The first time you and your partner have sex after giving birth, may feel a bit daunting. Here are some thoughts that may be valuable for a pleasurable experience.
Ask yourself if you’re ready for sex yet or do you just feel like you *should* be having sex again.This question isn’t just about whether your vagina feels ready but about all of you. Are you interested in being sexual but not ready for penetration (with fingers or a penis or a dildo)? Is it your vagina that doesn’t feel ready or is it you as the new person you are now? Are you overwhelmed and over exhausted and the issue isn’t your body but not having enough support?
Consider slowly easing back into your sexual relationship. Before jumping right into sex with orgasms and penetration, explore each other’s bodies sexually and see what you are ready for at present. Taking this slower approach can be a more gentle way to ease yourself back into your sexual relationship. Communicate with your partner about what you are ready for and what you’re not sure of. Sometimes it can feel odd to be so careful with a partner you know so well. But while you may feel like you know your partner very well sexually, your body has changed and you have changed. You are both different people now as your lives have made a big shift. This will be a new experience for you both, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Are you afraid there will be vaginal pain? Take some time getting to know your vagina. Lubricate your fingers with coconut oil or almond oil and feel around. Feel your vulva, your labia, your vagina and pelvic floor. Are there areas that are tender or feel thickened with a bit of scar tissue? Spend some time massaging those areas and see how the feelings change. Getting to know these areas yourself and penetrating your own vagina before your partner does can take a lot of stress (and discomfort) out of the picture.
Are you struggling to explore your own vagina with your fingers? Struggling to connect with the area at all? This may suggest a fear or subtle trauma as opposed to an issue with your actual vagina. If this is what you’re experiencing, seek out the support of a body centered healing approach that supports your sense of safety.
If your vagina feels insufficiently lubricated, try taking Silicea Cell Salt and Nat Mur Cell Salt daily to support lubrication. Cell salts are a wonderful, safe, and supportive remedy for health. Be sure to get the cell salts rather than the homeopathic remedies.
Do you feel physically ready but emotionally very vulnerable and a little tentative? After giving birth, most women feel unusually sensitive, open and vulnerable. Sometimes in this state it can feel a little intense, overwhelming or scary to be sexual with your partner. Will it be too much? Let your partner know and, again, just take it slowly and see what you’re ready for. Remember that having sex is a vulnerability that may feel intense after the vulnerability of birth.
Do you feel “touched out” and like you just don’t want any more touching? Is there a way you and your partner can give you a little more space and a little more self care so you don’t feel so at your limit? Is there a way you can establish that your partner will give you a little more attention without you feeling like you have to give in return this time?
Do you need more support in your life and in your days? If you are feeling over your limit in every way, while sex can be nourishing and relaxing, it can also be one more thing that you just can’t handle. If you are feeling the latter, it may be a good time to talk with your partner about what kind of support you are needing. Do you need more hands on support from your partner? Do you need to get out of the house for a couple hours here and there for a little self care? Do you need some time out of the house with your friends? Do you need someone around to help clean? Or for there to be food without you needing to think about it? Think about what sort of help would provide you with a sense that you have a bit of space within yourself.
And if even this question feels like too much, look at the previous blog post, “If You Are Feeling Overwhelmed It’s Not Your Fault” and reach out for further support.
When you do have sex for the first time: Use lubricant. I recommend coconut oil or almond oil, unless you are using condoms, in which case you must use a condom safe lubricant.
Take it very slowly. Make sure you are really aroused and ready.
Ask your partner to check in with you a bit more than usual.
For heterosexual couples - consider you being on top during intercourse and, again, take it slowly.
It is probably going to feel different. This doesn’t mean worse, it just means different. Your body has transformed significantly. You are not broken, you are just different. Some women find orgasms feel different. Some women find positions they previous liked, they no longer like, and vice versa.
Your body may be softer and less strong than you are used to. It’s just a change - possibly temporary, possibly permanent. This isn't necessarily a bad thing!
What about your breasts? You are likely to have a letdown from breast stimulation and/or during an orgasm. How do you feel about that? How does your partner feel about that? Is it confusing for you to have your breasts be both sexual and something for your baby? Can you talk about this with your partner? How does he or she feel about it? Are you comfortable with your partner touching your breasts? Are you comfortable with your partner have your nipples in his or her mouth? How do you each feel about the possibility of him or her getting milk in their mouth?
I used to hear from clients all the time about the painful sex they had after giving birth but since offering these recommendations to my clients, they've found having sex for the first time is free of pain and enjoyable.