The week after I had my first son, Henry, I thought I was
never going to have any more kids. But getting pregnant would be easy to avoid,
because I also thought I never wanted to have sex again. Ever. The birth was
traumatic to my lady parts, to say the least. And when the six-week recovery
period was up, and I got the go-ahead from my doctor, I was scared to death to
do the deed.
After talking to other mom friends, I realized I wasn't
alone in my fear, anxiety and low libido. So I was surprised when this study
came out recently claiming that postpartum women begin feeling desire and
engaging in sexual activities sooner than the six-week waiting period that most
In other words, younger
women who have been with their partners for less than 10 years are going to
generally have higher sex drives and more frequent sex, whether they've just
had a baby or not. And since second and third labors are typically easier than first, your sex drive may
come back faster.
women also feel compelled to have sex regardless of whether they actually feel
sexual. "Some women feel a
need to reestablish the bond with their partner that can only happen via sexual
activity," says Miro Gudelsky,
a sex therapist in Los Angeles. "And there is also pressure from
partners to re-engage in sex, maybe before the woman is feeling completely
"Everyone is different and takes different times to heal and recover on
emotional and physical levels," says Gudelsky. "It's important to pay
attention to what your body needs and wants—not what your doctor has
So no matter where
your libido falls on the spectrum in the weeks after you've had a baby, take
your time and go at your own pace. When you are ready to jump back in the sack,
follow these tips to ease whatever fears you have and make it a pleasant
Love yourself. Literally. "Masturbation is a super important
way to take a new mom's equipment on a test-drive," says Gudelsky. "It's
also a great stress reliever, which is something every new mom can benefit
Make sure your body is ready. "Moms who are breast-feeding will have low estrogen levels, which can cause
vaginal dryness," says Mazzullo. "Talk to your doctor about possibly
supplementing with local estrogen or a good personal lubricant."
Take a mommy time-out. "Sexual activity is mental, so if
you're sleep-deprived or overwhelmed, you won't feel sexy," says Mazzullo.
"Ask your partner for some time off from household duties, even if it's just a
few hours, so you can regroup and feel like yourself again."
foreplay, foreplay. "It's remarkably important to get comfortable with each
other and make sure tissues stretch again," says Mazzullo. You may even
want to have a few sessions of just foreplay with no sex to make the first time
easier, she says.
expectations low. "Things will be
different. Body parts will be stretched, and sometimes torn with a need to
heal. You will be exhausted. You will be mesmerized by the tiny creature you
have created," says Gudelsky. "Proceed slowly, lovingly and with a sense of