Every now and then, you'll hear someone crack a joke about the idea that sex is basically a non-existent, distant dream for parents. Now, I don't think I've ever encountered a couple for whom sex after children did not require some kind of dedicated effort for various reasons. And yet the idea that one's sexuality dies the moment they give birth is completely absurd, at least as far as it being a universal rule. So I asked a group of women to share how their orgasms changed after having a baby and so many of them proved my point — "sex after baby" is neither one-size-fits all nor is it completely hopeless as a matter of course.
I was not surprised to learn that, for many of these ladies, the sex became less frequent and/or worse after they had a baby. But I was also not surprised to learn that for many others things have gotten better. I have a few theories about how this happens: some things just get better with age, and sometimes the changes that happen during childbirth can work in your favor. But I think the main reason things can get better (or worse) often comes down to teamwork. Parenting with someone is such a massive, all-consuming joint effort. When you can operate with someone so completely to make life run smoothly, that coordination branches out into other areas of your life. Conversely, if you find working together challenging, well, that's not going to make for harmonious sexytimes.
This isn't to say, of course, that if you're having physical difficulties you aren't working well together: birth and parenting can do a number on one physically, through no one's "fault." It's all very "case by case." But I'll let these mamas speak for themselves:
"Before kids, sex was my main and favorite pastime. When I first met my partner, I feel like I was basically at the top of my game. I knew what I wanted, how I wanted it, and how to get it and was zero percent shy about talking about it. Probably why I got pregnant so quickly with him — we had and still have the best chemistry out of any previous partners. Unfortunately, pregnancy stalled that out a bit (hormones are the devil and make me feel all sorts of bad). Worse, we lost our first baby and depression and sex don't mix. I got pregnant the following year, which canceled all sex for months (I was high-risk and on pelvic rest), and then I had extremely bad tearing with the birth of my son.
Basically, there was no sex for a year and a half or so, and it was the worst but the pain was worse than my celibacy at that point. When I finally got back to sex, it was... different. Painful, which I had never experienced before, and we had to go extremely slow because my, *ahem* areas were way more tender thanks to the tearing. It took a long time to get back in the groove. My kid is 4 now, and I feel like my libido is mostly back. Sex is definitely much more fun again and I'm starting to feel more in control of and in tune with my body, which is awesome. I don't know that I'll ever get back to 100 percent how it used to be, but I'm OK with my new normal now."
"For me, sex was always kinda uncomfortable/painful, especially at the get-go. But after baby... so much better! No pain, no discomfort. Sex is way better after baby."
"Before I started having kids, I was always ready to go. Now I'm still waiting to get my libido back. With my first child it took a long time — I was nursing and didn't get my period back for 14 months, and my body was just like: "NOPE I'M BUSY." Things were getting better when the second child came along and now she's 9 months and we're back to NOPE. Ask me again in a year."
"My orgasms have become stronger and more forceful. [I'm] also way more likely to have multiple. My sex life since having a third child has dwindled because I don't have any alone time and I'm scared of getting pregnant again."
"Before we would take our time leading up to sex with lots of foreplay. Now we get straight to the orgasm as quickly as possible and have lots of cuddle time after... until the baby wakes up, of course."
"Sex used to hurt. Babies stretched things out and moved things around.... so much more comfortable and many more orgasms! Unfortunately our kids make us way too tired for sex."
"Amazing, very frequent sex before first child. After the birth of our first, I was shocked and saddened to find I had zero sex drive. Still did it a few times a week, but I felt nothing. After our second child was born, my sex drive returned. I am exhausted by the time both kids are sleeping, though, so we only do it once or twice each week. We both want more, and we look forward to having more time alone together when we aren’t both exhausted and running on fumes. I’m uncomfortable in my body right now (lots of pregnancy weight), but comfortable with my husband. I feel really bad that we don’t do it more, but I’m spread thin these days. My husband understands and we joke about it, but it’s vastly less than ideal for us. We do touch intimately every night — usually I scratch his head and back, and some nights he gives me a foot massage. "
"I definitely think the sex is better now, but I'm not sure if that has more to do with just being older and better at it versus more of a "OK we have 10 minutes — focus!" sort of thing. It is much more spontaneous now — we notice the kids are both preoccupied and my husband will be like, "Uh, hey can you help me with something in the laundry room real quick?" We're much more likely to seize an opportunity now than we used to be since the opportunity isn't always there."
