Postpartum Passion: Sex After Giving Birth
After childbirth, sex and intimacy may be understandably the furthest thing from your mind. What with vaginal soreness, all-nighters, feeding and changing, there will likely be little time for getting frisky now that you and your partner are completely pooped.
Much like sex during your pregnancy, rekindling your sensual spark after the baby arrives is very possible and enjoyable — it just takes a bit more time and care to get back into the groove. So before rediscovering your intimacy, consider the following answers to some frequently asked questions about post-pregnancy passion:
When can I start having sex after pregnancy?
In the weeks or even months after having your baby, you may experience a lowered libido. This is because you’re likely to be exhausted and perhaps a little overwhelmed – because motherhood is an important undertaking that consumes a lot of emotional strength you would otherwise be using elsewhere.
Depending on which method you chose to deliver your baby, your body needs time to heal – taking time between giving birth and having sex will allow for your cervix to fully close, and let any tears and lacerations to heal.
Many caregivers suggest waiting four to six weeks before having sex again, while some women feel ready after as little as two weeks. However it’s up to you and you alone to make the choice of when it feels right for you.
Is it going to hurt?
It might, which means you can either take more time to let your body get back to its pre-pregnancy state, or you can follow some simple advice on avoiding discomfort.
During childbirth, your hormones go through a number of changes that may cause your vagina to feel much more sensitive and a little more difficult to lubricate than it normally would. This becomes especially evident if you are breastfeeding.
To deal with an extra-sensitive and harder-to-lubricate vagina, take it slow and make the most out of foreplay; try some romantic massage, mutual masturbation, or set the stage with some extra stimulation from an external vibrator before moving on to intercourse.
Additionally, to facilitate even more comfortable lovemaking in the case of vaginal dryness, use a high-quality sexual moisturizer; apply some to the exterior of your vaginal opening and to the head of his penis for added glide during penetration and thrusting.
Will it feel different?
Though only temporarily, a vaginal birth can cause the muscle tone in your vagina to decrease. This will affect the amount of friction you will feel inside during lovemaking, which in turn will affect the stimulation you receive from sex.
One way to beat this is by maintaining your pelvic floor or Kegel muscles either before or after giving birth. You can either do this with a pelvic floor exercise aide that will help you more effectively work this often overlooked muscle set, or with the tried and tested manual way to exercise your Kegels.
Start by tightening you pelvic muscles in short three to five second reps, five times in a row. After some days of repeating this exercise, you will notice that you can hold your muscles tight for longer amounts of time; work at it until you can hold them for ten seconds, and then relax them for ten seconds before doing it again.
If you’re confused as to which muscle you’re meant to be flexing and tensing, try stopping your flow the next time you are taking a pee; those are the exact muscles you should be using during your workout.
Sex and intimacy aside, this is a thrilling new chapter of your life that is just getting started. Even if sex isn’t even part of your mental state right after your baby arrives, know that articles like this one, as well as a caring partner, are always around to offer the sensual support you need.
Katy Thorn is a post-grad writer with a passion for writing about sex, sexuality, and all things rated R. She received her degree in Women’s Studies with a focus in Intersectionality at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!). She has a cat named Yoko, drinks too much black coffee, and hates writing bios.