Let’s Talk About Sex: Sex After Babies

let's talk about sexOne of the topics greatly underserved in the postpartum world is that little three-letter word that carries so much stigma.  That’s right – S. E. X.

You always hear it thrown around… talk that sex changes after kids, guys giving each other a hard time that they won’t “get it”, to “enjoy it while you can!”.  I heard those comments but never really understood what anyone was talking about.  Pre-babies, my husband and I had a pretty healthy sex life.  We were married for four years before the thought of sex for procreation even entered our minds.  We had time to take it slow, to enjoy every moment.  Sex in the middle of the afternoon?  Sure!  Why not?  Sex in the kitchen?  Okay!  I was sure these jokes of a deprived sex life wouldn’t plague our marriage.

I got pregnant and my libido seemed to kick into overdrive.  Those surging hormones had my body responding and sex became even more enjoyable.  I could feel every touch on my body like it was magnified and it made for some good times.  I had heard friends say their sex drive plummeted when they were pregnant so I just knew this meant we wouldn’t face any of those issues other couples did.  Fast forward to eight months later.  We knew our daughter was to be born with some medical difficulties, meaning I would have a scheduled C-section and she would need to stay in utero as long as possible.  We headed to our appointment 6 weeks prior to her birth and my gynecologist gave the orders my husband was dreading, “NO MORE SEX”.

And my husband’s natural response was to ask how long this would take place.  The answer: 6 weeks pre-delivery and 6-weeks post delivery.  WHAT????  THREE MONTHS???  We had never gone more than a week but knowing the importance of our doctors orders for our daughter’s health and then mine, we put the brakes on…

And then came baby.  I headed to my six-week postpartum appointment and heard the words, “You’re free to have sex again.”  And you know what?  I cringed.  I cringed?  What?  No, no, no.  I wasn’t suppose to be one of “those women”.  I wasn’t going to be that person that let kids stop me from having sex.  I was a WOMAN!  I was young and embraced my sexuality.  Where in the heck were these thoughts coming from?  So I came home, convinced myself this was going to happen, delivered the news to my husband (who looked like he was going to explode with excitement) and braced myself for the act.

And guess what happened next?  It hurt.  And I don’t mean a little discomfort.  It was really painful!  Not only did I not have any desire, but I also had a stabbing sensation that hit my abdomen with each attempt.  By the end of the romp, I was in tears, my husband was trying to figure out what just happened, and I was scared to death that my marriage was over since my lady parts were clearly defunct.

We gave it a little time and my body eventually kicked back into gear and nineteen months later, ta-da!, our daughter had a little brother.  And could you guess what happened?  Yep, it wasn’t easy the second time around either.

I’m no expert, I’ve just been through this song and dance twice now so here are a few tips I can offer.

TIPS:

  • Do what you need to do to get in the mood.  Take a bath and relax, have a glass of wine if you need it, start getting “mentally prepped” for the act but don’t think of it with dread.  How do I say this tactfully?  Let your mind start to wander….to the….um…nether regions.  My saving grace after my second baby was (and I am REALLY embarrassed to admit this) Fifty Shades of Grey.  The book is horribly written and by book number 2, I was over it.  But when your sex drive is running on fumes, sometimes a little kickstart for the brain to get things going is necessary.
  • Talk to your gynecologist.  That’s what they are there for!  They are literally vagina specialists so when something is amiss down below, that’s exactly who you should be talking to.  Don’t let your modesty creep in here.  For the sake of your marriage, swallow your pride and tell your doctor exactly what is going on and exactly what the problem is.  There are things they can do to help.  They can prescribe a different birth control, they can put you on an estrogen cream that will help get your hormones back in line to some extent.
  • Talk to your husband.  Heck, show him this post so he knows y’all aren’t the only couple going through it.  Explain that it’s not that you aren’t attracted to him anymore but that your body is recovering.  Ask him to work with you to take it slow.  And while this might mean at a snail’s pace, ensure him that it will pay off in the end.
  • If necessary, get a little product assistance.  Does the thought of heading through the HEB line with a tube of KY Jelly, only to realize that your pastor just hopped in line behind you make your toes curl?  Let me let you in on a little secret….Amazon.com.  Get on-line, order what you need, use a little creativity if you want to and have a magical little unassuming box show up on your doorstep.  Not even your neighbors will know what’s inside!
  • Your body IS different.  And if you are breastfeeding, your hormones are a mess.  Did you know that your breastfeeding body makes a hormone called prolactin that is needed for breastfeeding but basically shuts off your sex drive?  Thanks a lot Mother Nature!
  • And last, realize that your sex life will be different moving forward.  I speak from experience and can say that the frequency will be less, the ability to be impulsive will be greatly diminished and there’s a good chance a three-year old needing to tinkle in the middle of the night might catch you off guard.  My best advice is make sex a priority.  Schedule it if you have to, but don’t let things go too long without keeping it up.  Physical intimacy is an important part of marriage and should be given some effort….even if there are nights when that’s exactly what it feels like, just a lot of effort.  But give in and let yourself enjoy it.  You won’t be sorry….and neither will your husband!

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5 Responses to Let’s Talk About Sex: Sex After Babies

  1. Julie February 25, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    This is great Brooke! Most moms get this surprise and have to learn the hard way. I wish I could have read this after my first (second and third).

  2. Beth February 17, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    This is great Brooke! And the Amazon ordering idea is BRILLIANT!! 🙂

  3. Patti February 17, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    Pinned. Important info to share. Good for you for writing about it.

  4. Shana February 17, 2014 at 8:04 am #

    All great ideas and so true. I needed some estrogen cream this second time around, and it worked like a charm. Glad you share this info!!

  5. Taylor
    Taylor February 17, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    Brooke, you’re awesome. Great post. And amen about the “Mommy Porn” Fifty Shades. I never knew I could like something that horribly written.