Let's talk about sex
It's time for "the talk" 2.0. Unlike when you were younger and cornered by your mum in her car (just us?), you kinda know what you’re doing. However, just like when you were younger, discussing (in this case postpartum) sex can be awkward and not enough people are prepared to give you the honest facts. Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
New mums and mums-to-be face enough pressure, you don’t need sex added to that list. So, we’re going to share all the lessons we’ve learnt - from listening to your needs, to the best lubes on the market, and the benefits of snogging - to help you slowly and steadily rediscover your sexuality.
What to expect from your body postpartum.
Irrespective of how you gave birth, having a child will have changed your body. You’ll most likely be breastfeeding or chestfeeding, which takes a huge toll on your energy levels. This process (while often incredibly rewarding) means that your estrogen levels are lower. Less estrogen equals a lower libido and less natural vaginal lubrication. Add this to the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn and bed will be more on your mind than a bonk.
You could also be recovering from things like vaginal tearing or healing after a c-section, meaning you’ll be super sore in the affected areas and sex won’t be such a pleasurable experience. In fact, it’s important to note that sex will physically feel different when you do it again. 44% of women in an Irish study found sex to be more painful post-baby. But don’t worry, there are things you can do to make it feel fabulous again. We’ll give you some of our sex-pert advice a little later on.
What to expect from your mind postpartum.
The often overlooked factor. We’re all aware of the physical changes, but who’s talking to us about the emotional ones?
In an age of abs being everywhere you look on the internet, being a woman who’s just had a baby can be rubbish. You’re going to feel disconnected from your body. There are two reasons why this might be the case. One: you’re feeling “touched out”, where you’re overwhelmed by your baby’s constant need for your body. They need it to survive, so your partner wanting it for something else suddenly feels less important.
The second reason is the dreaded ‘s’ word: snapback. The idea that anyone would have the perfect post-pregnancy body in two weeks is BS. Unless you have millions of pounds and a team of experts, it’s not gonna happen. And why should it?
But the reality is that most women feel this pressure and it really does affect your confidence in the bedroom. Often people worry their partner mightn’t find them as attractive. Let your partner in on this, open up about your worries and you’ll find yourself connecting in ways that aren’t purely sexual.
The sex can then come (no pun intended) later. Try to appreciate what your body has done and slowly, steadily (and with a doctor’s permission) get into a routine of exercising, walking and having sex again at your own pace.
Getting down to it.
It’s going to be sore for the first few times. This will be the case for everyone. What’ll differ is when you’re feeling ready to try it. Doctors recommend waiting between four to six weeks. Some leave it longer, some can’t wait to get back at it. It’s all very individual but you should check with your doctor if you’re unsure.
However, when you are feeling ready here are a few things that will help:
A good lube, we recommend YES’ natural vaginal moisturiser.
Vaginal estrogen cream for extra moisture (vaginal dryness be gone!). Ask your doctor what they recommend.
Have a warm bath before having sex, the heat will relax and soothe your body making it ready for whatever.
Alternatively, if you experience stinging or pain after sex, try popping an icepack over your pants to reduce any swelling.
If you’re worried about your pelvic floor, you could invest in some Kegel weights. These ones from Boots are great.
Ease yourself into your renewed sexuality by trying mutual masturbation, oral, anal or simply kissing like teenagers again. All of this will help renew the emotional connection with your partner.
Speaking of the emotional connection, the focus doesn’t always have to be sexual. Anything from cuddling, massaging, making time to talk, laughing together, holding hands - will help you connect with the new versions of each other.
Karma Sutra, some of your old favourite positions might hit different after a baby so get experimental and find some new favourites. Nine tip: now’s all about slow, passionate and easy positions for tired parents.
There is NO normal!
We want to leave you with this final thought. It’s your body, your mind, your sexuality - only you can decide when the moment is right. Be open with your partner about how you’re feeling and take it each day at a time. Your time will *ahem* come. And when it does, use lube.