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Everything You Need To Know About Sex After Childbirth

Baby’s out, and in addition to wanting to keep it alive, I’m sure you’re wondering something equally pressing: how fast can you put your dick back up in your woman’s cooch? Bad news: it might be a while, and neither of you may even want to. Or you might, but she doesn’t. Or she might, but you don’t. It’s a strange and confusing time, and as a veteran of baby-having (fine, I did it once), I can give you some solid advice here: don’t try to put your dick in there at all until she says it’s okay to try. Even then, it might not go so well. There’s no way of knowing, and there’s only so much you can do. Sorry.

Better yet, don’t think about your own penis right now at all, soldier. Her vagina has gone through a lot. Her vagina has just come back from the war. Her vagina just wrestled a bear on the floor of Congress. Her vagina was just in a horrible car accident and it’s unclear if there are any survivors. A woman’s health practitioner I know uses that same analogy with her patients: after the crash, you take the car to the body shop, and you get it back and it seems totally new again, like it’s all been put back together. And you get in and drive it and feels mostly normal, but you quickly realize something is just not quite right.

If that happened to your dick, how fast would you go around putting it into stuff? (On second thought, don’t answer that.) Experts on expectant and new fathers say that men have completely unrealistic expectations about sex after a baby, including the fact that they might not feel that into sex due to lowered testosterone. But even when they are super horny and attracted to their wives, they are frustrated and don’t know what to do.

Here’s what to do: take one for the team. Just accept with grace and humor that her vagina is out of commission right now, for at least four to six weeks, and roll with it. Every once in a while you’ll read about a woman who was chomping at the bit to get back on a dick two weeks after a baby, but the medical recommendation to wait four to six weeks is not because you can’t be horny before then. You can. It exists because your body isn’t ready to take a dick yet until your cervix closes back up. Respect the cervix. Here’s a good rule: If she can’t even put a tampon up there, because her cervix isn’t closed, she can’t put your dick up there, either.

This, by the way, is true whether or not she delivers vaginally or via C-section. That’s weird, I know — shouldn’t her vagina be fine if the baby was surgically removed through her abdomen? Well sure, it won’t be torn or anything, like it could be with a vaginal delivery — 90 percent of women who deliver that way do tear. But regardless of how birth happens, she will still bleed for four to six weeks, and women who deliver via C-section can still experience pain during sex for months. Plus, she would also be healing from abdominal surgery, which in part means hanging out with some staples in your stomach.

Don’t forget, she’s also possibly nursing the baby, you’re definitely all losing sleep, and everything is a surreal slow motion daydream/nightmare. She might have the baby blues, or worse, postpartum depression. You might have the baby blues or postpartum depression. I, for instance, literally winced every time I peed, so I had to fill up a perineal bottle with warm water every time I had to go, and then hose off my vagina while peeing so the acidity of the urine would not scorch my privates off. That was fun.

But that’s not all! It’s not just that your wife/girlfriend is a car accident victim in an adult diaper right now. There’s a whole bunch of other shitty stuff you should realize also might be happening to her aside from the bleeding, even if you’re feeling super hot yourself:

  • Incontinence (She might pee herself for no reason, or whenever she laughs or sneezes, and it might burn while healing)
  • Weird body image shit (I, personally, felt like a 100-year-old walrus)
  • It hurts (To me, a dick felt like a steel cube at first)
  • Her shit hurts too (Fecal incontinence)
  • Vag lock (Apparently the vagina can contract in a way that doctors call “guarding,” to protect it from greater injury while it heals)
  • Infection
  • Fucking tired
  • General aesthetics (She’s wearing these mesh underwear with that giant pad, dude, give her a break)
  • Nursing (Can make the libido tank)

In spite of all this, you will still, bewilderingly, find articles geared toward women for how satisfy their husbands and make sure they don’t feel left out while all this is going on. I’m all for working on sex and making sure everyone’s needs are met when you’re both like, functioning people, but Christ on a Swiffer you have to let people sit some rounds out for actual medical fucking bleeding and shit.

In other words, you should still be physically affectionate, but don’t try to get a bunch of hand jobs and blowjobs out of it. If she wants to give you a bunch of blowjobs and handjobs, let her! If she doesn’t, don’t say a fucking word! Don’t even ask her! Don’t even mention it! Definitely don’t make her feel bad about it. What you could do is suggest that you go down on her, though, or anything else she wants. Feel it out. See if she’s into it.

Now, that said, at some point you should try to get your physical relationship going again. A lot of people say booze helps. And at some point, if there’s still pain or sexual indifference, get that checked out — one survey found that over a third of women put up with uncomfortable or painful sex for months after childbirth, too embarrassed to seek help, or because they thought it was normal.

But lots of couples will go everywhere from a few weeks, to a few months, to a full year without sex after a baby, and as crazy as it sounds, it’s all within the range of normal. Whether you can actually grasp this or not, you need to be a complete hero and try: There is no physical transformation that will more greatly fuck with a woman’s ideas about her body, for better or worse, than pregnancy and motherhood.

But one survey found that 69 percent of mothers (heh) were actually satisfied with their sex life a year after birth. Most of that was directly related to how stressed out they were. If you’re good at reading subtext, you’ll realize that the biggest thing you should be doing right now is everything she needs you to, and everything you possibly can to help with the baby, the house, the shopping, the cooking, etc.

The second thing is you can let your partner know that you still desire her — that you actually find her attractive and sexy — and that you’re open for business whenever she is. Just make sure it doesn’t ever come across as pressure to perform. All this hinges on you checking in with her, seeing how she’s feeling, and following her lead. Doing all this will pay off. “If the relationship is strong and you keep your perspective, sanity and sense of humor, then it will be all good,” one father said of the wait. “The romance returns.”

For what it’s worth, it’s just as normal for a woman to want to resume sex as soon as possible after childbirth, as it is for a woman to not enjoy it, even with all the lube in the world. Either way, just take it slow when you try again. Doing it again can be really emotional for men and women.

The key here is to put her needs first until she’s healed and more comfortable as a mother, and then, if necessary, move things back toward dealing with yours. But if you demand attention just like before, you may as well be another baby she has to tend to. And that’s never going to get you laid.