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14 Moms Discuss Orgasm Anxiety During Postpartum Sex

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Feeling anxiety about one's sex life after childbirth is common among moms, and it's honestly not all that surprising. In the span of a pregnancy, a body changes tremendously and pretty quickly. Hell, name a body part and there's a pretty decent chance that there's going to be some kind of change afoot (speaking of feet, mine were the size and shape of hoagie rolls!). Navigating your "new" body can be jarring, to say nothing of how you choose to enjoy that body with someone else! I asked moms to discuss postpartum orgasm anxiety, because this is a common issue and I think we can all learn from each other.

From my own experience, I don't think there's a single aspect of the postpartum period that isn't challenging. From healing to getting to know your new baby, learning how to do literally everything with another tiny human in tow to finding time to care for yourself, this period is going to test you. A lot. Like, all the time. And, on top of that, you know the stakes are high during each and every test. It's the perfect recipe for all kinds of anxiety, including anxiety about your ability to ever enjoy sex ever again.

Every body and every couple is different, but I can promise you that while this is a source of anxiety for many women and, yes, sometimes is a problem postpartum, it is not an insurmountable problem. From therapists to physical therapists to babysitters who will enable you to get out of the house and "reboot" every now and then, there's people who can help. I also think there's something to be said for hearing other people's stories. So with that in mind, here's a dose of reality and perspective and solidarity from 14 women who have been there:

"Isadora"

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"I was so nervous about sex both times. With good reason. It hurt the first several times. My husband was really sweet and would stop and we would just fool around, which was enjoyable. So I wasn't nervous about orgasms as much as I was the physical pain. I also breastfed, so it was so hard to get enough natural lubrication. Oh, yeah, and the general exhaustion. After a few tries and having a partner that never pressured me and was patient, we were back to our normal sex life by six months or so. Then, when I weaned, truly great sex returned for me because I wasn't worried about boobs leaking every time he touched them and my hormones were back to normal. I learned that all good things take time. Having and caring for a baby can set you back, but working at it helps. [It's like how] nobody expects to get a flat stomach after one workout — it takes time and some work. "

"Iris"

"After the birth of my oldest, I had zero sex drive, but it turns out I was not in a good head-space. The relationship with my ex was horrible and the thought of him touching me made me gag. I was very nervous when I had my second with my now husband. I was worried ... the same thing [would] happen again. What if it was something wrong with me? First time postpartum we took it slow and it turned out sex was great! We still go at it like high schoolers (although they're usually quickies now) and the other day we bribed our toddler with Oreos so she would stay downstairs while we "got ready.""

"Imogen"

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"What are these postpartum orgasms you speak of? I think they're a legend, just like postpartum sex! (I'm kidding... but also not, because my baby is six months old and we've had sex twice.)"

"Isla"

"I very much wanted to have sex after. I had a C-section and, like, counted down the days until we could. My now ex-husband wasn’t as enthused. We had sex once around the six-week mark. We had this issue where I would always initiate sex, even before our daughter. So I told him it would be nice if he did. It was almost a year later with lots of discussion asking him, 'Hey, is everything OK?' ... All the major holidays where you think you're going to get some came and went. New Year's Eve, my birthday, his birthday, Valentine’s Day, our wedding anniversary. If I tried he wasn’t in the mood. If he found out I masturbated he would say I should get that from him. It was so hard to understand. Finally, a full year later, he told me in therapy he just didn’t view me as a lover anymore. I was now the mother of his child and he could not see me in a sexual way at all. I was totally dumbfounded. "

[Happy to report things are good for "Isla" and her new husband!]

"Iona"

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"I don't know what I was worried about looking back, but I was extremely worried. I was convinced my vagina was going to be completely different and it wasn't. Sex was completely the same, just less frequent to start out because, hello! Newborn!"

Sarah

"I didn’t orgasm for about six months postpartum with my first. Between body changes and a very high needs baby I just couldn’t let go. I have always had a lot of trouble orgasming, but after my first I thought I never would again for quite a while. I was uncomfortable with what I looked like. My vulva changed quite a bit. I was very swollen during my pregnancy and my labia remained larger post birth and I felt gross. Every time we tried to have sex I would sit there and listen waiting for the baby to cry. And sitting and listening for a baby to cry makes it very hard to relax and be in the moment, which made an orgasm just basically impossible for me. Also my nipples were a huge part of reaching orgasm pre-baby and, well, with breastfeeding they were off-limits for a bit because of sensitivity. It took us quite a bit of time to figure out how to get me there without nipple stimulation."

"Izzy"

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"It was the last thing on my mind, to be honest. My pregnancy was so hard and my birth was so traumatic that I didn't even think about sex for months."

"Ivy"

"I wasn't worried about it after my first, mainly because I was horny right away (thank you, hormones!) and I had a C-section. So I figured I'd be OK. I was never so wrong. Sex was awful for weeks afterwards and I forced myself through it because I knew practice would make perfect. So when my second baby was born vaginally (leaving with second degree tears) I had massive orgasm anxiety. I just knew it was going to be terrible... but, fortunately, I was wrong then, too, and everything was good!"

"Isabella"

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"My husband is the first good relationship I've ever had and when I got pregnant all the insecurities that my exes had trained me to have came back with a vengeance. All through pregnancy I was convinced he thought I was disgusting and was going to start making fun of my weight (several of my exes did this). It was even worse after our son was born, because then it was like I didn't have the 'excuse' of being pregnant and I just thought I was gross. It's hard to want to have sex when you're in that frame of mind, and really hard to orgasm and I worried about our sex life. But my husband just kept reassuring me and, in time, I let go of my fears and started having great sex again!"

"India"

"I was so worried that other people would never see me as a sexual person again and that I went out of my way to psyche myself up that that wasn't true... and in the process I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a postpartum sex goddess. But between the internal pressure and the fact that I was recovering from birth, good sex took a while. It did come back though!"

"Ieesha"

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"Pregnancy sex was my superpower. I've never had better sex in my life and we were doing it all the time, so the time between birth and my six week 'clearance' was a shock to the system. I wasn't anxious but I was antsy! I needed an orgasm! When I could finally 'get back in the saddle' everything was just as good as it had been, but we couldn't enjoy as often with a collicky baby in the mix!"

"Ida"

"It was bad. I was really worried about my partner being able to connect with me again on a physical level (I knew he loved me, but I wanted him to desire me) and that made sex sort of awkward for me because I felt like the stakes were high. I found that giving myself orgasms by masturbating before sex with my partner let me relax enough."

"Ikra"

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"Lesbians don't worry about orgasms, son."

"Imaan"

"I was scared of orgasms because I was scared of postpartum, [and I was scared of postpartum] sex because I had fourth degree tearing. If you don't know what that is don't Google it, just know it's the worst kind of tearing there is. We didn't have sex for almost a year. Lots of cuddles, no humping. Thanks to physical therapy things are good now!"