I am currently on bed rest, which means no sex. Yep, no sex now and probably no sex until after the baby is born and we get the OK at my six-week appointment. That's a lot of weeks without sex, you guys, so I have sex on the brain. In other words, I'm definitely spending some time thinking about the things that'll inevitably happen during that wonderful, awkward, kind of strange first attempt at sex after the six-week wait.
So, what happened? Well, the first time I had sex after my daughter was born, it was short, painful, and the baby woke up in the middle of the entire ordeal. The next time my partner and I tried to be intimate, we used lots of lube and started earlier in the evening, but I accidentally sprayed him in the eye with breast milk. Sexy AF, right? I ended up crying and feeling like crap. After my son was born, the first time my partner and I attempted postpartum sex was a disaster. I made sure the baby was fed and the 3-year-old toddler and newborn were sleeping, took time to shower and put on cute lingerie, and when I went into the bedroom I discovered that my husband was sound asleep. Grrrr. The next time we tried was pretty OK, though. No lingerie required.
Postpartum sex might feel different, might feel like a chore, or might be just plain bad. You might need some extra help, and it might feel like something you have to do. (It's not) You might have unfair expectations of yourself and your partner, too, because I know I definitely did. My advice? Take things at your own pace, communicate your needs and develop a sense of humor when things inevitably go wrong. Let's hope this time, when this bedrest is over and I have the OK to enjoy sexy time again, I take my own advice.
I'm not gonna lie, that first postpartum sex session really did hurt. In fact, it hurt despite foreplay and lube. After vaginal birth, my lady parts needed time to heal and six weeks wasn't enough.
My recommendation: Take things slow. You don't have to rip the bandaid off.
Your Baby Will Wake Up
Yep. Babies have terrible timing. They will probably wake up in the middle. If you feel like it, take a break and try again. If you are too busy laughing or feeling mortified or walking the hall with an awake baby, that's OK, too.
It'll Probably Suck
It wasn't good. At. All. It wasn't the worst sex I've ever had, but to be honest there were no orgasms for me which, you know, is the freakin' point.
You'll Stop And Try Again Later
You don't have to finish during that first postpartum sex romp. It's OK. Listen to your body and your heart. You can do it, or you can't do it. In the end and always, it's entirely up to you. Chances are, the world won't end tonight so you can try again another day.
You'll Be Dry
Get lube. Get all the damn lube, you guys. Also, take your time to get things going. It's not a race.
Inevitably, It'll Be Really Awesome
While postpartum sex has a pretty scary reputation, it can also be the best sex you've ever had. No, really. Don't be scared, there's not one way to feel about having sex and don't feel weird if you really, really enjoy it.
You'll Want Different Things
I was surprised to learn that I liked different types of foreplay, different positions, and different levels of stimulation after having babies. Some of those things were permanent, others have changed since then. Who knew?
You'll Discover Something New
My body was different, so of course sex was different. I learned so much about myself and my body while growing and birthing humans. My first postpartum sex was really, really different.
You'll Feel Insecure
I felt so insecure, especially about my tummy and my leaking breasts (with cracked, bloody nipples). At times I felt like Wonder Woman, but at other times I felt so bad about myself and the ways my body had changed that it was hard to get in the mood.
You'll Fall Asleep
Sleep when the baby sleeps, they say. OK. I wanted sleep more than sex, anyway.
You'll Decide Not To, And That's OK
There's no rule that you have to have sex at six-weeks postpartum or at all. You have a right to bodily autonomy and to consent or not to consent to sex. Communicate with your partner. Ask your provider any questions you might have about sex and birth control options, unless getting pregnant at six weeks' postpartum is something you are OK with. Don't let anyone pressure you or make you feel bad. You are in control.
Remember, there's no one size fits all answer for everyone and there's plenty of time to wait until you're ready to get some.