Sex after a baby is not going to be the same for a while, it's as simple as that. This may cause you anxiety—that's totally normal.
Women put a ton of stress and pressure on themselves to be perfect; the perfect wife, the perfect sex kitten, the perfect mother who somehow has time to work, take care of a baby, and still be sex-ready at a moment’s notice. How exhausting, right?
If you chose vaginal birth, you’re going to need to heal. You just pushed a seven pound human out of your body for God's sake! If you chose a cesarean, you just underwent major surgery to have a tiny infant pulled from your stomach. I think you can have a minute, don’t you? Would you expect your partner to want to hop back into the sex after a huge surgery of their own? You don’t need to put ungodly amounts of pressure on yourself to be rearing and ready to get down and dirty with your partner 11.34 seconds out of your hospital gown.
Let’s talk a little bit about the vagina and giving birth. Your cervix, once responsible for holding your baby in to cook during pregnancy, grows from three to four centimeters to TEN centimeters to allow the baby’s head to pass through. That is some magical, Wonder Woman-level stuff. And as hard to hear as this is, 70% of women will experience some vagina tearing or require an episiotomy (an incision between the anus and vaginal opening) during their first vaginal delivery.
According to Healthline, the vagina becomes softer and more flexible during childbirth but “when delivery occurs rapidly or with excessive force, the tissues can tear. In most cases, the lacerations are minor and easily repaired.” While there are very rare cases when more serious tearing can occur, there are simple ways to sew you up and get everything squared away. That said, sex and be irritating to those repairs, and understandably, you'll need some time to heal.
Sex after a baby doesn’t return to normal right away, but the vagina will absolutely bounce back in time.
According to Psychology Today, you should picture the vagina as the following:
“Imagine a hand towel stuffed inside a thick sock squeezed by two hands. The sock is the vagina. The towel is the folded muscle tissue of the vaginal wall. And the hands are the pelvic floor muscles that surround the vagina.”
The muscle tissue has the ability to stretch (literally to allow a baby’s head and body through it) and bounce back to its original state. The old tale of how childbirth (or being a downright slut) can make you loose is straight up fantasy.
Of course, modern media doesn’t want you to think everything will be fine on its own, do they? Never mind that the female body is an absolute glory—the vessel for human life, NBD—I know you’ve probably seen the ads for “vaginal rejuvenation” pop up everywhere from ads during your morning news, to your work email inbox, to your evening commute.
There are companies that will tell you you need to "fix" your post-baby vagina. You need to get that “husband stitch” or treatments that use “radio-frequency energy to gently heat tissues for immediate tightening and collagen stimulation, increased blood supply and increased nerve stimulation.” Some will offer “miracle vaginal rejuvenation to turn back the clock” on your lady bits.
Hear me when I say: DO NOT listen to any of these ridiculous ads and scams! They, like so many companies geared towards “women’s health,” are actually designed to exploit your insecurities. If you feel crappy about your body, that company makes money. They keep telling you need to fix yourself in some way or another to snag a partner (or keep one happy), whether it be Brazilian waxing, scented tampons, or vulva face lifts, all of this is centered around convincing you to buy something you do not need, and may actually be detrimental to your health.
This exploitation becomes especially violating when it comes to post-baby sex. Women are already worried about their bodies. We’re held to unfathomable expectations to have our butt, tummy, and thighs bounce back (not to mention our minds if you suffer from the extremely common postpartum depression), let alone our now “cavernous vagina.” Playing into an already vulnerable woman's post-baby fears is honestly disgraceful.
Those Victoria’s Secret models and Instagram hotties are not accurate or normal representations of what will happen post-baby (sorry, but Gisele is not real life). Let’s talk turkey—your body will always bare the marks of your child’s birth. They are not flaws—they're battle scars.
See More: Want to Get Pregnant on Your Honeymoon?
No matter what nonsense tasteless advertisers feed you, sex will go back to being relatively normal after a while. You just need to give it time. The vagina is capable of outstanding miraculous things. After all, it is literally designed to accommodate a human head.
Don't freak out if sex is painful or uncomfortable the first few times you try it post-baby. It will take time to heal and it will take time to get used to the changes in your body. You may have new stretch marks now, perhaps your stomach doesn’t look like it did when you were a 24 year-old anymore. That’s really OK. You are beautiful and should enjoy and revel in your body and all it is capable of. So, relax. You’re not weird. Your husband or wife is not going to think you are some gross, icky monster after giving birth to your child.
If you want to “tighten up,” do some kegel exercises. Simply hold in your muscles like you’re trying not to wee yourself for two to three minutes per day. These are a good idea for every person, regardless of gender, as strong kegels help you hold in your pee when you get older (so you don’t wet yourself when you laugh or sneeze).
Because, as we know, the only thing that changes a face, arm, leg, butt, vagina, or vulva is age. The vagina can bounce back for a long time, but like any muscles, the older you get, the looser things become. Welcome to being a human.