relationships
Are We There Yet?

When You Can Start Having Sex After Childbirth (And When You Should)

It’s likely that all the hubbub of bringing another human into the world will keep thoughts of sex after childbirth at bay for a bit. There’s just too much else on your mind. Like the crushing responsibility to keep this helpless creature alive, for instance. Aww yeah. In the mood yet?

Eventually, though, the spark comes back. Depending on your and your partner’s libido, the friskiness could occur around 6 weeks, which most doctors agree is safe (if a bit unlikely). For others, getting back to business time can take many more months. Whenever that moment comes — your eyes meet over a pile of burp cloths, her hair tousled from sleeplessness, the spit-up stain on your shirt bright in contrast to the dark bags under your eyes — there are some things you’ll both need to consider.

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Think Of The Children (Just For A Sec)
It should be obvious but bears repeating that everything you’re about to read assumes your new, extremely loved, most favorite little rooster-defender is sleeping soundly or being watched over by a trusted relative. Now … onward.

Pain Is Temporary
But, yeah, it could happen due to healing from episiotomy or perineal tears, dryness from hormonal changes, or other factors, like the fact that she just pushed a human through place you’re poking. Take it slow with plenty of kissing, massaging, sweet talking, and touching (so, everything you should’ve been doing all along). If things don’t get going, she can take a pain reliever (if she isn’t already), enjoy a hot bath, or invest in some plain old artificial lube.

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Communication Is Key
That goes for before and during. Particularly during. She should lead so things stay comfortable and as painless as possible. Acknowledge if it feels different, because it might; there could be loss of muscle tone, which makes the whole friction thing so nice. It’s temporary, though, so neither of you should sweat it. Pleasure is important, but the real point is that you’re maintaining intimacy and not losing each other in a desert of bottle-washing and disco naps.

Keep The Spark Going
If you’re not up for for doing the deed, experts suggest talking about other ways to keep things lively. Talk, flirt, Snapchat the crap out of each other all day — just stay present. When those precious quiet moments do come, indulge in each other’s presence. It’ll happen eventually, and it’ll be great. Just keep a lid on another pregnancy for at least 18 to 24 months.

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Causes For Concern
If there still isn’t any sex drive after a year, it may be time to start a different conversation. Particularly if the lack of sex drive is accompanied by anger, unhappiness, and trouble bonding with the kid. These could be signs of postpartum depression and should be taken seriously. Not just for her, but for you, too.

One thing to remember throughout all of this: It’s sex. There’s no instruction manual. If there was, your freshman year of college would have been way less awkward.