I’m on a mission to open a conversation about post-partum sex and how scary, confusing and just plain weird it felt. How come no one talks about this? I mean, girlfriends regaled me with endless stories about what their bodies were doing during pregnancy and how their hormones were enhancing certain sensations in the bedroom, but no one gave me the straight dope about sex after pregnancy. Especially that first time.
RELATED: The Real Deal on New Parent Sex
It can’t be just me who struggled to regain her sexuality and a sense of intimacy with her partner. The only person who offered anything like a warning was my ob-gyn who cheerily suggested “tons of lube” once I hit the six-week mark and was cleared for intimacy. She may have explained why I’d need the lube—something about estrogen levels, dryness and nursing, but, honestly, I was too tired to comprehend what she was saying.
Now that I think about it, I’m sure there were plenty of resources that could have informed me about what my body was doing after pregnancy and why that “tons of lube” recommendation was spot-on. But once my baby came, I was absorbed in the physicality of caring for her 24 hours a day. There was no way I could sit down and read a book to learn why nursing contributed to painful dryness during postpartum sex.
I didn’t talk about it because sex is hard to talk about, but also because I felt ashamed that I was so confused about what was happening.
What about the emotional parts? I can’t think of a single conversation I had with anyone about this. Did anyone else feel strange diving back into intimacy while keeping one ear alert to the baby monitor? Was I the only one who filed “having sex while listening for a new baby” under new experiences?
And that fatigue. And the fact that after a C-section, I felt betrayed by my body for being unable to pull off a vaginal birth. Everything felt “rearranged” within me, both physically and emotionally. I didn’t talk about it because sex is hard to talk about, but also because I felt ashamed that I was so confused about what was happening. And I sure wasn’t going to tell anyone that I felt resentful that the price of having a beautiful, healthy baby was the loss of my ability to enjoy sex for awhile.
So my mission is to open the conversation. Someone should let first-time mothers know that returning to sexuality, intercourse especially, is painful—emotionally and physically. And that the discomfort doesn’t last forever, but that the feelings of resentment, fear, sadness or loss are what lots of mothers endure in those first few months of postpartum life.
So tell me, what was the most surprising thing about postpartum sex for you?