Having a child changes your life completely. You and your family have to get used to a whole new way of living. In one day, you can experience the painful physical effects of childbirth, an emotional roller coaster of tears and joy, and bone-deep exhaustion. Eventually, it does get easier because humans are adaptable! You find a rhythm and start to relax just a bit and enjoy your new baby.
Eventually, you may (or may not) become interested in resuming sexual activity with your partner. Most providers recommend waiting at least 4-6 weeks after childbirth before having sex. However, there is no timeline when it comes to postpartum sex and every person is different. You may feel like you need longer than six weeks to feel comfortable having sex again. Once you’re looking to reconnect with your partner on an intimate level, keep some of these things in mind.
Think about What Intimacy Means to You
Intimacy doesn’t necessarily equal penetrative sex. Intimacy in a relationship is a feeling of being close, emotionally connected, and supported. Sex is often a mechanism for intimacy, but so is cuddling and watching your favorite movie. As you think about what brings you pleasure, consider other ways you can fulfill your desires and experience intimacy with your partner. Especially if you don’t feel ready for penetrative sex. Other ways to cultivate intimacy include:
- Practice romantic but non-sexual touching. Such as a daily hug.
- Cuddle in bed.
- Mutually masturbate.
- Take a walk and talk together.
- Ask your partner about their favorite memories and listen intently.
- Find a new recipe and cook a meal together.
- Try out a new hobby together.
Reconnect with Your Body
After childbirth, it’s easy to feel like your body doesn’t belong to you anymore. Especially, if you’re breastfeeding. This can translate to not being fully present during sex and other intimate moments. Reconnecting with your body can help ground you. It’s important to take some time for yourself away from a new baby (when possible). These activities can help strengthen your mind-body connection.
- Baths – Don’t forget the bath bombs or bubbles to make it extra special.
- Physical Activity – After your doctor okay’s physical activity, consider easing into physical activity with a short walk around the block. Bonus points if it’s a sunny day.
- Meditation – Check out free meditation podcasts and apps. Guided meditation can give you the skills to be present in the moment.
More than anything, it’s important to communicate with your partner about what you need. This may be a new situation for both of you, so don’t forget to listen to their needs as well. Try to have this conversation when you’re not holding a crying baby and/or otherwise distracted. These questions may help you think through some topic areas you want to communicate about.
- Are there new areas that are off limits? Such as breasts or a soft tummy?
- Would it be helpful to schedule a time to be intimate? It may be unrealistic to expect spontaneity at this time.
- Is location important? Lights on or off?
- How will you let your partner know when things become uncomfortable?
- Do you have a preferred position?
- What are your expectations about the experience?
- What are you most looking forward to about being intimate?
Set the Mood
What makes you feel sexy? Is it a new lingerie set? Or the process of lotioning up after a hot bath? Take your time setting the mood before intimacy so you feel ready and prepared. Enjoy a healthy dose of foreplay to heat things up. When the moment comes, give yourself grace and take it slow if you need to. It’s not uncommon to experience vaginal dryness after childbirth so consider having your favorite lube on hand.
Even if the first time you have sex after having a baby is awkward, it will get better! Enjoy exploring with your partner, who knows, this new chapter may bring the best sex of your life.
Sara Fails is a health communicator and content strategist. In her free time, she enjoys living vicariously through Black heroines in fantasy novels and having dance parties with her toddler.