5 Ways to Sexually Reconnect after Giving Birth
You’ve had a baby and now you’re trying to figure out how to get your groove back.
There are many ways to reconnect with your sexual self, and there’s a different path for everyone. There are three pillars you need to tend to in order to cultivate a healthy and satisfying reentry into the sexual space. These are physical, emotional, and social wellness.
This will hopefully be just the guide you need to get back and there.
The first pillar is physical wellness. Physical wellness is all about making sure your body is physically ready to engage in sexual activity again.
The decision to begin having sex again is 100 percent a personal choice; however, medical professionals recommend waiting at least six weeks before getting back in the saddle. This gives your body proper time to heal. Also, the lochia, discharge of leftover blood and uterine tissue, has probably stopped by then.
Outside of just waiting until your body is up for penetration, there are other ways to prep your for sex. Pelvic floor exercises, like kegels, strengthen the muscles that support the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. A stronger pelvic floor directly contributes to a more pleasurable sexual experience. You can take a warm bath prior to sex to help with possible discomfort.
Other viable options are taking it slow and incorporating a lot of foreplay. You want to make sure the body is good and warmed up. A massage goes a long way to relax and relieve any tension or anxiety. Also taking time to admire your body or feeling your partner caress your skin and make you feel more at ease.
What are sexual aides, you ask? Lubricants, sex toys, sex furniture and more.
Maybe you’re experiencing vaginal dryness. Lube is perfect for this! There are many kinds out there, so you’ll more than likely find one that works best for you.
Explore the world of sex toys. Buy a glass dildo and place it in the freezer for a cooling affect. You can place this on your genitals if things heat up a bit more than you’re ready for down there.
Maybe a certain position is uncomfortable. Try placing a pillow behind your back to change the angles. Or maybe a kinky chair to help support you. The sexual world is ripe for the picking.
The second pillar is emotional wellness.
Emotional wellness includes being self-accepting and self-aware. You just brought another human being into the world. That took a herculean amount of effort and shouldn’t be discussed lightly. For some it’s a smooth process. For others it may have been a traumatic experience. Also, you’re now living with a newborn. This can surely have its difficult moments. It’s hard to get in the right frame of mind for sex when you’re dealing with lack of sleep, anxiety over your role as a parent and/or body image issues.
If you’re struggling with self-image issues, then focus on building back your confidence. Be patient with yourself. Use kind words when describing yourself. You just created life. Of course, some things have changed; regardless of what the IG “snapback” post imply. Spend time naked and admiring yourself.
Maybe start with self-pleasure before you try partnered play. Take nudes. You don’t have to send them if you’re not comfortable with that. You can even delete them as soon as you take them.
Give Yourself a Break
Hire a sitter or let a family member watch your child. Remember just because you are alone doesn’t mean you have to have sex.
This break is for you to spend however you see fit. Reconnect with yourself and/or your partner without the presence of children. Stress is a major contributor to sexual disfunction. Believe me it’s hard to find satisfaction when your mind won’t stop racing. There are a lot of ways to be intimate that don’t require penetration if you’re not ready for that. Some examples include sharing a warm bath, incorporating affection into your daily ritual (kisses, words of affirmation, cuddling, etc), oral sex, and sending erotic photos to each other.
The final pillar is social wellness. Ever heard of the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Well, social wellness is all about your support system. It’s all about maintaining harmonious relationships and recultivating connections to help you feel supported.
The biggest way to do this is by communicating. You don’t have to go this alone. Talk about what you’re going through. Talk with your doctor. Talk with a therapist. Talk with your partner(s). Whatever you do, don’t keep these feelings bottled up. Talk about what some of your concerns are and set boundaries that make you feel more comfortable.
For me I didn’t want to participate in any breast play while I was still breastfeeding. The idea of accidentally squirting someone with breast milk was too weird for me. Also, it can become uncomfortable mixing the sensations of erotic play and my boobs filling with milk. Once I stated that, I was much more comfortable participating in sex knowing that was no longer my concern. Open communication is always the best route to go. Discuss what your desired experience looks like. Discuss what’s off limits. Discuss all of it.
It’s important to feel heard and cared for after giving birth. Being honest with your partner(s) and explain what you’re feeling and what you need. Carve out some time for self-reflection to examine the why or things and some possible solutions. Remember sex is often a team sport. Trust your teammates to have your back.
Sex after childbirth can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. You are in control. You decide when you want to make your debut. You decide how you want that experience to go. Remember to be kind to yourself. Practice patience and honesty. Explore your options and discover your new sexual identity. Giving birth doesn’t have to be the end of your sexual journey. The adventure is just beginning.
Tia Freeman is a sex educator and reproductive justice advocate based in Nashville, Tenn. She runs slipp3rywhenwet.com.