustion, made postpartum sex seem, well, less than ideal. I wanted to have sex, because my partner is wonderful and sex is fun, but I just couldn't bring myself to put in the effort. I just seems like too much.
There are things any partner can do, though, that can make a postpartum mom consider sex on a more frequent and regular basis. Of course, this isn't about pressuring women to do something they're not ready, willing or able to do. No one should be forcing anyone to do anything. However, there are ways to alleviate other stresses or talk about postpartum sex in a specific way that makes it less stressful, less taxing and, in turn, way more appealing. Here are just a few:
They Refuse To Pressure You
Nothing turns a woman off like pressuring her to do something she isn't ready, willing or able to do. Sex isn't sex if it isn't consensual, so trying to guilt anyone into sex isn't just a downright horrible thing to do to someone, it's dangerous and wrong and unhealthy. Every woman is and should be in the driver seat when it comes to the choices she makes with and for her own body. Some women are ready to have sex even before it's medically safe to, and waiting for that six week postpartum mark to hit is the worst. Others take much, much longer to feel comfortable enough (or awake enough or sexual enough or safe enough) to have sex with someone else. It's entirely up to that particular woman and trying to forcer her to have sex before she's ready is just gross.
They Don't Make It A "Big Deal"
Sometimes, having a "count down" and waiting impatiently can put pressure on the entire situation and all people involved. Don't make postpartum sex into some big deal or some milestone or, well, anything other than sex. I mean, you've done it before, since you have a new baby and all, and you'll do it again (if you want, of course). Putting postpartum sex on a pedestal can be a huge turn off.
They Alleviate Other Day-To-Day Worries
For me, postpartum sex wasn't always on my "to do" list, because the rest of that list was already packed. By the time I could have sex, if I wanted, I was just too damn tired. I mean, you're not getting any sleep because the baby is up every two or three hours and you're working or you're cleaning the house or you're making food and doing laundry and dishes and running errands and trying to adjust to a new life with a new baby. It can be overwhelming.
If you want to make postpartum sex more appealing, do other stuff around the house that alleviates stress. Make a dinner or do the dishes or fold laundry or clean and, well, when your partner isn't exerting her energy on the aforementioned, she can turn her attention to you.
They Do Their Research
There are some things every partner needs to know about postpartum sex that could make having it no only easier, but less stressful for all involved. Knowing about the possible hormones changes, libido changes, and changes to the vagina can make a difference. I mean, your partner has been through enough already, she shouldn't have to stop and explain all the ways her body has changed and how, in turn, those changes can have an impact on postpartum sex. Do your research, ladies and gentlemen. Your partner will thank you for it.
They Don't Prioritize Their Needs Over Your Comfort...
Postpartum sex can be painful, so your partner's comfort should, truthfully, trump any desires you may or may not have. If your favorite position is hurting her, that's a no. If you need to go longer than she can stand, too bad so freakin' sad. If your partner stops being comfortable and is in pain (and doesn't want to proceed because of that pain) the sex should stop. No whining. No guilt. Nothing but complete consideration for your partner, who is trying to navigate a new body and the lasting side effects of labor and delivery.
...So They Let You "Call The Shots" (If They're Comfortable)
I can confidently tell you that, for me, listening to my partner tell me that anything I needed or wanted (in the bedroom), I had, was so helpful. I mean, obviously our sex was consensual and I wouldn't do anything that would make him feel violated or uncomfortable, but when he essentially said I could "call the shots," in order to make sure the sex was as comfortable for me as possible, I was more inclined to have it.
They Don't Frame Postpartum Sex As A "Chore" Or Something You Have To Do For Them
Painting postpartum sex as something we "had" to do or something that I somehow owed my partner, was never an option because, honestly, there's nothing sexy about turning sex into some line on a list I check off every day. Yes, sometimes we "scheduled" sex, but only when we really wanted it. It was never an obligation or part of some "duty." Nope. No no no no no.
They Come Prepared
Lube. Definitely find yourself some lube.
They Don't Hold You, Or Postpartum Sex, To Certain Expectations
Honestly, postpartum sex can kind of feel like you're losing your virginity all over again. I don't know about you, but the first time I had sex was absolutely horrible, because I had built it up in my head (and didn't know anything) and it was made to be this "big deal." Don't do that to postpartum sex. Don't fill your head with unrealistic expectations, because you'll only be disappointed when you and your partner don't fulfill them. It's just sex, you guys. Just sex.
They Embrace, Respect And Adore Your Postpartum Body
For me, nothing made me feel sexier than listening to my partner go on about my postpartum body. While I appreciated the times he said it looked nice, what I really loved was hearing him talk about how powerful and capable my body was. "I can't believe your incredible body did something so miraculous," was a thing he told me a few weeks after our son was born, and I was dangerously close to crying after hearing something so sweet. Well, close to crying and close to jumping his bones, but, well, I wasn't allowed to do that just yet.