Patience. Communication. Lube.
Hopefully all self explanatory, if a little ambiguous. Don’t even begin to contemplate getting back in the saddle until you have all three of them on the table. It can be a truly terrifying proposition to even begin thinking about having sex after birth- whether by vaginal or surgical means. There’s been a pretty huge recent event going on in your nether regions and whether it takes you days, weeks, months or years to feel ready, I promise you, one day you will.
I can remember going for coffee with another new mama friend who’d revealed they’d got back to it pretty quickly. I became horrified that I was somehow being a shitty wife by not performing. So, I immediately rushed home to attempt a seduction that evening.
I wimped out.
Sex after birth: deadlines?!
Like a high school virgin determined to lose it by prom, I’d somehow decided I needed to be having sex again BEFORE I went for my 6 week check. Don’t ask me where the hell I’d picked that up from, but I was young, I was naive and I hadn’t quite birthed my rebellious, down with the system, anarchist wolf-mother self yet.
Now I can’t speak for anyone else, but my first born’s entrance into this world was both fast and effective and left me with a beautiful vaginal tear that needed stitches. I’ve never had stitches before. I was simultaneously proud and horrified of this badge of honour.
The thought of looking at them with a mirror left me cold and nauseous so it fell to my husband to regularly check them and make sure they were healing correctly. He’s a carpenter, not a doctor- he had no idea what he was really looking for.
Sex after birth: the vulnerability took me by surprise.
I’d always been quite comfortable with my naked body but the leaking porn boobs, butchered vag and weird textured tummy were more than I could cope with all at once.
(The porn boobs. Let me quickly digress. It’s nature’s cruel joke. You get given the most incredible, huge, epic tits of your entire life. Yet you also get handed a ravenous newborn who has no frigging idea what they’re doing, shreds your nipples and creates you the most fantastic over-supply that when they finally latch correctly, your other boob proceeds to pour milk all over your clothes, bed, sofa and shoots halfway across the room in the process. That was quite a shock to the system for me!)
It took a long time to get comfortable with my changing body and accept that it was still beautiful and attractive. Let’s be perfectly frank here- for many women that’s a lifelong battle.
Sex after birth: picking a time
Trying to pick a time where you are both in the mood, have plenty of time on your hands for build up and relaxing in to things, and the baby is definitely going to stay asleep is laughable.
Ideally you want to be as relaxed and turned on as possible, but twenty minutes of sensual cunnilingus (Oh my god I HATE that word. It’s so damn unsexy!!!), oral stimulation, is a luxury when the ticking time bomb might fill their nappy and wake themselves up at any given moment.
Both being aware that it is very possible that “I’m ready” can instantly turn into “Nope, nope, nope” and that clear conversation, positional changes and a lot of lube are probably necessary not just for that first time, but indefinitely.
You might find that previously enjoyed positions now hurt like fuck; toys, tongues and fingers aren’t doing it quite like they used to; and being handcuffed to a bed is vastly unappealing when time is of the essence.
I’ll repeat again: patience, communication and lube.
It might take you a long time before your sex life returns to its former glory. Your hormones may be so up the creek that it takes much longer than you ever expected. It might be that there are A LOT of conversations that need to happen. There is no such thing as a “normal” sex life following birth; you find what works for you.
Sex after birth: no pressure
Now, I mentioned earlier that at some point during my first year of motherhood, I birthed my rebellious, down with the system, anarchist wolf-mother self. There was a time when I was suddenly filled with white hot burning RAGE at how badly women are treated. From then on I started seeing it everywhere; in the birth stories of friends, the sabotaged feeding journeys, the conversations about going back to work, the media-engineered “mummy wars” they’ll have you believing we are all fighting.
Nothing angered me as much as reading an article written by a well known, childless, baby “expert” who suggested that new mothers suck it up, lie back and think of England, and do so for the good of their marriages and their poor long suffering husbands.
So as long as you’re not listening to that bollocks, you’ll be grand.
About Holly Heather
Holly Heather is a self proclaimed oversharer, proud single mother of two daughters and teacher of all things pregnancy, birth, baby and beyond. She lives and teaches in West Sussex and you can find more of her adventures in parenting on Facebook as Holly Heather- Growing Humans.
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