The thing is, postpartum sex takes a bit of figuring out.
You’re sleep-deprived, your daily routine is all over the place, and your body suddenly feels totally new.
It’s normal to feel nervous when it comes to navigating your second first time, which is basically what postpartum sex feels like!.
Even after your doctor has given you the all-clear to get busy post-baby, postpartum sex can seem really daunting ‒ both physically and mentally ‒ after everything your body has gone through.
But one thing that can help is advice directly from women who have been there, so we asked our community for their top tips for pleasurable postpartum sex.
➡️ Dig deeper: 10 Life-Changing Mom Hacks From Peanut Mamas
In this article: 📝
- How long after birth can you have sex?
- 12 postpartum sex tips from our mamas of Peanut:
- What can happen if you have sex during postpartum?
- What does sex feel like after postpartum?
How long after birth can you have sex?
So, when can you have sex after birth?
It’s a perfectly valid question, whether you’re raring to go or you’re more apprehensive: how long after giving birth can you have sex?
We’ve heard from our mamas on Peanut who’ve had sex 3 weeks postpartum, no stitches, and while that might work for them, the same may not work for you.
Most doctors recommend waiting to have postpartum sex 4-6 weeks after birth, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of situation.
Due to raging hormones, your postpartum sex drive could be revving, or you might have a low sex drive postpartum ‒ or even no sex drive postpartum.
This is all perfectly normal ‒ as we’ve said before, every body, every pregnancy, and every journey is different ‒ if you’re experiencing significant pain during sex after birth, or even some cramping after sex postpartum, sex might be the last thing you want right now.
Take your time if you want, but it’s worth checking with your doctor if you’re keen to get back in the saddle again.
Sex after c-section
If you’ve had a c-section (or cesarean delivery), it may be that you can be ready for postpartum sex a little sooner than a vaginal delivery.
Check with your doctor about when they recommend you try postpartum sex after c-section, but also check in with yourself.
If you’re not comfortable with it, you don’t have to have postpartum sex any sooner than you want to.
What would happen if I had sex 2 weeks after giving birth?
Your body’s been through a lot, mama.
You’ve literally just created and given birth to a whole new human (or two, three, four…)!
It’s not recommended to have postpartum sex until 4-6 weeks after birth, not only because your body needs to heal (at least a little), but because the risk of infection and even hemorrhage is pretty high.
So avoid penetrative postpartum sex if you can, but that’s not the only form of sex…
Oral sex after giving birth
If it’s too soon for intercourse after birth, what about outercourse?
As in non-penetrative postpartum sex?
Well, those can be safe forms of postpartum sex even just a few days after delivery ‒ or the next day, if you gave birth via c-section ‒ but there are a couple of ground rules:
- Try to avoid your vaginal area and perineum, and focus your efforts around your clitoris or other erogenous zones (bacteria can still enter your vagina and perineum, which could lead to an infection.
- Don’t insert anything into your vagina ‒ not even tampons. Again, these can lead to infection.
Bleeding after sex postpartum
If you decide to have postpartum sex when you’re ready, you may notice some bleeding after or during postpartum sex.
This could be due to a couple of reasons ‒ your vagina might be drier than usual, which can cause friction without lubrication, and your vaginal area may still be healing, which can mean it’s more prone to re-injury.
If you have persistent bleeding after sex postpartum (whether you’ve waited until 4-6 weeks or not), check in with your doctor, as they may be able to help with the healing process.
12 postpartum sex tips from our mamas of Peanut:
Now for the juicy details!
If you’re keen to try postpartum sex and you feel you’re ready for it (body and mind), our mamas of Peanut have shared their top tips, based on their own real-life experiences:
1. Connect with your partner
“You have to prioritize quality time with your partner, it’s good for both of your mindsets as you adjust to life with a newborn. Spend time together and look out for one another, it’ll help you feel more comfortable when it comes to trying to be intimate again.” ‒ Jennifer
2. Use tons of lube
3. Start slow
“And don’t have any expectations! You need to set the bar (temporarily) low and not expect a pre-baby night of passion. Go with the flow, have fun, and don’t give up if your first try doesn’t go well. You’ll get there in time!” ‒ Dani
4. Be open with communication
“Communicating with your partner is key. Once you feel like you’re ready, talk to them about how you’re feeling and how you would both like postpartum sex to go. That way, you can air any worries you have and make the experience more comfortable.” ‒ Renee
