Sex And Libido Post Birth - Where Did It Go And How To Get it Back
Libido, AKA sexual functioning…
AKA the role that estrogen, progesterone and testosterone play in sexual desire…
It’s a difficult little bugger to understand, predict and pinpoint. But guess what? You’ve just had a baby so you don’t care that you have low libido… except YOU DO because you are a woman and you are constantly worrying about other people over yourself. And right now you’re probably worrying about you and your partner’s SEX LIFE and general relationship change since the arrival of your new red, wrinkly, squeaky, hungry snuggle-puff (AKA your baby).
“Why don’t I feel like having sex?”
Well post-delivery hormonal changes may make vaginal tissue thinner and more sensitive. Your vagina, uterus, and cervix have to ‘return’ to normal size, too. Females are generally at the peak of their libido or sexual desire just before ovulation - and chances are, you won’t be ovulating… YET.
“Should I be having sex?”
You don’t need to be having sex if you don’t want to, your libido is low, or you physically think it’s too early for you. Every woman has a different birth story and their bodies deal with the trauma of birth in different ways.
Once you feel a little more recovered, like you’ve had more sleep, and life ‘settles’ into some semblance of normality, you’ll find your libido and sexual desires will return, if a little differently.
“How long should I wait before having sex post birth?”
There’s no definitive timeline that says how long you should wait to have sex after giving birth. However, most doctors recommend women wait four to six weeks following a vaginal delivery but even then you may still need to take things slowly. Your vagina needs a little holiday after birth and the previous 9 months!
You may also need to wait longer if you have a perineal tear or episiotomy during labour. An episiotomy is a surgical cut to widen the vaginal canal. Returning to sex too soon may increase your risk of complications.
After a delivery by cesarean section, vaginal sensation can also be affected and the same hormonal changes, can make the tissues of the vagina dry and thin, possibly leading to painful sex.
Recovering from major abdominal surgery is also extremely difficult! The incision should be properly healed before having sex again - all good news if you feel your libido is still rock bottom.
“Will sex be sore?”
“Why does sex feel different and uncomfortable?”
Sexual intercourse might be sore, or uncomfortable post birth. And if you feel you want to stop, then STOP. You are in charge of your own body and you know your own limits. Alternatively, try a few different positions or avoid intercourse for a time, and focus on mutual masturbation, use externally-focused pleasure products and work from there.
Sex in general may feel uncomfortable and/or different for you, but unless you’re feeling pain or extreme discomfort, this is normal. By simply relaxing, focusing on yourself and your baby, and by being kind to yourself, you and your partner will forge a new, more emotionally-connected relationship which CAN involve sexual satisfaction for you BOTH - because we’re still working on closing that orgasm gap!
“Is this all normal?”
These feelings are absolutely normal, and something which every new mother experiences, and often for the 2nd, 3rd etc babies too… You are normal and and are now part of the ‘Mum Club’ - a wonderful, supportive, terrifying, but proud community of like-minded first timers muddling through and trying to do our best, and laughing when our best is the WORST!
"Where should I start?"
Talk with your partner about how you’re feeling both physically and emotionally.
If you do feel ready to resume sex, use lubricant - every time!
Focus on mutual masturbation and foreplay and if you haven’t already, now really is the perfect time to try your first sex toy or pleasure product. I would absolutely recommend Pause or Play for external, clitoral stimulation, allowing your vagina as much recovery time as it needs.
And well done legend! You have created a human, you have grown your family, and the fact that you are still focusing on your relationships means you are a wonderful person.
Now go ahead and put YOURSELF first!