Postpartum sex will be different than pre-baby sex, that's pretty much a given. But what if it's just plain bad? How long do you let bad bump-and-grind continue before you do something about it? Sex is certainly a sensitive topic and you probably don't want to bruise your partner's ego. You also probably want to stay together. This is why knowing how to tell your partner postpartum sex isn't good, without totally destroying them, is an important skill to master.
Generally speaking, postpartum women can have sex at the six week mark, according to Web MD. To be clear, this healing time is the bare minimum and possibly not even the norm. Recent research out of the University of Michigan found that child birth is one of the most traumatic events the human body can undergo, and 15 percent of women sustain pelvic injuries that don't heal. It was likened to an athlete running a marathon. So if sex is bad postpartum it could mean a couple of different things and not necessarily that your partner is horrible in bed. For starters, it could be a signal that you're still healing and you both need to have patience. It could also mean you both need to be open to making adjustments and modifications in your sex life either temporarily or permanently.
It all starts with talking about how you're feeling. "Many people are hesitant to reveal their deepest sexual thoughts and desires out of fear of rejection or ridicule," Dana B. Myers, founder of Booty Parlor, author of The Mojo Makeover: 4 Weeks to a Sexier You, and mother of 2, tells Romper. "So be patient, and listen without judgement so your partner feels free to be an equal player in the discussion."
To get you moving (and grooving) in the right direction, here are seven ways you can start to tell your partner that you're not feeling postpartum sex.
1. Reinforce The Positive First
If you're in a long-term relationship and want to keep it that way, you might try staying with the positive.
"Always be mindful to lead with positive affirmations — you can't compliment your partner too much or too often during this conversation — and even more importantly, avoid using the word, 'but,'" Myers suggests. She cites an example such as:
"I love the way we (insert answer from What’s Great), because it makes me feel like you know my body so well, and, I want to (insert positive suggestion from What Could Be Better)."
This way, you get more of what you like and less of what turns you off (without making your partner feel horrible).
2. Deliver Straight Talk If Needed
If trying to stay positive doesn't work and your partner is still doing things that make you cringe, you might have to deliver some straight talk.
"Postpartum sexual satisfaction is important — it benefits your marriage and your baby as well," David Ezell, clinical director and CEO of Darien Wellness, tells Romper. "Tell your partner what you need and be specific."
Thankfully, there are still ways to phrase your sex specifics in a non-ego-bruising way. Myers suggests using the phrase "we do" instead of "you do" to avoid placing blame. For example you could try:
"I love how I orgasm when I'm on top, however this (insert particular move) we do is no longer giving me pleasure. I'd love to try (insert alternative) next time we make love. Are you up for it?"
3. Try Exploring Together
Things that used to feel good, may not postpartum. It's a good idea to listen to your new body and find new things that might feel good if you're in the mood. Trying sex positions that put you in control are a good place to start, as suggested by Women's Health, because you'll be able to control speed, level of penetration, and comfort. Don't forget that oral sex, side-by-side masturbation, and sex toys are good options too for those that feel penetration is still too much in the postpartum phase.
4. Explore On Your Own
If you don't masturbate regularly, now may be the time to give it a whirl. Sex therapist Vanessa Marin told Bustle that women should explore with different types of strokes, pressures, and speeds (if you're using your hand). Each time you try something you should try to keep a mental list of what felt the most pleasurable and what didn't. Once you know what turns you on, then you'll be able to effectively tell your partner.
5. Do Not Fake It
There are so many reasons women fake orgasms and most of it has to do with the current culture's attitudes surrounding sex. For one, women tend to perform sex, rather than feel it because they're feeling like they have to measure up to what they've see on TV or in porn, according to Psychology Today. Additionally, if the partners are in a heterosexual relationship the women often feel as if their partner's pleasure is a given and theirs isn't important, hence more faking orgasms. Pretending pleasure doesn't help anyone.
6. Request A Time Out If Needed
Your postpartum body may need more time to heal for anything to feel good. You should be able to take the time you need to heal without feeling bullied or coerced into sex by your partner. If that means taking a break from anything sexual, that should be fine because intimacy can be experienced in so many ways that aren't sex. The key is keeping an open line of communication so they know what is going on with you.
7. Go To Sex Therapist
If you need help talking to your partner about your sexual needs it may be time to enlist the help of a professional therapist who specializes in sex. There is no shame in admitting that you need assistance talking to your partner about sex.
Postpartum sex will most likely be different than pre-baby sex and that's totally OK. "Continue talking through all the questions with love, understanding, enthusiasm and curiosity," Myers suggests. As you may find, keeping an open line of communication, being honest, and patient will be paramount to having better sex, and possibly even a deeper relationship.