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The Best Way To "Ease Into Sex" After Having A Baby

If you're a new mom, here's how to get readjusted to loving sex...again.

Motherhood

Hormones. Adjusting to your new baby's all-over-the-place schedule. A lack of sleep. Internal body image issues. The low-key fear of getting pregnant again before you're ready (real talk). When you've just had a baby and you're trying to get back into the swing of what helped you to conceive in the first place, it can present all sorts of obstacles and issues that aren't talked about (in a public setting), nearly as much as it should be. It's not that you don't ever want to have sex again; it's more like you need some help getting from "wanting to want" to do it to actually doing it—again.

As a doula, I've helped many women (and patient partners) navigate their way through all of this. Whether you're just had a baby, you're weeks out from giving birth, or you're thinking about getting pregnant and you're wondering how it will affect your sex life on the back end, these 10 tips are practical ways for you to ease back into coitus after conceiving.

1. Get Cleared by Your Doctor

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While it's a pretty standard assumption that a woman should wait for six weeks to have sex again after giving birth to a child, you might be surprised to know that many health professionals actually say that many ladies are good to go after three. It all depends on how well you're healing and if you're physically (and emotionally) up to it. But whether you experienced a vaginal birth or a cesarean (in all honesty, you probably will need six weeks in this case), it's important that you get a personal green light from your own physician before you get the party started again. Otherwise, you run the risk of contracting a uterine infection or even having some level of postpartum hemorrhaging.

2. Take a Probiotic

While this particular tip might seem a little odd, I'll break down why adding a probiotic to your diet regimen is so important. One thing that has been the reality for you, pretty much since you saw a positive sign on your pregnancy test, is your hormones have been all over the place. Well, aside from flushing out your system by eating fresh fruits, veggies and lots of water (so that detoxing can balance you back out), something else that can bring some balance to your hormonal system is a probiotic.

Since around 70 percent of our immune system is actually located in our gut, a probiotic can help to bring more good bacteria to that area of your body which will ultimately help to balance your hormones so that you can get to feeling more like your old self again.

As far as the best probiotics to take, click here for the kind of strains on the back of the bottle that you should be on the lookout for.

3. Do Some Kegels

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If you had a cesarean, one thing you won't have to worry too much about is getting your vagina back into tip-top shape. But if you did experience a vaginal birth, kegels can really come to be your best friend when it comes to tightening your vaginal walls back up. While the reality is that your vagina will probably not fully return back to its pre-birth shape, time and kegels can get you close to around 80-90 percent. To tell you the truth, kegels is something that all women should do on a regular basis because, if a baby doesn't "shift" our vaginal walls, aging can cause our pelvic floor to become weaker and more fragile as well. Besides, kegels can do all sorts of other things for you like increase blood circulation to your vaginal area (which can intensify your orgasms), help to stop any bladder leakage that you might be experiencing and help to give your back and hips some additional support. For tips on how to do kegels correctly, click here.

4. Openly (and Mutually) Share Your Emotions

When you have a baby, everything is a "new normal"; to a certain degree, this includes your sex life. While it can certainly help to share what you're feeling with your physician and close friends (especially if they happen to be mothers too), the reality is they aren't the one who's having sex with you; your partner is. That's why it's so important to be willing to share your thoughts, concerns and maybe even fears with him and that you allow him to do the same with you. This isn't the time to get super defensive, self-conscious or to put up walls.

A foundational component of a thriving sex life is open communication.

The more you both allow the other to share their feelings, no matter how potentially awkward those feelings may be, the greater the chances are that the two of you will develop a newer sense of trust for one another—the more you'll feel wanted and needed on an unconditional level that goes way beyond the physical. And when two people are at this point and place, the sex has the potential to be so much better than it ever was before.

5. Bring the Romance Back In

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It's kind of crazy that someone who is (usually) under 10 pounds can literally take over an entire house the moment they come inside of it. Suddenly it's like, whatever your baby wants, they cause you to forget that you have your own wants and needs too. This is another area where finding a sense of balance is so crucial. Although it may be a while before you're either up to going out and down to fully trust someone to watch your child while you do it, don't forget that you and your partner can still bring romance into your home. For starters, check out my article, "10 Romantic Dates You Can Go On (In Your Own Home)". Beyond that, be intentional about speaking each other's love languages, participate in some orgasmic meditation, give your man a nice massage (then have him return the favor). In a thriving sex life, before sex, there's foreplay and before foreplay, there's romance. As you ease back into having sex again, following this pattern can make getting back into the swing of things, so much easier for you to do.

