I’m willing to bet, chances are high that sex after birth won’t be top of your to-do list.
Though there might be some exceptions to this, most women naturally lose the desire to get some action during the postpartum period for several reasons…
Here’s The Lowdown On Why Sex After Birth Is Not On My Agenda
First Of All, Sex After Birth Can Be Painful
I mean, who wants sex after the vagina has been surgically cut or possibly torn and stitched back up again?
I’ve been through enough, let alone introducing more discomfort.
Other potential causes of discomfort include the low level of oestrogen, which makes the vaginal tissues thin, making sex uncomfortable.
Again, no thanks 🙂
Secondly, You’ll Find Me Permanently Sat On A Doughnut Cushion
Has the delivery process left you too sore to sit?
Sex? After Birth It’s As Dry As A Dessert Up There!
Your natural lubrication doesn’t come back until after six weeks, especially when breastfeeding.
Sex After Birth!? It’s Like A Scene From Carrie Around Here…
You get me, ladies.
Don’t Touch Me – My Hormones Are About As Stable As Dorothy’s House In Cansas
Your low postpartum libido has to contend with baby blues, postnatal depression, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation due to maximum attention diverted to the baby.
Move over sex drive, there’s a new baby in town!
But Seriously, How Long Should We Wait Until We Have Sex?
According to gynaecologists, the vagina takes up to 6 weeks to heal.
It allows the uterine tissue and other lovely birth bits and bobs to clean out completely.
Below are some surprising facts about postpartum sex to help you understand why things might be different for you, and how to get back on track.
Truth no. 1: Sex After Birth May Not Feel Good Initially
Rebecca Booth, a gynaecologist from Louisville, Kentucky, says that women often assume the pain during sex is caused by the trauma of delivery.
Though it might be true, the low levels of oestrogen affect the elasticity of the vaginal tissues, thus causing pain.
During breastfeeding, the oestrogen levels remain notably low for up to three months.
The high levels of prolactin and oxytocin mimic menopause symptoms by causing hot flushes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, and pain.
Even women who delivered through C-section are subject to these hormones and dryness.
The time taken to heal depends on a number of things, and it’s important to consider sex when YOU feel completely ready and well.
Truth no. 2: Several Things Are Causing Your Low Sex Drive
The changing dynamics and connection between you and your partner due to your baby and lack of sleep are contributing factors.
Self-esteem issues are common, when you realise your body has changed.
I know I am still getting used to it seven years after my first child!
When breast feeding, the body responds by releasing the oxytocin hormone, which stimulates good feelings towards the baby, while suppressing your libido.
From an anthropological stand point, Dr. Booth says that keeping your libido suppressed is your body’s way of preventing another pregnancy too soon.
Way to go, Mother Nature!
Truth No. 3: Your Vagina Changes
Depending on how many children you’ve had, together with your age, there might be a little more “room” in there, notes Dr. Booth.
Doing some extra exercises such as Kegels that may help you tighten the pelvic floor.
Truth no. 4: It May Have Been A LONG Time Ago
Limited physical intimacy or complete lack of sex makes partners start feeling and behaving like roommates.
Believe me, I’ve been there.
As a result, resentment can set in, and the disconnection becomes real, as noted by New York City’s sex coach, Amy Levine.
Truth no. 5: Quickies Are Sometimes The Only Way
As grownups, we acknowledge that sex isn’t always defined by how long it takes.
You’ve got kids running around during the day, especially if they no longer nap, which doesn’t leave a lot of time for each other.
Sometimes, heating up the moment and doing what it takes to feel relieved from sexual tension is all you need.
Truth no. 6: The Thought Of Sex When You’re Exausted Is Enough To Make You Close Up Entirely
Even before you gave birth, coming from a busy exhaustive day sends you to sleep as soon as you reach home.
Needless to say, the thought of sex when you’re tired and mentally drained is enough to turn you right off it!
Truth no. 7: Sex May Be Better Than You Anticipate
According to Amy Levine, the delivery process awakens women to multiple new sensations, thus increasing the pleasurable regions.
Notably, giving birth can shift the internal genital parts to just the right angles making them more sensitive to stimulation.
Truth no. 8: You Will Look Forward To Having Sex Again
As I mentioned before, you should give yourself enough time to heal to enable yourself to return to a normal sex life – (whatever that is when you’ve got kids!)
Being honest, and opening up to your partner often will help you both understand how you’re feeling.
Even if the sessions are sparse, it’s quality over quantity that matters.
Truth no. 9: You Might Feel Up To It Pretty Quickly, Actually
In rare instances, some women may feel that they are ready to romp long before their bodies are physically prepared.
“Your mind may be more prepared and directing sexual thought to build tension even when the body isn’t physically ready,” says Levine.
However, you should give your body time to heal and listen to what your doctor says.
Truth no. 10: Your Body Might Do Weird Things During Sex
Breasts leaking during sex?
That’s because the oxytocin released during an orgasm is the same hormone that causes letdown.
You also may need to wee before you have sex, as it can help relieve discomfort.
If it’s getting a little weird for you, remember, your body has been through something incredible, and what you’re experiencing is completely normal.
Sex after baby is different, but it can still be an amazing adventure.
Whether you’re chomping at the bit for a sexual reunion or you are still stuck at the starting gate, sex after baby is worth the wait.
Just take it one quickie at a time 😉
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Last Updated on June 22, 2023 by Lucy Clarke