After childbirth, you don’t feel very sexy. You’ve just pushed out a baby, so it’s going be be quite some time before you’re ready for any action down under. Postpartum sex can be painful and scary, but it certainly doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips, tricks, and a little bit of what to expect when you’re no longer expecting. And don’t despair; sex after childbirth can still be sexy!
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO WANT IT
Postpartum hormones are going to make you whatever the opposite of horny is for weeks (sometimes months!) after having a baby. Add to that the lack of sleep and physical recovery from childbirth and you’re going to hate your partner for wanting to get busy again. Most doctors recommend waiting approximately six weeks after giving birth before having sex. My suggestion is to give yourself that entire six weeks (and more, if you need it!) to simply wrap your mind around the thought of intercourse. When the time comes that you’re physically able and maybe feeling the littlest bit randy, that’s the time to act! It’s kind of like riding a bike, it will come right back to you.
YOU’RE GOING TO BE DRY DOWN THERE
Especially if you’re breastfeeding, your estrogen will be low and that means vaginal dryness. I know, I know… Good news though, there are some safe, water-based lubricants that can be easily worked into foreplay for both you and your partner! What I’ve learned about lube is that a little is never enough, especially in the first six months after having a baby. Get a bigger tube than you think you’ll need and don’t be afraid to be really generous with it. Tissues are still tender down there and swelling can take months to subside. Better to be slippery and comfy than feel like you’re made of sandpaper.
IT’S NEVER GOING TO BE THE SAME
Jenny McCarthy wrote that she feared postpartum sex, because she thought her husband would feel like he was “throwing a hot dog down a hallway.” I’m here to tell you it’s not exactly like that but, for sure, you will never have your pre-baby vagina again. Things had to stretch, open, and shift to get that baby out (even if you had a C-section, your vagina changes during pregnancy and the birth process) and they never go back to being exactly the way they were before.
Change your expectations and don’t be afraid to experiment in the bedroom (or on the living room floor during naptime, which is often what happens in our house) to enjoy your changed body. Don’t be afraid of it, embrace it! It’s not bad, just different… and your vagina is certainly not a hallway.
WINE MAKES IT EASIER
The first time you have sex after childbirth, have a glass or two of something that puts you at ease. Encourage your partner to do so as well. You’ll feel a little warmer and your inhibitions will be a bit lower. You won’t be so scared or afraid of getting your new lube all over your clean sheets.
Ultimately, the right time and way to re-establish a sexual relationship with your partner is different for every mother. The important thing is to listen to your body and relax, both physically and emotionally. And remember, it’s just like riding a bike; you won’t forget how to do it.