Let’s talk about sex, baby. Or more accurately, sex after baby.
A friend recently confided in me that after giving birth to her first child, she lost her sex drive for a long time. She remembers sadly mourning her old friend, sex.
“I’d always been a really sexual person,” she told me. “And then it was just gone. I thought I’d lost it forever.” Thankfully, her libido wasn’t really dead. It was just hibernating. Things got better in the intimacy department over time, but it took a lot longer than she expected to truly feel normal–and frisky–again. Just in time for baby #2.
I could relate. After I gave birth, my OB told me to come back in six weeks for a check-up. The main purpose of this exam seemed to be to give me the greenlight to resume intercourse.
“Oh joy!” I exclaimed. “What great news. Because now that I’ve had my whole world turned upside down, my body is unrecognizable, I’m not sleeping, I’m trying to figure out breastfeeding, and I belong entirely to a needy newborn, shagging is totally at the top of my to-do list. Thank goodness it’s doctor approved.”
Okay, so I didn’t say any of that. But I thought it. Just because you can have sex safely six weeks after giving birth, doesn’t mean you want to.
Some women do, of course. Tori Spelling comes to mind.
She conceived her fourth child a month after giving birth. (I remember my jaw hitting the floor when I thought about having two kids 10 months apart.)
But a lot of new moms just aren’t feeling it that soon. An Australian study found that most women actually wait longer than six weeks after giving birth to resume intercourse.
Here are just a few reasons why sex might not seem appealing soon after giving birth:
- Your libido is flatlining thanks to those wild and crazy hormones
- Extra pounds and loose skin can make you feel self conscious, even if your partner couldn’t care less
- You’re still sore, particularly if you had an episiotomy or a natural tear.
- Every bed in the house is occupied by a baby or toddler and shower sex sounds a bit too athletic right now
- You’re all touched out from constant holding and nursing
- When you try to think sexy thoughts, all that comes to mind is how you need to order more diapers in a bigger size
- You’re so tired
- You’re so tired
- You’re so tired
I wish doctors mentioned any of this during the postpartum check-up. That way women wouldn’t feel guilty for not being “all better” at six weeks, and partners would have more realistic expectations.
Oh yes, our partners. Even the most understanding spouse is going to want to be close to you again, sometime in the next century. And we all know sex is important for keeping couples bonded. It’s great for reducing stress. It’s what makes us lovers and not just really good friends. So what’s a couple to do while the one who pushed a cantaloupe out of her coochie is still getting her mojo back?
Take it slow.
Keep expectations low.
Maintain your sense of humor.
And get some lube.
Yup. Every article I found about how to make postpartum sex more comfortable and pleasurable mentioned lube. It seems obvious, right? Not only does a personal lubricant help with lingering discomfort or hormonal dryness, but it can allow you to skip over some of the preliminaries that you may not feel like engaging in or have time for right now. Real talk, ladies.
That’s why I was excited to partner with K-Y on this post. They offer a wide variety of personal lubricants (and even some surprisingly friendly-looking sex toys). Plus, K-Y has helpful sexual wellness articles on their website that support new moms, such as “Intimacy after a Cesarean.” I encourage you to check them out.
Moms, how soon did you get back on the horse after having a baby? Any advice for new moms trying to figure it all out?
Brought to you by K-Y.