6. Be Open to a Lil’ Oral Warm-Up First

If intercourse feels too uncomfortable, the first couple of times that you try to get back into the saddle of things, remember that oral sex is always an option. It's a pretty dope one too since a lot of women are able to experience orgasms a little quicker (and easier) that way. Not only that, but if you focus on receiving cunnilingus more during this time, that can help to bring more natural lubrication back into the picture as, again, your body is getting back used to you having sex again on the regular (if you need to bring in some lubrication during sex, by all means do, please). As a bonus, fellatio can be a good way for your partner to be able to get some of his own sexual pressure off until you're feeling better about having sex more consistently. Shoot, it's not like his sperm doesn't come with some health benefits for you in the process (check out "Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm"). Just sayin'.

7. Try Positions That Leave Your Breasts Out of It

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Any woman who's ever had a baby before (especially if she decided to breastfeed once her child was born) can vouch for the fact that figuring out how to "process" breasts is no easy feat. When you were growing up, they were all yours. When you got into a relationship, you sexually shared them with your partner. Now, you've got a little person who wants to cling to them constantly for sustenance's sake.

Shifting between all of those gears can be confusing and a little overwhelming, at times (not to mention the fact that your breasts don't actually feel the sexiest or most comfortable while they are engorged with milk). So, if you kind of want your breasts to sexually be off limits for a while, don't feel the least bit guilty about that. The workaround is to get into sex positions where your breasts aren't a major focal point.

Ones that immediately come to mind are spooning, the corkscrew, the flatiron, doggy style and the leapfrog (which is a variation of doggy style). If all of these names have you looking at your screen like, "huh?", Women's Health has offered up 46 sex positions, including pictures. You can check 'em out here in order to grasp a greater concept of what each position looks like.

8. Don’t Decide How Your Partner Sees You on Your Own

Not too long ago, I checked out the movie Conception. Although it had no Black people in it (I know, right?), it really was cute and offered up some super realistic moments when it comes to how women handle body image struggles after giving birth. As a doula, I'll be real with you—more times than not, bodies do change after having a baby; ones that take some time to get used to. Your breasts may not be as firm. Your tummy will probably not be as tight. You might have stretch marks. Your skin may have some discoloration. We already touched on the fact that your vagina may be looser. Listen, you just gave birth to a whole human being; that alters things.

But if there's something that a lot of women concern themselves with, if there's one thing that they really shouldn't obsess too much over, it's the feeling that their partner will not desire them in the same way because of all of the changes. Girl, that couldn't be further from the truth. First, if you're someone who wasn't really up to having sex during your entire pregnancy, your third trimester or even simply a few weeks leading into your due date, if you add to that the weeks of healing following giving birth, your partner has been waiting for a minute. He's gonna be nothing short of thrilled to get some again, regardless. And secondly, most of the men I've worked with (via being a doula) finds the woman who delivered their child to be a superhero. No joke. The fact that their partner was able to handle physically bringing a child into this world, earns that woman a level of respect and admiration that didn't exist prior to their son or daughter being born. And that can be really sexy to a man.

So, don't create fictional movies in your mind by assuming that just because you are feeling a little self-conscious (which is totally understandable) that your partner is looking at you with the same critical eye. Oftentimes, those full breasts, extra thickness and tiny lines are sexy AF to your partner. Hey, if you don't believe me, ask him.

9. Ease Slowly into It

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Do you remember back when you gave your virginity (I don't like to use the word "lost" unless it's related to trauma; we know where our virginity "went")? If you were with an unselfish person who truly cared about you, he was prepared to take things slow because the first few times getting used to sex was probably awkward, uncomfortable and maybe even painful. That moment in time can actually help you to prepare for this one. While you do pretty much know what to expect when it comes to sex, getting used to it while your body is still getting readjusted can also result in awkwardness, uncomfortableness and maybe even a little bit of pain. There's no need to rush into what you're not fully ready for. Take your time. The more patient that you and your partner are with one another, the more at ease you will become, and the better sex can be (again).

10. Remember, Your Baby’s Too Young to Know

When you're trying to balance your sex life with a new baby, sometimes, you've gotta get in where you fit in. While I'm personally not a fan of babies being in the bed, pretty much from day one (co-sleepers are a dope alternative, though), whether your baby is in your bed or in the room with you, don't worry about if you've got to have sex with them in your presence. A lot of professionals say that babies don't start to cultivate lasting memories until around the 14-18 month mark and even then, it's usually nothing too substantial (lasting memories start to occur around three or so). So, have sex…whenever. Your baby won't remember a thing. Promise.

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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