5. Wait. Six. Weeks.
“So many of us wonder if we can risk postpartum sex by week 3 or 4, but it’s not worth it. Allow yourself that time to heal. It’s a rule for a reason!” ‒ Lauren
6. Use birth control
“It’s true that you’re still extremely fertile after birth, even if you’re breastfeeding. So if you’re going to get busy between the sheets, make sure you check in with your midwife or doctor about what method is right for you.” ‒ Jas
7. Listen to your body and emotions
“Even if your doctor clears you for postpartum sex, don’t feel like you have to get to it straight away. You need to feel ready, both mentally and physically, and every woman is different.” ‒ Michaela
8. Try lots of positions
“Certain postpartum sex positions will be more painful than others, and everyone’s experience will be different. For me, cowgirl was perfect as I was in control and could go at my own pace ‒ but it’s a lot of trial and error.” ‒ Dezi
9. Don’t force it
“Remember that you only need to go as far as you want to. Maybe that’s just foreplay for a while, which is totally OK. Whatever makes you comfortable as you’re getting used to your new body.” ‒ Hannah
10. Treat yourself to new lingerie
“Let’s face it, your body changes a lot throughout pregnancy and after birth. My confidence had hit rock bottom, and that meant my first time having postpartum sex didn’t go very well because I was so worried about how I looked. The next time, I bought new lingerie to help give myself a boost and it really helped.” ‒ Shauna
11. Know it will get better
“Your actual first time probably wasn’t great, and the same can be said for your first postpartum sex experience too. But even if you feel that way, understand that things will improve… It just takes time and communication.” ‒ Heather
“Using sex toys, like vibrators, can be a great way of exploring what works for you in your new postpartum body.” ‒ Tasha
(Psst. Looking for the best vibrator on the market? Our postpartum Peanut mamas love the KURVE, with its soft-pressure tip and innovative curve, you can reach your G-spot with ease. And if you find some vibrations are too intense (or not intense enough), there are 25 treble and bass speed combinations to choose from, so you can pick whatever works for you.)
What can happen if you have sex during postpartum?
It depends on how your body and mind are healing.
Having postpartum sex within the first two weeks can result in infection and hemorrhage, which can be dangerous.
It’s also possible to experience vaginismus after birth, which is a physical reaction that’s often caused by trauma (physical or mental), where the vaginal muscles tighten up, sometimes to the point where nothing can enter, or it causes pain.
Of course, vaginismus, infection, and hemorrhages don’t happen very often with postpartum sex, it’s just worth waiting until you’re ready, mentally and physically.
What happens if you have sex before 6 weeks?
If you have postpartum sex before your body has healed, particularly if you’ve had a vaginal delivery, it can be prone to infection and hemorrhage.
If you want to have postpartum sex before 4-6 weeks, it’s best to have a chat with your doctor ‒ it can feel awkward, but honestly, they get asked the question so often!
What does sex feel like after postpartum?
It’s not up to us to tell you how your body will react to postpartum sex, but we can share a few stories and statistics.
But these aren’t your stories, and you’re not a statistic, so it’s worth remembering that your experience of postpartum sex may not be the same as another mama’s.
Some mamas notice more painful sex after birth, which is perfectly normal.
They recommend using lubrication and taking things slow ‒ you may feel some vaginal dryness, tiredness, and low sex drive postpartum, which are all common experiences.
Postpartum sex pain can also go beyond the 4-6 week wait ‒ some mamas on Peanut have reported experiencing painful sex 6 months after birth.
Again, this is totally normal.
Even when the risk of infection from postpartum sex has subsided and your body has physically healed, postpartum sex pain up to around 6 months is also pretty common.
If your vagina feels “looser” after childbirth, too, that’s a normal experience, and while it should start to “tighten” a few days after birth, you may notice it doesn’t return to its “original” shape.
If this is your experience, the UK NHS recommends doing pelvic floor exercises (also known as Kegels) to tone your vaginal muscles.
How soon can you have an orgasm after giving birth?
It depends ‒ you may notice that you’re slower to orgasm after giving birth, whether that’s via penetrative sex or non-penetrative sex.
But if you’re trying to orgasm via non-penetrative postpartum sex, you may be able to just a few days after birth ‒ just be sure to avoid the vagina and perineum.
As for orgasm via penetrative postpartum sex, your preferences might have changed a little (after all, your body and mind have both been through a lot!), so try different positions, different forms of foreplay, and take your time.
There’s no rush when it comes to postpartum sex ‒ you do you.
Why can’t I climax after having a baby?
This is another pretty common experience with postpartum sex.
You may find it harder to orgasm or even to get aroused in the first place.
There are actually a lot of reasons for this ‒ not all of them physical:
- Your estrogen levels have been getting lower since birth.
- You may be exhausted from looking after baby.
- You’re spending a lot of time with baby, which doesn’t exactly get you in the mood.
- You may still be healing, physically and mentally.
- Your body may not have the same preferences as before ‒ switch it up and try something new!
- You may be experiencing some postpartum depression, which can affect your sex drive.
If it’s a while since you gave birth and you’re having issues with intimacy and arousal, speak with your doctor ‒ whether they recommend medication or someone to talk to, that may be able to help.
There you have it, 11 real-life postpartum sex tips from our mamas of Peanut and some handy answers to your postpartum sex questions!
If you’re looking for your community of mamas to talk to about all things postpartum, join Peanut ‒ we think you’ll fit right in.
💡 More on postpartum life from The 411:
5 Ways to Advocate for Yourself During Pregnancy and Postpartum
Your Guide to Postpartum Swelling
Your Guide to Postpartum Anxiety Symptoms
How to Deal With Postpartum Gas
10 Ideas for a Nutritious Postpartum Diet
A Guide to the Best Types of Postpartum Massage
Postpartum Exercise Tips
An Intro to Postpartum Yoga
Why Do I Get Postpartum Night Sweats?
Postpartum Hemorrhoids: What You Need to Know
What’s Causing My Postpartum Headache?
How to Manage Postpartum Hypertension
What to Do About a Postpartum Rash
Pregnant Dating: 7 Tips for a Great Experience
Your (Realistic) Postpartum Workout Plan
What are the Best Postpartum Pads?
Does Female Masturbation Cause Hormonal Imbalance?
Who Feels More Pleasure: Male or Female?
Condoms for Women: All You Need to Know