"In my experience it helped quite a bit. I had trouble getting pregnant with my daughter because I had such a tilted cervix. After giving birth everything kind of shifted and became more aligned. Needless to say after my second child I am very, very, very pleased."
"What’s a sex life? Three kids deep and if my husband would put away a damn dish he might get sex, [but] he is currently acting like a fourth moody teen that can’t seem to do anything but the bare minimum. It's also very hard to get out of 'mom mode' and get to 'wife mode' when I still have a 1,000 things to do and he's just sitting on the couch playing games on his phone."
"Sex is better. We can’t do it anytime or anywhere but my husband has always loved my body and seeing him still find me sexy through all of those different stages — fat, vomiting non-stop, being jiggly and smushy, being depressed and hating everything, crying, leaking milk and blood and tears and everything — and he still loved me and was attracted to me? I feel so confident! He makes me feel really sexy even when I’m not."
"After the first baby my sex drive was severely low. Even if I wanted to have sex it was like the desert down there for a good year. After the second baby it went completely opposite. I couldn’t get enough and orgasms were more intense than ever. Both pregnancies and labor/delivery were almost identical so I’m not sure what changed other than I breastfed after my second. Four years later still going strong with the sex drive."
"Pre-kid [I had an] insanely high sex drive to the point I ruined relationships because men felt it was all about sex for me. Easy to get off, and multiple orgasms per session, were the norm. I never ever had the need for lube. Since having my son [I] hardly have any sex drive and it's hard to orgasm and to even get 'in the mood.' Four years out and I fear this is just my life now."
"Breastfeeding made it really hard for me to achieve orgasm without focus, not only because of hormones, but because I love nipple play and that weirds me out while I'm still nursing. After I weaned my first baby after a year, I was having the most amazing orgasms of my life because my nips had been work horses for a year and finally got some play. My hubs was getting laid a lot. Hence second baby. Fortunately, I have a patient spouse that gives a lot, so even when nursing, we still jump on the hobby horse a couple times a week."
"I have always had a very high sex drive and it just keeps getting higher. With every baby I have with my man I want to bone him more and more. I cannot keep my hands off of him. ... Currently pregnant with my third and [we have sex] five times a week. My orgasms have become more intense after children as well. We co-sleep, him with my daughter and me with my son in separate rooms, but that doesn’t stop us. I’d have sex with him in a disgusting gas station bathroom if I had to."
"After my first baby sex was great. Sex is still good orgasm-wise after this baby, but I’m really struggling with how my body looks so it’s not as great because I’m not really that confident about my bod. The struggle."
"I think sex is better after children because you kind of don’t give a f*ck anymore. Like, you’re not worried about an imaginary cellulite dimple or that you haven’t shaven in a few days or weeks."
"It's just as good but in a completely different way. My favorite positions are total non-starters now, but I'm also enjoying positions I never did before. I can also orgasm more easily vaginally now, which was basically impossible for me before. It's great! It's like a new chapter, to be honest."
"Don't touch me. Don't ask to touch me. Don't look at me like you want to touch me. Don't ask me to touch you. Don't even dream about touching me. Just don't... I mean. I'm sort of kidding. But in all seriousness, I would much rather sleep than have sex. So for the love of all things good, let me sleep."
"After my first child I had no sex drive, our child was a terrible sleeper, and I’m fairly certain I hated my husband for the better part of her first year of life. Second baby we are both in great places and can’t keep our hands off each other. I’m only seven weeks postpartum and we definitely had sex before the six-week check up. I imagine it will slow down a bit once my maternity leave is over, but for now I’ll enjoy the ride aboard the sex express headed straight to pound town."
"Five kids later and it's scarce. Very limited. But when he crawled into bed the other night and showed interest I was ready. We are listing our house. [We'd taken] all the caulking out of showers so we were both gross, but we love each other. And he has proven time and time again that if my body isn't what it used to be, my heart and soul still are. And that is what he loves."