What My First Time Having Sex After Giving Birth Felt Like

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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I had many medical appointments in the first few weeks after having my baby, so it was easy to bring up my concerns about sex with my doctor face-to-face during my routine check-ins. I asked her about the pain I felt and how it just would not and could not go into me, like, “Is this something I should be concerned about?” She assured me it was common and normal, but didn’t give any indication as to how or why sex hurt so much. She’s one of the best ob-gyns in Los Angeles, but she had a very clinical approach. There wasn’t a whole lot of, “Oh, I know how you’re feeling!” The guidance I got was: Use some lube, and if sex continues to hurt, let’s get you tested. (I’m not sure what she wanted to test for, but hormonal changes and complications from the delivery, for example, can make sex hurt.) It was very matter-of-fact.

After that, I was a little in my head about the pain—I knew I’d have to relax, fully sync, and get super comfortable the next time. Again, there was never any pressure from my husband, and there was never a set plan to try to have sex again, but, one day, the mood struck. There wasn’t a whole lot of conversation in the moment, but he briefly asked me if I felt ready, and I was like, “Yes, let’s do it—let’s try.” This time, we used coconut oil as a lube, which definitely eased the pain. It still hurt, but having slipperiness in the mix was a game-changer. We didn’t use lube before I was pregnant, which is why I didn’t immediately think of using it, but it eased the friction.

It still took some time for the pain during sex to dissipate altogether—my nerves played a role, too. It’s like getting a shot in your arm: You anticipate it really hurting, so you tense up. That fear went away after a few more times, at which point it felt like our bodies fit together and sex even started to feel good again.

After we crossed that threshold, it was like, “Oh, we did it!” But it’s not like our sex life was instantly restored. It kickstarted a long journey back to having sex regularly, which for us, looks like sex that’s spontaneous, on a near-weekly basis, and in a range of positions. First, there was a bit of a lull—we were doing it about once a month—as I dealt with the long list of things you think about after becoming a mom. You’re constantly like, “Okay, at this time, my baby needs to be napping, at this time they need to be feeding, and at this time, I need to be doing this! And this! And this!” It’s hard to step out of that incessant logical thinking. It’s like your brain is wired differently.

Physically, there was a lot going on, too. As in: You carried a baby inside of your body for the past nine months and now they’re just always on you—whether you’re feeding them or they’re sleeping on you. That phrase “touched out” is so real. You can get to a point where you want everything else to go away—you’re giving so much of yourself to your baby, and it can be hard to make room for anything else, sex included.

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