After giving birth, sex becomes a whole new ball game. You're contending with hormones, stretched muscles, and areas of your body that need some serious healing. This is especially true if there were any complications in your delivery that led to cuts, tears, or surgeries, like an episiotomy. Additionally, certain positions that felt good pre-baby, may not post-baby, like anal. Put those two together and you may be wondering is it safe to have anal sex six weeks after an episiotomy? Mostly yes, but you'll want to consider a few things before you dive right in.
In general, most woman are given the green light to have sex at their six week postpartum check up. But if you underwent an episiotomy, then the wait may be a little longer. "Since everybody is different and no two bodies experience child birth the same way, you might heal in six weeks, while your friend who had a deeper or longer tear, might heal in 12 weeks," Stacy Rybchin, founder and CEO of My Secret Soiree and My Secret Luxury, tells Romper. (Her companies promote pleasure-based sexual health and wellness education, as well as, the sale of discreet body-safe adult sex toys.) Baby Center echoed Rybchin's sentiments, noting that you can expect the healing process to take longer than six weeks if you had a traumatic birth experience or episiotomy. This could mean a few months or a year depending on the type of tear you have.
For example, if you have a fourth degree episiotomy tear that is deep and reaches to the muscles of your anus, you'll want to be super careful with anal sex. It sounds cringe-worthy, but it does happen so it's something to be mindful of when you're considering any sex, but especially anal.
Additionally, you'll want to make sure that you're emotionally ready for anal play. "Your healthcare provider might tell you that you are ready, but you might be very scared that it will hurt or disrupt healing," Rybchin says. There are plenty of ways to talk to your partner about postpartum sex and that includes writing down how you feel about it. After you write it down, it's up to you to adequately communicate what you're feeling to your partner. You may be physically feeling OK with sex and anal, but if you're not there mentally it's OK. Be honest with your partner and if they respect you, they'll respect how you feel.
Lastly, just because you're talking about anal play doesn't mean you're only considering penetration. "It includes everything you do with the butt cheeks, perineum or t’aint, anal opening, prostate, and inside the anus," Rybchin says. "This might include tickling, stroking, massaging, spanking, flogging, using a vibrator, fingering, licking, or penetrating." Basically if penetrating doesn't feel good with a penis or a vibrator, you can always modify. Rybchin does stress that you should take it slow. If you're going to do penetration she suggests, "start small with fingers, a butt plug, or a small dildo and work your way up with regards to both length and girth." With everything involving the back door she suggests going heavy on the lube because the anus doesn't produce natural lubricant like a vagina does. "When you think you’ve used enough, add a little bit more just to be safe," she says.
The last and probably most important thing to consider before attempting anal after an episiotomy is communication. How well do you and your partner communicate during sex? For something like anal after a traumatic birth, you'll want to be plenty vocal about how you feel especially if there's pain. You definitely don't want to risk re-tearing. "It's important that whoever's receiving the anal play gets to be in charge: what they say goes. If that's you, be honest about how it feels," Rybchin recommends. "And if you're doing the giving, check in frequently to see if it's ok. In other words: communicate, communicate, communicate." She makes it clear that the responsibility goes both ways for partners.
In the end, you know your body best. If your doctor gives you the OK after six weeks, you're healed (body and mind), and your partner is someone you totally trust, then go for anal (but slow). Sex is supposed to be mutually pleasurable. If it's not it won't be fun and it won't be safe.