Guest written by Courtney and Katie, a Doctor and Certified Midwife/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner who provide expert advice and evidence-based information to empower parents in achieving understanding, support, and health in the postpartum period.
Your sexuality doesn’t have to come to a halt when you become a parent.
It can be normal to experience a wide range of emotions after giving birth: you might feel a major shift in your identity from being a sexual being to becoming someone’s parent. The person in the mirror might not look like the YOU that you remember. Your hormones may feel like they are all over the place. You may feel touched out at the end of the day and sex might be the last thing you want to think about. Rest assured that this very real, very exhausting, time frame is limited, and postpartum pleasure IS possible!!
In the immediate six weeks postpartum, your body is undergoing some major changes, shifting from being pregnant back to a non-pregnant state. It is necessary to allow yourself time to heal from giving birth. Hormonal shifts naturally occur during and after pregnancy. If you are lactating, your estrogen levels remain low in order for the milk hormone to remain high. With lower levels of estrogen, vaginal tissue may be thinner, drier and more prone to small tears or abrasions. What does that mean for sex? Well, it might mean that penetrative sex can be painful. Nobody has time for that. The good news is, this is temporary, but in the meantime, you may ask “Is there anything I can do about this?!” And the answer is, ABSOLUTELY!
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First and foremost, take good care of yourself. Go to your postpartum appointment and make sure that you are physically healed and ready for sex. Got the go-ahead? Then the next questions is, do YOU feel ready? If not, it’s ok to give it some time. Intimacy and sex doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Small steps are just as good as a big leap. Communication is the key to unlocking postpartum pleasure. Talking with your partner and letting them know what feels good and what doesn’t, is essential when it comes to pleasure. What felt good previously might not feel good now. Breaking down barriers by talking can help you to get focused on having fun. It’s not uncommon for new parents to have a hard time getting or staying in the moment- there is usually a list of things that need to be done or things to worry about. Try to get your mind in a sexy space: dim the lights, put some music on, give yourself permission to relax, and have fun. Adding a game like The You and Me Game Bundle, encourages exploration and fun.
Foreplay and lubrication cannot be stressed enough during the postpartum period. Both will help with the above mentioned dry vaginal tissues. Foreplay can be auditory, visual, oral, or stimulation. Lubrication is something that can make sex go from wow… to WOW! And should be celebrated! Haven’t used any in the past? No need to feel overwhelmed or ashamed by the thought of using lube! Lovers is your go-to place to find all the different lube options from silicone to water-based and all those in between. Finding a good lubrication is a very personal journey that can lead to a lot of fun along the way! PS: We LOVE Uber Lube!
An important take home message is that postpartum sex shouldn’t hurt. If you are experiencing pain, take things slow, use more lube, and try a different position. You can also try using soft Silicone Stacker Rings for penetrative sex to limit the extent of penetration as you ease back into things. If the pain continues, reach out to your provider or schedule an appointment with a pelvic floor physical therapist who can help you get back to feeling good.
Don’t be afraid to try things solo so you can learn the new you. Solo play can help ease your nerves and see if there are any painful spots before trying partner play. Discover how things feel at your own pace and pressure. A clitoral stimulator like a vibrator can bring on those much-needed orgasms without penetration. They vary in price, material, speed and even noise. Lovers also has a great selection on internal sex toys, sex furniture to help with different positions, as well as sexy lingerie to spice things up.
If your provider has suggested strengthening your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises, you can take them to the next level with the We-Vibe Bloom. These soft vaginal weights add a bit of resistance to your kegels and you can increase the weight as your muscles strengthen. Oh, and did we mention it vibrates too?
All in all, our best advice? Have fun- good sex changes and evolves. Don’t be afraid to try new things, experiment, and share some funny awkward moments with your partner!