No, let’s be serious, though! I have a lot of opinions on having sex after you have a baby, and now you get to hear them. Let us begin with a brief litany of disclaimers:
1. I don’t know your life.
2. There are a billion emotional and psychological aspects to having sex after giving birth which this post is not designed to address. If you don’t want to have sex, don’t! If you’re all touched out and the last thing you want is to have sex, own that shit! You just had a fuckin’ BABY.
3. Wait the six weeks that they tell you to wait. Did I wait for six weeks? No. Is it a good idea? Yes. Let your medical provider feel around up there and then give you the green light.
4. If your partner is pressuring you and you’re not feeling it, smother them with a pillow in their sleep. Call me, I’ll tell the cops we spent all evening together playing Jenga.
5. Mom, Dad, aunts, my one niece who reads The Toast…close the tab, please.
6. This is for people who had babies come out of holes in their junk and now want to put dicks or dick-like objects in said holes. There are many other ways to have babies, and many other ways to have sex.
Okay. Let’s do this.
Let me first outline a common mistake people make in this situation: they have sex at six weeks (when most people get cleared by their care provider to go for it), or earlier (for shame, you hussies!), and it sucks and feels super weird, so they wait another week and try again. It makes perfect sense.
This is the thing, though: it’s not the amount of time you wait, it’s the number of times you do it.
Time doesn’t make having sex post-baby much better. That initial six weeks does, don’t get me wrong. You want to heal up, and you want a medical professional to clear you. But after that, it’s mostly having sex that will make it easier to have sex. I think the magic number is nine times. Once you’ve had sex nine times, it’ll start to feel more like sex, and less like that thing where you get a cavity filled and then you close your mouth and your teeth don’t fit together right, and it feels weird and unnatural for a while.
So, if you have sex once, and it sucks, and you wait another two weeks, and it sucks again, and so you wait another two weeks, and it still sucks, you might wind up having a whole YEAR before sex is fun again.
My recommendation, then, with all the caveats outlined above, and if it feels right FOR YOU, is to try to knock out those first crummy times ASAP. Have crummy sex until it gets good (crummy, but not OH SHIT, bail out immediately if you feel WRONG, you are not a panda on whom the future of your species relies.) Something that also gets overlooked in terrible, one-size-fits-all advice for new moms in this situation: if you’ve ever experienced sexual assault, you may have a VERY different reaction to this than someone who hasn’t! Take extra good care of yourself.
(The reason I basically never write things about kids is that I stuff everything so full of disclaimers that it becomes pointless, but I really cringe when I read things for moms that AREN’T full of disclaimers, so there you are.)
BUT, if you want to go for it, and you feel ready, and you’ve been cleared, and you’re not an addict, and you like slow-moving spy movies, and you’ve been nodding along so far: drink two large glasses of wine first, lube yourself to the gills, listen to your preferred sex music or put Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) on in the background, say “Nicole said this would get better,” and you may just find that it takes care of itself pretty quickly.
When I had my first kid, I was feeling full of lust and enthusiasm and earth-mother-ness and tried to have sex two weeks after. IT DID NOT GO GREAT, TO BE HONEST. I had three stitches in there, and I wound up rearing back and almost kicking my husband’s teeth out. We stopped. We tried again at five weeks. It wasn’t awesome, but I was happy to be doing it. We did it a bunch more times. It still sucked, but sucked less. That ninth time? That was pretty decent.
When I had my second kid, I waited four weeks. It felt totally normal. I prefer not to draw conclusions about what pushing my children and their FREAKISHLY LARGE HEADS out did to my vagina. But I’ll be damned if it didn’t make resuming sex a lot easier.
The other thing I’ll say on this topic is that having kids does not have to ruin your sex life. I work from home, and so does my husband, so that’s obviously a big help. I would say I have as much sex now as I did before I had small creatures running around trying to impale themselves on the edge of my coffee table.
This is the ultimate YMMV situation. If it’s a priority, you’ll do it, if it’s not, you won’t! Sometimes I pick sex over sleeping. I most definitely pick sex over blow-drying my hair or showering or cleaning the kitchen, and instead of folding my clothes I just dump them in a “clean heap” or a “dirty heap.” My toddler sometimes eats a Clif bar for dinner. That may not be where sex falls on your priority list. That’s just fine! It’s not a moral imperative.
If you’re about to have a kid, and people tell you you’ll never want to have sex again, or that you won’t care about sex after you have kids, ignore them. It’s a weird thing that some parents enjoy doing, telling you that your marriage will go to shit and you’ll never sleep again and sex will repulse you and you’ll never see a movie in the theater until they’re off at college. Some people want to be The Ghost of Parenting Future, and they need a new hobby.
They MIGHT be accidentally right, of course. You, as an individual, might care a bunch less about sex than you used to. But it’s not a guarantee. It’s not set in stone. If you’re a die-hard fuck machine, and you want to keep being a die-hard fuck machine, you can do that. I believe in you.
What I do recommend, if you’re a die-hard fuck machine, is having, like, 5% of you that feels like you and your partner are in an us v. them battle with your kids. Be able to eye-roll over their heads at your sex person. Put them to bed too early that night. Put in a DVD. Do what it takes to stay happy and satisfied. It’s better for them, ultimately, I think, if you’re happy and chill, and anything you can achieve as a new parent to make you feel more like your essential self is priceless. Life is not a network sitcom about doltish useless husbands who want sex, and chilly naggy wives who want to avoid it. Just be yourself, whatever that is, and do exactly what you want. I hope you have a rich and satisfying life, and I love you.
Also, for the love of God, bag that shit UP, bc you’re probably gonna ovulate before you get your period back, and can you imagine?
Nicole is an Editor of The Toast.