The birth of a baby doesn’t have to mean the death of your sexual activity.

Here’s a real-life look at what you may experience when it comes to sex post your bundle of joy arriving.

1 You actually might find yourself really keen to get right back “in to the sack”. Yes, you read that right, that was not a joke. Despite the horror stories you may have heard, some new parents are really excited to sexually connect again. You might find yourself looking at your partner in a new light. With a new appreciation for their support during the birthing process and seeing them bonding with your child, it can create feelings of connectedness and in turn arousal and desire.

2 Ok, so number one might seem like a fantasy (it’s not, trust me). Instead you may find yourself so bone tired that you literally could not think of anything worse. Bed is for sleeping. Sleep is all you want. Sleep is all you need.
Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.
Don’t. Even. Touch. Me.

3 When you do actually start considering that you might like to try and get it on again you might then start worrying obsessively that your lady parts are ruined. Stretched. Scarred. Ugly. Yep, I have heard words like these many times. Clients have told me they hate their vulvas and that they are pretty sure they are “a hot mess down there”. Vaginas are actually quite amazing. They are tough. They can stretch to accommodate a baby (some say watermelon, meh, baby/watermelon same/same) but they rarely stay that way! Learn to love the uniqueness of your vulva and vagina (if you still have trouble with this go to www.labialibrary.org.au and check out all the lovely labia photos there).

4 It might feel different. Yep, when you do engage in sexual activity (most people wait for the go ahead from their doctor after an examination and the green light to go for it is usually about 4 – 6 weeks depending on things like post-natal bleeding or tearing (whether there were stitches or not). Sometimes vaginal penetration literally feels different. This is not uncommon. It can also hurt. Yes. It might, but not always. Many women are worried so this can cause anxiety which in turn does not make for good relaxing sexy time. Your partner might even be worried they will hurt you too. Talk about this. Try some different positions. Go slow. Use lube. Lots of lube. Did I mention lube?

5 Your boobs might leak. Yep. Super sexy hey? (Some people actually like this. Others find they want the ground to swallow them up.) Again, talk. Communicate. Laugh. It’s not going to be like this forever. Breastfeeding can also change your usual level of lubrication, so… Use lube! (See point 4.)

6 You might find that you are not able to really get “into it”. You may think you want to be sexual but when it happens it seems that all you can think about is the baby. “Babe, did you hear that?” “What’s that noise?” Here are a few tips on this: first, turn the monitor off. If the baby is in your room, don’t worry, its ok, remember they actually don’t know what you are doing. Make noise if you want. They are babies. They do not know what is happening. If that still freaks you out, go into another room.

7 Some women love the changes in their body that come after giving birth. They feel proud and sexy. Other women struggle with the changes, finding their stretch marks and soft round bellies are something they want to hide. If this is you, remember, it took a whole 9 months for your amazing body to make that baby and it might take even longer to bounce back. It can help to dim the lights, light candles, get some new lingerie (and yep be sure there is room for your breast pads) or even just a new pair of undies. Speak to your partner as you may learn they have a very different view about your body than you do.

Finding a way through these barriers in order to re-establish a healthy sex life after a baby is challenging for all these reasons and more. Sometimes talking about it and getting support is the best way forward to deal with your specific concerns so that you can get your sex life back on track. If you wish to explore this further, we have appointments available for individual therapy or couple therapy depending on your needs.

Naomi Hutchings

Clinical Sexologist