So...it's inevitable that at some point you will have sex postpartum. Yes, it's true. Even squeezing in the thought of sex is a chore for most women. That was definitely the case for me.
I know this may be TMI for anyone who knows me but I don't care. I think this is a really big topic to talk about. Everyone needs to know that's it's okay to be completely exhausted and sometimes grossed out by the thought of sex in postpartum.
I'll start with a short bio on my family as reference. I have three kids (18, 12 and 5) and a lovely husband who I will refer to as "Monkey" from here on out. My older two are boys and from a previous marriage. and my youngest - a girl - is our toughest, and our last. The older two were so long ago that I don't even really remember postpartum sex so here's my experience with my last:
I delivered her vaginally at 39 weeks with slight tearing. I went home...I was able to keep all three of my kids alive (Yay me!)... and I was exhausted. When I got the okay from my doctor for sex and physical activity, I actually laughed. I had no desire for either.
A few weeks later I finally decided it was time to give sex a go. Not only was I nervous, but tired, and feeling dirty (but not in the sexy way). I did't know it at the time but I was also battling with PPD...but that's a talk for another post. This is the perfect storm for no bootie, but I did it anyway.
Since we're now getting to the nitty gritty, I'm going to introduce you to my vagina, Marcy. Yes, I believe she deserves the respect of a name. I will also refer to her as if she is a real person because, damn it, she's been through a lot and has lived a great life. Marcy was still angry with me about delivery when Monkey and I were attempting our first go at sex postpartum. Marcy was still somewhat tender and dry as a desert. We tried foreplay for a while and it did help but nothing like before delivery. Having completely forgotten about this one I didn't have any lube just sitting around the house. After giving foreplay a chance I thought, "alright, let's do this". I was still not completely into it and Marcy was like, "Girl....what are we doing here?" I agreed but let her know that this was happening whether she liked it or not.
She fired some warning shots but no matter how much foreplay happened she was not giving in. Then she let me know upon penetration that we better take it slow because she was still feeling thin from the stretch of delivery. I assured Marcy that we were going to take it slow and stop if things got really uncomfortable. She proceeded to get even more angry as things progressed but I thought she would definitely get over it soon. She didn't. She started to really tense up which made for even more uncomfortable friction due to the dryness. It was very clear that I was losing this fight. After giving it my all, she won. I was sore, a little irritated and frustrated because the baby was now up. Monkey went to work while I sat the rest of the day with Marcy saying, "I told you so". ALL! DAMN! DAY!
The moral of this story: it takes time for your body to fully recover...and it may not be at the 6 week mark or whenever your doctor says its ok. To be honest, you may have some numbness in the vaginal area (interior and exterior) for a few months once you get past the initial tenderness.
If you choose to talk about this topic with friends who have "been there, done that" you will probably hear a lot of the following: Be sure to have some sort of lubricant available for your first few attempts as the body may not be ready to take care of this one on its own. Remember that even if you want to be into it, your body may not agree with you. Emotions play a big role too. Your libido may be non-existent until your hormones really get back into check...and you start getting some sleep. During sex, stay in constant contact with your partner to ensure everyone is on the same page so you don't injure yourself. And most importantly, talk to your partner about how feel about sex. Let them know your fears, how it feels, whether or not you're ready and how to stay connected in the meantime.
Everyone experiences sex differently in postpartum. This is my story but it may not be yours. I'm sure your experience will be more unicorns and rainbows than mine was.
Disclaimer: We are not doctors. Wait until you get the okay from your doctor to attempt sex in postpartum and make additional contact if things just don't seem to be right.