Sex after childbirth—it’s possible. Here’s how

Sex after childbirth—it’s possible. Here’s how

Having a child can be a joyful and profound experience, and it’s one that is accompanied by many changes. You’ll immediately get acquainted with dirty nappies, throw-up, and you’ll probably start sleeping in chunks of just a few hours.

If you were pregnant, you’ll also likely notice that your body has changed after giving birth—possibly a lot. You might feel tender, sore, and uncertain about when—if ever—you’ll be ready to resume intimacy.

We think the topic of sex after childbirth is one that isn’t discussed enough, but it’s an important aspect of postpartum recovery that many new parents will navigate.

Here, we’re going to look into what you can expect from your body after birth, and how you can begin to return to the intimacy and sex that you once enjoyed.


First up, it’s really important to recognise the intense changes that can occur in a person’s body during and after pregnancy and childbirth. The process of giving birth, whether vaginally or via. a caesarean section, can lead to significant trauma to the muscles around the stomach, pelvic floor, and vulva. On top of that, hormonal fluctuations, the challenges of breastfeeding, and postpartum bleeding can all have an effect on how much you might desire intimacy and sex after birth—and what your body might be capable of doing.

It's absolutely vital for new parents to listen to their bodies and prioritise their own comfort and well-being after childbirth. It’s also really important to acknowledge that there’s no timeline of when you ‘should’ be having sex again—pay no attention to the celebrities who seem to ‘bounce back’ after a week, every person’s body is different and every person may feel different after giving birth. 

Some might feel energised, overwhelmed, stressed, thrilled, achy, or just flat-out tired—there’s no right or wrong way to feel. Don’t rush your own recovery; and take time to communicate openly with your partner about how you’re feeling, both physically and emotionally—write letters to each other if you need, or consider engaging a couples counsellor or sex therapist if you need some extra guidance. Fostering an open and honest dialogue can help address any anxieties or fears you might have, and create a sense of intimacy and connection, something particularly important as you start this new stage of your life as parents.

A really common concern that a lot of new parents have about resuming sexual activity after giving birth is the fear of pain or discomfort, especially during penetration. For this reason, it's really important to take things slow and listen to your body. You should really always only engage in activities that feel comfortable and pleasurable, but particularly during this time! Focus on what feels good, even if it means you’re much more limited in what you’re doing now than what you used to be.

If you notice that some things that once felt good or exciting now feel different, or have lost their appeal, don’t worry. As your body changes and recovers you might find that some activities aren’t as enjoyable anymore, while others become more interesting. Instead of hard and fast penetration, for example, start with outsource (which is still sex!) you might gravitate towards oral, mutual masturbation, using toys together or even hand stuff, or just start by kissing with tongue on the couch. Start slow and ease your way back in, rather than diving head first into rougher play. If you’re more kink inclined you might find it really sexy to try sensory play again or describe your fantasies to your partner or share some ‘dirty talk’.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if you’ve experienced perineal tears or other complications during childbirth, your recovery timeline might be a little longer than you expect. We highly recommend seeking guidance from a medical professional prior to resuming any sexual activity in this case. A professional can provide guidance on when it's safe to resume intimacy, and potentially recommend exercises or treatments to help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and promote healing.

Ultimately, we believe that the key to navigating sex after childbirth is patience, understanding, and open communication. Listen to your body, prioritise your comfort and wellbeing, and don’t hesitate to reach out for some extra support when necessary.

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