(No, it wasn't from having a wild fling with a significantly younger man.)
I scooted my butt up onto the
chair, placed my feet in the stirrups and spread my legs. It was just six weeks
after I'd popped out a baby, and my ob-gyn was checking out the state of my
nether regions. She leaned in, poked and prodded, and then finally rolled her
chair away from me.
"It looks like you should
wait a couple weeks longer," she said.
"Two more weeks until I can
do yoga!?" I cried, my eyes wild. My sanity was hanging on by a thread,
was the cure.
The doctor laughed at me.
"Two more weeks until you can have sex again," she said. "You're
OK to do yoga."
I slumped back into the chair
with relief. Hallelujah, praise the Lord.
As for the sex, my husband put
the date on his calendar. The calendar in his mind that never forgets anything
if it somehow pertains to sex. Especially sex we have had—or might be
Me? I spent those two weeks getting
active at my regular studio again, doing vinyasas and discovering that my abs
were gone. I tried not to think about the impending sexy times. After all, I
was pretty sure my vagina was broken, and I was nervous about how things would
When The Day of Sex finally
arrived, my husband wouldn't shut up about it. He kept bringing it up, trying
to insert it casually into all of our conversations, just to make sure I didn't
forget that I had a by-god responsibility to have sex with him that night.
For my part, well, I felt dread.
But I also felt that it had been a heckuva long time since we had been truly
But postpartum, it seemed that sex had become painful again. And I was taken back to the days when I was afraid I would never be able to find pleasure in sex.
When the time came, I changed
into the schlumpy, oversized sweatpants I always wore for bed and pulled on one
of the maternity tank tops that was now relegated to bedtime use because of all
the extra fabric around the torso area.
"You can just stay
naked," suggested my husband, sprawled out along the bed in his boxer
briefs in all his tall, skinny glory.
I laughed in his face and slid
beneath the covers.
We placed a giant bottle of
Sliquid nearby. It had been a thousand (five) years since we had used a
non-fertility-friendly lube. The Pre-Seed
still lay in its shriveled, partially squeezed tube at the back corner of my
dresser drawer. It seemed wrong not to finish it, but it also seemed weird to
use a personal lubricant meant for couples still trying to conceive.
When the moment arrived, my
husband squirted some Sliquid into my hand, and then took some for himself. After
applying some to my pelvic area, I hesitated, squinting down at myself.
"Do you need more?" he
I thought about it. Then I held
out my hand for the bottle and poured on approximately a gallon more.
Still, when we tried penetration,
the pain was excruciating. I gritted my teeth. I tensed my thighs. I held his
hips in place so that I had full control of the speed and depth of penetration.
But no matter how slow we tried
to take things, I suffered. We finally decided to call it a wash.
As I hosed myself down (what a
waste of lube), I couldn't help but flash back to almost 15 years ago. Back
then, I was in an unhealthy relationship with a man who coerced me into giving
up my virginity to him, and who then spent the entirety of our relationship
making me feel self-conscious about my lack of sexual experience. After the
relationship ended, I struggled with low libido and painful sex for years.
In fact, my issues with sex
powered my career as a sex writer. I threw myself into that line of work as a
sort of shock therapy. In addition, I asked my gynecologist for help. Lacking
answers, she gave me a prescription for an ultrasound. When the ultrasound tech
told me everything looked okay, I considered the fact that it might be
psychological. But years with the same clinical psychologist didn't help. Neither did homoeopathy or hypnotherapy.
Nothing worked. And it seemed
nothing ever would. And the problem continued well into my marriage.
Still, the more often my husband
and I pushed ourselves to be intimate with each other, the less trouble I had
with libido. And the more I relaxed my mind, the more I was able to relax my
body. And the more I relaxed my body ... well, one day, it didn't hurt anymore.
And eventually, it felt good.
But postpartum, it seemed that
sex had become painful again. And I was taken back to the days when I was
afraid I would never be able to find pleasure in sex. The thought of that
scared me. The thought that all the progress I had made over the years had
suddenly been wiped away.
Again, I slid beneath the covers
wearing a characteristically unflattering ensemble. Again, my husband pulled me
close and kissed me. Again, he rubbed his hands up and down my back. He grasped
my side and pulled my body in even tighter. His hand grazed my butt.
"Should we maybe close the
door?" I asked mid-kiss, thinking about the baby across the hall.
My husband sighed loudly as he
got up to close the door. "You really know how to ruin the mood," he
"What mood?" I asked.
"The mood I'm trying to
This response caused me to giggle
for a good five minutes straight, which I'm pretty sure ruined the mood even
more. But when my fit of laughter passed, we tried again. We kissed. We
caressed. We dry-humped and we pulled off our pants.