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Debunking 3 Myths on Sex After Pregnancy

    We have had few articles on sex after pregnancy. GetLusty is working on changing that, starting off with debunking myths on sex after pregnancy. Mary-Margaret Sweene reports. Admittedly, she is childless. However, like a wonderful journalist, Mary-Margaret did some investigative reporting and interviewed several of her friends with children.

    * * *

    I had lunch with a friend of mine who had recently become a mama. When the topic turned to sex, she poked at her salad and replied, "Oh, you know. It is what it is. At first it's non-existent. But then it's, like...weird." Weird? Weird how?

    "I don't know. It happens at weird times. And it's quiet. And sometimes it happens in weird places. Wherever the kids are not at the time."

    "So it's like prison sex?" I joked.

    My friend put down her fork, looked at me, and blinked. "Yeah," she said. "I guess it's sort of like prison sex."

    I imagined our master bedroom a cell. With little soundproofing between us and the cell adjacent, containing little criminals we'd brought upon ourselves. Who were they to steal our sex lives from us? This after nine months of forced sobriety, too. I used to glow when I saw my husband hold a friend's baby, imagining our own wee ones to come. But after that lunch, I practically grimaced when my husband noticed a kid at all. "Careful," I warned. "You give it a bottle and soon it's 1971 and we're living in Attica."

    But I started to consider that most couples have multiple children. How did the second one come about if sex virtually disappears after the first kid? I felt that caring so much about the future of my sex life, when stacked against the joy and responsibility of child-rearing, would be seen as immature. But as my concern persisted, I realized that I didn't much care how I was perceived by anyone but my husband. If sex was important to us, we needed to weigh how it would impacted by children.

    First, I took to the internet. A quick Wiki search told me that six weeks postpartum, 57% of American women have resumed intercourse. By three months, 82-85%. The numbers were encouraging. But, I'm a social scientist. I wanted qualitative, and not just quantitative. A couple of my mama friends weighed in to debunk my top three fears of post-baby sex.

    #1 Sex is not going to be as good as it once was.

    "Sex got exponentially better for me postpartum.  Before I had a baby, it was very difficult for me to orgasm during sex. After having sex four weeks after I had my daughter, sex actually felt good for the first time.  I didn't orgasm the first time I had sex postpartum, but I was close.  After the third or fourth postpartum sex session, I was orgasming regularly.  It was awesome. Something about childbirth and pregnancy must have done something to my body that just made sex easier and more enjoyable." --L., early 20s, one child with another on the way

    "It was nice to have sex whenever, wherever [before having kids]. But my body got way more sensitive in all the best ways after having kids. I don't know why or how, but it's great." --A., mid 20s, two children with another on the way.

    Hmmm. That doesn't exactly sound like death row to me. 

    #2 So who cares if the sex is better if you don't have any time for it?

    "Sometimes you just have to make it happen. We're lucky to have family around who will take the kids over night. There's also a chance for sex in the early morning or late evening. Sometimes during nap times. Sometimes you're dead tired but it's been way too long for both of you. Usually sleep trumps sex but certainly not all of the time." --A.

    "Life with children is really not as terrible as depicted on TV shows. Your house is not always a huge mess with food/fecal matter/crayons all over the floors and walls. Kids aren't running around screaming 24/7. We always had time for sex, though it may not have always been at night.  Sometimes you have to get creative and have sex on the living room couch while the baby takes a nap in the middle of the day!" --L.

    #3 What if you're nursing?

    "It can be a bit embarrassing at times until you get used to what your body will do. I almost always leak milk when I get close to an orgasm. It can be a little alarming at first, but now we both just know that if I'm still breast feeding, there's going to be one extra bodily fluid around afterwards. Whatever, right? Sex is kind of sticky and wet anyway." --A.

    "If my boobs were full of milk in the morning and I hadn't nursed my daughter yet, and we wanted to have sex, I would just make sure not to "squish" them in whatever position we utilized.  Breast feeding did, however, scare me into wearing a bra during sex.  I'd read that milk can spray out of your nipples during an orgasm, so I didn't want to take any chances by having sex topless.  My partner didn't mind; I don't think he was too keen on getting a milk shower." --L.

    It seems that a healthy sex life can remain so after baby. To ensure a smoother transition into sex after pregnancy, start communicating with your partner now. What fears do the two of you have? Can you talk one another through them, find a book, ask your doctor or a friend?

    And of course, sex is not just defined by intercourse. While you're waiting to heal, I'm sure GetLusty can give you plenty of ideas for non-intercourse sexy fun. 

    Are you a parent? Share with us how you still GetLusty post-baby!

    Mary-Margaret McSweene is a writer and graduate student in Chicago. Her undergraduate degrees are in Social Justice Studies and Feminist Theory which basically means she knows how to ruin a dinner party by calling bullshit on another guest.

    She spends inordinate amounts of time thinking, reading and writing about feminist issues, punctuated by brief respites to enjoy good tea and good beer. Contact her at or follow her on her brand new shiny Twitter, @MMMcSweene. Email her at
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