Sorry, But A Sex-Free Relationship Is What Every New Mom Actually Needs

My obstetrician advised me to refrain from intercourse for at least six weeks after my daughter was born. I didn’t have a traumatic delivery, so there was no vaginal tearing and all my parts seem to be recovering after pushing the 6.5 pound baby out of my body. So, physically, I had the green light to get down six weeks postpartum. Mentally, however, I wasn’t ready. Luckily, my husband was totally understanding that a sex-free relationship was what this new mom needed.

It would be another few weeks until I felt ready to do the deed, and even then, I was kind of nervous. I had a little pain, but that quickly subsided. What was most weird was that our daughter was in her cradle, just a couple of feet from our bed, and although she was sound asleep, it made me kind of self-conscious. As we get more into things, though, that feeling about possibly being watched slowly dissipated. But that was easily the most silent I have ever been during sex.

Being in a sex-free relationship, albeit temporarily, really helped me as a new mother. I was still working through a lot of jumbled feelings about my postpartum body during that time period. I didn’t love it, honestly, and I worried that my husband wouldn’t love it either. Though we had been together long enough for me to understand his love for me went beyond my appearance, I needed to rebuild my body confidence a bit more before inviting him in… literally.

So here are some reasons why a sex-free relationship was totally what I needed as a brand new mom:

Because It Allows You To Conserve Energy

Sex can be a work-out, so taking it out of the equation helped to not further deplete the physical energy that being a new parent demanded. It also helped me conserve my mental energy. As a parent, I'm constantly thinking about 8 million thIngs — diaper supplies, feeding schedules, pediatrician appointments — so having one less thing taking up space in my brain was a relief.

Because It Doesn’t Add To Your To-Do List

Having my spouse on the same page about putting our sex life on hold for a while took a load off my mind. I didn't have to worry about hurting his feelings if I turned down his requests for physical intimacy. With so much to adjust to with our new little roommate, taking sex off the table allowed us narrow our list of priorities as we tried to figure out this new stage of our lives.

Because You Can Sleep More

Though our sex life wasn't strictly contained in our bedroom, that was usually where the magic happened. Getting into bed without the possibility of some adult activities made it that much easier to drift off. Of course, I was awakened about two hours later to feed the baby again, but at least I had enjoyed some sleep.

Because It’s A Great Solution When You’re Feeling Touched Out

My newborn daughter went through a period of cluster feedings where I was nursing her around the clock. She was in my arms constantly, and even when I wasn't holding her I felt like I should be right near her. This was all part of acclimating to having a newborn; I hadn't yet figured out that I needed some space for myself. And when I did, it was hard to get it when I was the one home with her for my 12 weeks of maternity leave. I felt touched out and didn't want to feel another human on my skin. I love my husband but I just, mentally, couldn't take being touched by him when my body felt like it could only be in service to our newborn.

Because It Puts Your Needs Before Anyone Else’s

Deciding to temporarily shelve our sex life gave me the slightest bit of body autonomy I was craving after gestating a human for nine months and breastfeeding her every two hours. It allowed me a tiny bit of control, when I really didn’t have much of that as a new mom. That’s a tough adjustment, especially if you have a Type A personality, like me.

Because It Won’t Increase Your Laundry Load

No sex, no mess, less laundry. That’s hot.

Because You Don’t Have To Pretend You’re Enjoying Something You’re Not

I faked a lot of orgasms in my 20s. I was shy about communicating to my partners about what I needed, and there were all these external examples in movies and literature dictating that a woman was supposed to come from vaginal penetration (that has happened exactly once for me). Though sex definitely got better for me as my communication skills improved (and the guys I was with were older and more experienced), there were occasions when I just wasn’t that into it. I was grateful that I didn’t have to work to psych myself up for sex when I was postpartum because, well, we just didn’t do it.

Because You End Up Looking Forward To Sex Later

I’ve definitely subscribed to the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” philosophy (mostly when it comes to desserts). When I didn’t feel like a sexy person ready to receive sex, it was a relief to know we weren’t going to observe sexy time for a while. When I was healed, and better rested, a couple of months after giving birth, I looked forward to reconnecting with my partner in that way. It was definitely a remarkable feeling to have sex post-baby. We had something new to bring to our intimacy: ourselves as parents. We grew up a little in those months, and I think our sex life benefited from that, deepening our bond.

Because It Will Prevent You From Having Another Kid You May Not Want To Think About Yet

Yes, there are other methods of birth control than abstinence, of course, but a sex-free relationship can be a relief when you are still adjusting to having a new baby and can’t fathom another one in your life any time soon. It was nice to know there was no way in hell I was going to get pregnant again, since we weren’t knocking boots. Although our sex-free interlude lasted just a couple of months, it made trying to conceive again, a couple of years later, a very exciting event.