Traditionally, after childbirth, moms will go to their care provider for a six-week postpartum visit to ensure they are healing properly. For many women, this appointment usually signals two very big things: the prescription of birth control (because oh
hell no is that happening again for a while) and whether they will get the green light to resume sexual activity. Depending on the new mom in question, this can feel like a glorious permission, or a sentencing. After all, there's a lot moms wish they knew about sex after baby before they actually give it a whirl.
Certainly, for mothers who have given birth, physical changes (and, let's be honest, traumas) can make
jumping back into the sack a complicated or even scary process. Even for parents who didn't deliver a child, having a new baby (and all the sleeplessness, energy, and mental focus that's required) can shake up one's love life; to say nothing of the psychological twists and turns of undergoing a major life change. In short, sex almost certainly isn't the first thing one is thinking about after becoming a parent, yet it never-the-less often remains an important aspect of any relationship.
And here's the thing: most new moms know all this
before they even know how exactly things are going to go for them and their partner, postpartum. The unknown, therefore, creates a lot of potential stress. Similarly, you never know what you don't know, and that unknown can take you by surprise when you do make your first attempt to "get your groove back."
So what do moms wish they'd known about postpartum sex? A lot.
"That the first few times feels like actual knives in my vagina. No matter how much lube. I seriously was doing rhythmic breathing just to keep from screaming."
"Wait, [sex after baby]
something people actually do? Not an urban myth? I'm kidding .... but you can chalk it up to zero desire post baby to do anything more than go to the bathroom." "Esermalda" The first time after healing up, I felt like I was a virgin and it was not pleasant! [But] also, yes, your vagina does tighten back up even after pushing a baby through it and sex eventually will be good again. Shasta
"It's going to be a chore for a while. A painful chore. That you would rather sleep instead of do. But you do it anyway, hoping each time is going to be the time it gets good again."
the non-baby-haver in my marriage, I will say I honestly expected seeing my wife hatch a person to freak me out and require some time to regroup from. It was actually the coolest thing ever and it definitely made me see her body in a different (more awesome) way. I was ready to roll whenever she was, but I was surprised by how little I minded waiting. Maybe because I've heard guys complain about having to wait, I expected that waiting period to be really hard ... in reality, I felt like it was my duty to let my wife call the shots about when she was comfortable and what she was comfortable with. So it ended up working out naturally this way for us, but it would have saved me a lot of anxiety as a partner to know that it's less daunting if you allow it to be incremental and both take the necessary time to get used to re-sexualizing a body that was just a badass machine." Elise Your boobs are no longer an erogenous zone if you are a breastfeeder. I always wanted a shirt akin to what they put on blind people's guide dogs, 'CAUTION: Working Breasts, Please Do Not Pet.' "Becky"
"Just....LUBE. So much lube. ALL THE LUBE. My vagina made it through the birth totally unscathed thanks to [the c-section] but the hormones just f*ck up everything. I was so dry for so long. I really did not get my groove back for a year, and it's still not what it was."
"After both kids, it hurt the first several times. Really unpleasant. Also, for me breastfeeding killed my libido and sex was
just a bone I threw at my husband every once in a while. It took a very long time for me to desire sex and to get into it." "Matilda" After my initial recovery period it actually got way better than before childbirth. Things just fit together better. Dakota
"Physically, I was mostly fine to bone (except a granuloma and a hairline tear...yuck.) Mentally, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of putting something into my vagina that had made something come out of my vagina. I closed up shop for a few months."
"The first time my husband and I had sex after my c-section we still refer to as 'The Night of the Sandpaper Vagina Incident.' I figured a c-section would mean things would be fine down there. Nope! Despite lube and gentleness things were so bad we had to stop not long after we'd begun. It was so painful, but the next time it was better and pretty soon we were back into the swing of things. But that first experience led me to be really scared after the birth of our second, especially since I had a vaginal delivery and second degree tears. Miraculously, that felt
totally fine, despite the fact that I'd pushed a huge baby out of there mere weeks before. Go figure." Brandi Even [if] you had a C-section it's still painful. I was dry and lube didn't make a bit of difference. Jillian
"After my first it was hard to find any pleasure for at least a year postpartum. Things just didn't seem to fit the way they used to. After my second, things magically shifted again, and our sex became
way more pleasurable. I Googled afterward in my, 'How the hell did that just happen?' haze and found that it isn't uncommon to be gifted with a shift of angles after baby." "Gloria"
"I didn't realize my [hormonal birth control] was suppressing my sex drive until I had it removed and then I was like a dog in heat. [My partner] was getting exhausted and for, like, 2 cycles all I could think about was sex. It would have been nice to have been warned about the suppression and then the intense rebound."
"Rosie" That I would have to be proactive about getting back into the swing of things. It doesn't happen on its own. But that once I put in effort things would be good again. "Jasmine"
"In the beginning it wasn't pleasant. Breastfeeding hormones = dry vagina. Also, milk comes out your boobs,
but that can be fun. But [after I was done breastfeeding and hormones got back to normal]: that it's so much better! Infrequent, because you're so f'ing tired, but babies rearranged something in there apparently and HOLY COW g-spot." "Gilda"
"Birth trauma — physical and otherwise — would make it impossible to resume what had been our normal sex life for a while, much longer than either of us would have liked. Even when I was ready mentally, things were physically difficult and required creativity and for us to re-imagine what constituted 'sex.' Ultimately, this was a good thing, though! Because now intimacy doesn't just have to be 'p in v' to be 'sex' for us. (And the 'p in v sex' is better, probably because we're getting more creative.)"
Lauren I had the opposite experience with breastfeeding and my boobs [compared to many other women]...they became even more erogenous for me, which made me feel really weird (considering I was feeding a baby with them and that is NOT erogenous) and also made me very conscious of pumping right before sex so as not to have anything too crazy happen. Also, after the first couple times, it can become even better than before baby and your sex drive can actually increase. Britt
"That it would be a while before I actually wanted it, but when I was ready and back to myself it was actually better."