The Unapologetic Truth About Having Sex for the First Time Post-Baby

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Just had a baby? Check. Ready to have sex again? Double-check. Have NO freaking clue what to expect and are feeling just a teensy bit on edge? Check, check, and hella check.

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No matter how confident you are in the bedroom or how wild your sex life was pre-baby, getting it on for the first time after childbirth can be intimidating. (Ironic, right? Since it's the same damn act that conceived your offspring.)

Here's an honest-to-goodness look at what you can expect.

It won't feel the same.

"What might have felt good before and been your go-to during sex, will most likely change," says Kenna Cook, a sexual health educator and pleasure professional at O.school. After all, common postpartum side effects include vaginal tenderness, nerve damage, and lack of lubrication. (Especially if you're breastfeeding.)

Instead of gritting your teeth and going through the motions, TALK to your partner, advises Cook:

"Communication is the most important sexual part of a healthy relationship. Speak up and say what feels good -- or doesn't. You'll also need to be willing to try new things, whether that means sex toys or trying different positions."

"Whatever works for you now is helping you learn how to reclaim your pleasure and your body," says Cook.

You'll likely be verrrry dry down there.

After Cook had her second child by VBAC, "sex was really painful because of a lack of vaginal self-lubrication and scar tissue from vaginal tearing," she shares. "My partner and I had to use way more lube than we ever had before, but this was something that helped a lot."

Got that? No matter how turned on you may be, keep the lube handy. FYI, there are many different types. If you're eh on one brand because of its smell, feel, or taste, give another a try.

And, adds Cook, you may also want to put more focus on foreplay for a while rather than the actual act.

You may be crazy-exhausted.

"Sometimes postpartum sex can feel like a chore, especially when you're dealing with exhaustion from being a new parent," Cook admits.

Nobody's telling you to skimp on sleep, "but pleasure is extremely important for your physical and mental health, so make time for it," urges Cook."Remember you're a better parent [when] you're honoring your body's needs." 

More from CafeMom: The Real Reason Motherhood Kills Your Sex Life

Your vagina could really NOT feel good.

Ever hear of vaginismus? After even an uneventful vaginal delivery, some women develop this condition, says Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, ABS certified clinical sexologist, relationship therapist and founder of online relationship community Relationup.

Vaginismus is vaginal tightness that happens when your pelvic floor muscles contract for no reason. It can cause pain, a burning sensation, or penetration problems. As a result, "women become anxious about the impending pain when trying to be intimate, and often [become] avoidant of sex," Milrad says.

If you're thinking, "OMG this is me!" talk to your doctor. And don't worry, vaginismus can be treated. Certain exercises can loosen up your vagina muscles, Milrad explains. Plus, she adds, "relaxation and grounding exercises like meditation, deep breathing, and guided imagery can reduce your anxiety and help you feel more comfortable in the moment."

You may feel self-conscious.

Let’s face it, your body changes a LOT during pregnancy.

Because of that, "it's common to worry about your partner's reaction to the fact that your body no longer looks and feels like it used to," says Milrad. "Women can be more self-conscious, judgmental, and sensitive to perceived or real slights from their partner."

Which is a super-nice way to say that we of the XX chromosomes can go off the rails at a moment's notice. No judgment!

To prevent this from happening, however, "try and not be in your head, analyzing your partner's every move and reaction," Milrad suggests. "Instead, just try and be in the moment, enjoying the closeness and the pleasure."

And remember, sex is just like riding a bike. You never really forget how to do it.

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