Because I’m not having sex, I haven’t given much thought to how sex after I deliver my little seed will be. Out of sight, out of mind, ya know? It wasn't until a friend randomly reached out to me, more excited for the postpartum sex that stood ahead of me than I knew to be possible. I was curious, to say the least. Where was this burst of energy for my postpartum sex life coming from? Apparently, she had just had mind-blowing sex with her man but this wasn’t the first time she mentioned this – she had once shared the exhilaration she felt during sex in a normal girl chat. But I wasn’t pregnant then so I hadn’t thought much of it.
However, this time around, my brain was most definitely activated. The one thing that stood out to me was the pleasure she seemed to derive from her postpartum sex life! Mostly, because this had been so unheard of. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t care to speak to my mother in-depth prior to my own little seed being implanted in me. Nevertheless, I had only ever heard of negative postpartum sex experiences. Women went from being the top-flight security, maintaining the secrecy of the motherhood journey, not speaking of anything but the joy of baby and baby alone to now, where we’ve seen a shift in women trying to sprinkle some realness in the mix – warning us of the potential woes of motherhood.
I mention this because motherhood has become saturated with changing the narrative to a more realistic one and, in turn, it can induce more fear than not knowing. It seems once we were released from the shackles of silence, it turned out that everyone was experiencing ass tears and postpartum depression, and if you’re a Black woman, you might not even live to tell about any of those experiences.
I guess what I’m saying was it was refreshing to have someone share a positive about giving birth to a child – one that I most definitely value and one that skews the narrative to remind us that in all actuality: every experience is different! And in us trying to make up for the myths of motherhood being all peachy keen, we’ve forgotten what balance looks like – going from sunshine and roses to hellfire and misery.
As far as the sex component goes, we have truly only ever heard the bottom of the barrel! Men talking about how "loose" women allegedly are after having a child and TikTok highlighting the potential for what is known as a husband stitch, which ensures you go back to maximum tightness after tearing. (Also, unethical to perform without patient permission apparently).
Nevertheless, it made me curious to speak with other women about their postpartum sex experience and I was happy to find that there were more women out there who were experiencing good sex, and for various reasons! Here’s what 8 women had to say about postpartum sex.
Sex was different... in the best way possible.
"I have to say I didn't have the confidence or drive to have sex immediately after a vaginal birth (both times). But [around four to six] weeks after, sex for me was way better than before having a baby. It felt more intimate, more connected, and somewhat special to be having sex so soon after having a baby. Not many women talk about this, do they? But I don't think it's a big secret personally. Every woman has a different experience, and for me, it was good."
I'm more in tune with my body more than I've ever been.
“I'm a mom of two with my youngest being four months old. My postpartum sex experience has been amazing. I opted for a natural birth with a midwife and doula as a result my recovery was really quick. Since giving birth I've been really in tune with my body and been wowed at what a woman's body is able to do. I wouldn't describe myself as a very sexual person but since giving birth, my desire to have sex and my natural lubrication has increased tremendously.
"I've also been taking ashwagandha and maca root to support my breastfeeding journey. An added benefit [of taking them] was increased libido [and] not just around the ovulation period. My husband is very happy, to say the least.”
Sex after delivery helped with my PPD.
“I have two young children under the age of eight years old and I could certainly say right away that postpartum sex is by far much much better than sex prior to having children for several reasons. Not only has perhaps my confidence elevated, but most importantly, it’s also much less tricky in terms of stimulation. In addition, it is much easier to switch positions and perform the act as there is rarely if ever any discomfort due to that tightness perhaps felt in the beginning. Sex after delivery was also very beneficial as I suffered from PPD for a couple of months after my first delivery. Sex in a way was perhaps a reward for that after waiting six weeks after giving birth.”
It was the last piece of intimacy we had been missing.
"I had a C-section so I was told to wait at least six weeks before having sex. I feel like the wait time just added to the anticipation and excitement. The postpartum period is obviously crazy with a newborn and the lack of sleep for the first month or so (sex was the last thing on my mind). However, as the weeks went on and we spent time in our own little bubble with this perfect little person we created, the feelings started creeping up again. I feel like you just fall deeper in love when you see your man taking care of and loving your tiny human. It's next-level sexy! I couldn't wait to show him just how much. We were literally counting down the days until the mandatory six weeks were up.
"All that waiting makes it almost as exciting as the first time again. We went all out and set up a special date night with dinner, wine, and new lingerie, the works! In one word: fireworks! It was perfect! It was that one piece of intimacy we had been missing and we held on to each other long after it was over. I think it's important to talk to your partner and make sure you're both on the same page. I expressed my concerns about possible pain (and hormones and dealing with this new postpartum body that I wasn't used to) so we took things slow and he checked with me throughout to make sure I was okay. All in all, it was a wonderful experience that actually made me feel sexy again.”
Antidepressants I take for my hormonal-induced depression impacted my sex drive.
“I get so fricking excited when someone asks about postpartum women. It was a period of my life that was insanely difficult and I feel like my overall experience was very different from most women's. I've always had a great sex drive, before, during, and after pregnancy. Then I started taking antidepressants about six weeks after birth and my libido hit rock bottom. Almost four years later and I still haven't gone back to my regular levels, but it's either that or hormonal-induced depression. If you want a little more information, we both enjoy 'doggystyle' since I had our children. If I had to guess, it's because of the deeper penetration level.”
Amazing sex wasn't in the cards for me for several months after giving birth.
“I felt well prepared for the months following my baby's birth. After all, I had been a mother-baby nurse for years. When my OBGYN looked at me and said, ‘Rachel, six weeks is not a magic number. You probably aren't going to feel like your pre-pregnant self when having sex,’ she did me a huge favor. Otherwise, I would have felt something was wrong with me. I experienced a second-degree tear with my baby and it took me several months for the soreness to completely heal. I was shocked the first time I had sex and it was so uncomfortable. Had my doctor not warned me, I would have thought there was something wrong with me.
"It was six months after giving birth that I was able to experience sex that felt good and didn't hurt my repair. Between the soreness and my breast milk letting down during sex, it was quite the experience. I don't wish to relive those months, but my husband and I can now look back at those times and laugh. Amazing sex was not in the cards for me for several months following childbirth. Women who do not experience a tear, episiotomy, or who have a C-section may well experience great postpartum sex while their progesterone levels are high.”
Postpartum sex wasn't different for me physically, but it was emotionally.
“I want to start by saying that my daughters are now 17 and 20; both were vaginal births. I think that once the initial trepidation passed — meaning, the 'first-time sex' after the six-week follow-up and the all-clear from my doctor — postpartum sex wasn’t noticeably 'better.' It wasn’t worse, either. If anything, what made it great was knowing I had bounced back and everything was indeed okay. There is a HUGE amount of concern over not just your own desirability as a new mom because your body has changed so much, but you worry that it’ll hurt, or you won’t feel things as you did before. You also worry about what your partner will be thinking, especially if they were in the delivery room.
"It sounds silly, but that was something I thought about. My husband had seen all manner of things during the delivery (including poop because let’s face it, that’s really common during vaginal births) so as a new mom facing sex again, you struggle with knowing this person saw you at one of the most vulnerable moments imaginable. So naturally, you worry they’re thinking about that the first time you have sex after giving birth… or at least I did. The relief that came after that first time back in the saddle — it was palpable, at least for me. I think, too, that while postpartum sex didn’t feel better physically, it was better emotionally — it was almost like our bond was stronger if that makes sense? That’s what made postpartum sex amazing.”
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