Parenthood Sex

Sex After Baby: My Search for Community, Connection, and Cunnilingus

Trigger Warning: This article contains mentions of rape and sexual assault as well as birth-related trauma. 

This article is not a step-by-step guide about ways to get ready to have sex again. It’s an intimate account of my search for helpful and sensitive information and community to share my own experiences and struggles to reclaim my sexual self after giving birth. This is written mostly from the point of my heterosexual experience but I try my best to provide information that is universal. I hope that this article can provide a safe space for you to start or contribute to a conversation that can help you to heal and reclaim yourself again. 

I had a relatively “normal” birth experience. My water broke at a Firehouse Subs, an hour later the contractions started, I labored for 10 hours on my own and then I went to the hospital for an epidural. My child came rushing out the next afternoon, happy and healthy, weighing a hearty 9lbs. And let me tell you, after the epidural wore off, I felt all of the ways in which he made his debut. 

My recovery was harder and not as “normal”. I had some placenta left in my uterus for 10 painful days after giving birth. I needed to go to the emergency room to be examined, which caused so much terror for me because I was already having a hard recovery. Luckily the ultrasound showed the placenta and I had an amazing doctor take care of the surgery. But that didn’t make the pain any less. They had to go back in vaginally, and the pain afterwards was like I had given birth again. 

I am a survivor of rape and sexual assault, and the moments leading up to giving birth were some of the scariest moments for me. Was I going to have a nervous breakdown? Was I going to shove every doctor away from me who was trying to check on me? How would my trauma affect my birth experience? Would it exacerbate it? How would I communicate my needs to my midwives in a way that allowed me to feel comfortable and empowered while also letting them do their jobs? These thoughts plagued me. When I did finally go into labor I had the most empowering experience I have ever had. I felt strong, capable, and confident. I was incredibly lucky that birth gave me back what had been taken from me all of those years ago. Especially when the opposite experience is more common for survivors of sexual assault and rape. 


What I found was article after article telling me that what I needed to do was communicate my needs, lube up, relax and go for it.


Then came the 6-week check-up, when most women are given the OK to have sex again. I’ve never been okay with pelvic/vaginal exams and this was no exception. It was traumatic, but I did it and I was given the green light for sex. The absolute last thing on my mind was having sex again. I have an incredibly loving, kind, and supportive partner who never once made me feel pressured or uncomfortable about sex. We talked about it a lot and I expressed my fears and my needs, but it was still a while before we did have sex. My body and mind were so different than before I had a baby. I didn’t think about sex, my body, or my partner in the same ways I did before. There were so many challenges to overcome and I was starting to miss the closeness and connection that those intimate moments gave me with my husband. I was so worried things would never be the same. 

So I took to the internet. What I was really looking for were stories of other people who gave birth and what they went through emotionally, mentally, and physically leading up to and during their first sexual experiences post-baby. What I found was article after article telling me that what I needed to do was communicate my needs, lube up, relax and go for it. I understand that it’s a process, but I was not okay with some of the advice that was being given, specifically one article that gave the advice of “go home and throw the guy a bone” that the writer had given to her friend after she admitted that it had been at least 6 months since she and her husband had sex. I was horrified reading that. Of course women in heterosexual relationships think that we need to “throw men a bone” because that is a product of the patriarchal society we exist in: the needs of the man surpass the comforts of the woman. There is a huge divide in the type of information available to men and women about sex after having a baby. 

When I searched for information from the “man’s” perspective on sex after having a baby, I read a lot of stories saying that they were starting to feel unloved or hated, impatient or eager, and even stories that claimed that not having sex was just as hard or harder for the man than it was for the woman. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. There were men that said they were patient and seemed more concerned about the comforts of their partner than needing sex, but there weren’t many. 

The information available to those in lesbian relationships is much less, and for those who identify as trans or gender non-conforming the information is non-existent. 


I felt like I was having sex for the first time again.


Conversations about sex in the mainstream are becoming more predominant, but we still have a long way to go until normalization. My first experiences with sex after having my baby were hard. There was a lot of physical discomfort but the hardest part for me was overcoming mental hurdles. All I kept thinking about those first few times was how I pushed out a nine pound child and now I have the source of my child back in my body. It was so foreign. I felt like I was having sex for the first time again. I never pushed myself to keep going, any time I felt like it was too much we stopped, and my partner never once made me feel badly about it. Of course we missed having sex with each other, but it was the closeness and intimacy that we missed most. Before we had Max, that’s how we chose to express our intimacy. It was easy then, we didn’t have to think about it. 

We did find other ways of staying intimate, but we still worked towards becoming comfortable and learning about each other sexually again. We communicated a lot about what my new needs were, and honestly most of the time I didn’t know what they were. We paced ourselves and eventually we found a new rhythm. Some people take much longer to get to the point where they feel comfortable having sex again, some people jump right back into it, some people are in between. Having sex with another person means that it’s also the shared responsibility of your sexual partner to be conscience, caring, and respectful of your needs. I don’t want to give any advice because I feel like you can google “sex after baby” and it’s there. What I do want to do is encourage you to follow your instincts because they are real and true. I want to create a space for you to start conversations around sex and parenthood. I hope that you can find comfort and community in this space and know that you are absolutely not alone. 


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