Everyone warned me that having sex would be impossible once the baby was home. But for me, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
When I got pregnant, one of the things people told me was to make the most of intimacy with my partner. They said sex would be a distant memory after I had my baby.
I was warned that we wouldn’t have time for sex, that we wouldn’t find the energy, and that it would be the last thing on our minds. I was even told that lots of couples break up after a baby.
Of course this worried me — we’d always had a decent sex life, and we were very intimate emotionally, too.
I knew things would be different once our son was born, but I didn’t want to lose the physical intimacy that’s so important in a relationship.
I was even more worried when around 4 months into my pregnancy, I completely lost the ability to have an orgasm.
At the start of my pregnancy, nothing had changed. In fact, I found my sex drive had increased and I could reach an orgasm very quickly. But it all came to a halt when I hit 16 weeks.
We were still having sex, but it didn’t really do anything for me. I still enjoyed the physical intimacy, but not being able to orgasm left me feeling sexually frustrated.
I started reading and found that my sudden drop in sex drive could’ve been due to hormonal changes — but I was worried it would never come back. I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life never being able to orgasm.
The problem was also psychological — I didn’t feel attractive anymore. My boobs were growing and so were my nipples, which I felt embarrassed about. My stomach was growing too.
My pregnant body was so different. Although I knew the changes were normal, I didn’t like the feeling of my partner being able to stare at my body during sex. Perhaps I felt a little more ‘seen,’ and my body worries were stopping my ability to orgasm.
Every time we were intimate, I was more in my head about it. I felt even more worried when I heard other pregnant women say they experienced an increase in stimulation. They said they couldn’t get enough sex.
I thought there might be something wrong with me.
Reaching orgasm became even harder because I just knew it wasn’t going to happen. It was like my brain totally blocked the hope that I was going to be able to climax. I expected to be disappointed, and though the sex was still good, I was left feeling dissatisfied.
It got to the point where I wasn’t even interested in having sex. We would try for up to an hour and I still wouldn’t orgasm — which put pressure on me and made me worry that my partner felt like he wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want to make him feel bad because the problem was with me, not with him.
I would grow more and more frustrated the longer we tried. Eventually, I came to terms with never being able to get true, physical enjoyment from sex ever again.
The first time we had postpartum sex, we decided to try and ‘get me off’ again on a whim. I wondered if anything would change… and it did.
It took just 10 minutes to climax, and I had the most intense orgasm of my life. It was like 9 months of built-up frustration had released all at once.
It was amazing.
After doing some research, I found that many women report higher sexual satisfaction in the postpartum period. It was such a relief knowing that my body wasn’t ‘broken’ and that it had started to ‘work’ again.
Because I’ve been enjoying sex so much, we’ve started to do it more and more regularly. I experienced the complete opposite of what people had warned me about — our sex life has been amazing.
We’re lucky to have a really relaxed baby, who rarely cries unless he’s hungry (I hope I haven’t jinxed it!). He sleeps well throughout the night, so we always make time to have sex, no matter how tired we are or how late it is.
We make an effort to remain as intimate as possible because we believe it’s important to stay emotionally and physically connected.
Having a newborn can be really hard. Your relationship with your partner needs to remain healthy in order to get through the tough times together.
I wish I hadn’t listened to those comments about never being able to have sex again. If you’re someone who, like me, is worried about what people say — don’t. Everyone is different, and just because some couples are unable to make it work, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to.
Trust what works for you, and do it when you’re ready.
Allow your body to reset so that you can get complete enjoyment from it. If you feel like you and your partner are becoming distant, don’t ignore it — talk about it.
Both physical and emotional connection are so important. Not only will the connection benefit you sexually, but it will help you be the best parents possible for your little one.
Hattie Gladwell is a mental health journalist, author, and advocate. She writes about mental illness in hopes of diminishing the stigma and to encourage others to speak out.