Sex After Birth – Will Sex Feel The Same Again?

Sex After Birth - Will Sex Feel The Same Again?

One could easily come to the conclusion that after the big stretch of childbirth, that surely, things aren’t going to be the same anymore.

But fortunately for women, vaginas are not like a favourite pair of undies that have been worn for years on end.

There seems to be a common misconception that women having a c-section will come out on top with regards to sex after childbirth.

But as Allison Hilbig (a physiotherapist, specialising in women’s health with a graduate Diploma in Childbirth Education) explains, it’s usually the other way around.

“Firstly, it’s important for women to understand that the vagina is designed like a piano accordion – its actually designed to stretch open. Memories of trying to insert a tampon for the first time or the first sexual encounter may suggest to women that giving birth to a baby will be even worse. But the body is very capable and in fact designed to do this. Another help is that the baby is slippery, covered in vernix or at least wet with amniotic fluid. This lubrication will help the baby move through the birth canal.”

Not only is the vagina designed for the big stretch of childbirth only to bounce back again, but it has other hidden treasures, which many women have discovered.

“The result of vaginal birth is an increase in blood supply to the area. This can result in women becoming more orgasmic after vaginal birth. This effect may be reduced if the pelvic floor is weak, however a women’s health physiotherapist can teach women how to correctly exercise these muscles to improve strength.

The hormones of labour after a natural birth can leave women feeling incredibly empowered and more confident in their own abilities and their sexuality. Combined with the capability to be more orgasmic, many women find their sex life is better after a vaginal birth.”

Its also important to bear in mind that you may temporarily lose your libido after baby – and not just due to tiredness. Find out why your sex drive may take a huge hit, as well as why your vagina is more likely to be dry in the article, Libido and Breastfeeding.

Pain After C-Section

Something that also surprises women is pain during sexual intercourse after a caesarean section.

“The thought that sex will be better if you have a caesarean is a myth – and a pretty bad one at that! I presented some information at a conference last year, that the best way to avoid dyspareunia (pain during sex) after birth was to have a natural vaginal birth. There were lots of people in the audience who were very surprised that women could have dyspareunia after a caesarean section (even a midwife), assuming it was only after a vaginal birth.”

Allison says that following a caesarean, women may have pain during intercourse which may continue for 6 or even 12 months later. Sadly this is not uncommon – particularly if women don’t find out why and do something about it. So if you experience pain with sex after a caesarean, please speak to an ob/gyn or midwife. These issues are treatable.

What Research Has To Say On Sex After Birth

Sadly, I recently heard a story of a man pressuring his partner to have a caesarean section so her body wouldn’t change – yes, in 2014 – and this is not uncommon. While its not the majority by any means, women also make similar choices, which is not based on good science. All due to a lie that vaginal birth will destroy your sex life. Research says the opposite.

From J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2005 Apr;27(4):332-9

“A comparison of urinary and sexual outcomes in women experiencing vaginal and Caesarean births. Klein MC, Kaczorowski J, Firoz T, Hubinette M, Jorgensen S, Gauthier R.

Overall, both primiparous and multiparous women who had intact (no tear/cut) perineums after vaginal birth had less dyspareunia (pain during intercourse) than those undergoing caesarean section. Vaginal birth 26.2% compared to caesarean section 40.7%. A caesarean is not a guaranteed way to protect a woman’s sex life or avoid incontinence. Women after a caesarean have reported pain during or when attempting intercourse for many months. The best option is for women to experience a natural labour free of interventions and as much as possible free of any medications.”

Repeating: the best way to avoid problems with your pelvic floor at birth is to avoid interventions where possible – this starts with saying no to unnecessary inductions of labour, which are well known to kick off the cascade of interventions. Of course, if you need intervention, then there is not much you can do. Waterbirths are great for supporting the perineum and the mother’s weight during birth.

Real Women’s Stories

Here are a collection of our members stories, shared anonymously on what they noticed about sex after birth.

1. “One thing I have noticed more than anything is that sex is WAY better post baby. It was pretty good beforehand but something has stepped up a notch and WOW, it is SO much better. I feel more sensitive everywhere and whereas before I could only climax once, now I can 3 or 4 times in a row! It’s incredible!!! I feel like I am back to normal ‘down there’. I have asked my husband if it’s still ok and he certainly has no complaints. He’s loving it more because I’m loving it more.”

2. “My active, natural, vaginal birth has definitely enhanced my admiration of my body’s capabilities (that were pretty healthy in the first place), my sensuality, my sexuality and a big HELLO to multiple orgasms!”

3. “I had a caesarean for my first and the pain from sex was unbearable for six months. The second birth was an instrumental vaginal birth with a nasty episiotomy on my unstretched perineum (ouch!) and sex was uncomfortable for about 4 months, but with the last child it was a near water birth and the post-partum blood loss was so minimal that we had orgasmic sex four weeks after the birth!”

4. “Sex has never been better since I birthed my two babies vaginally. More comfortable/enjoyable and much better orgasms. This goes for two of my other friends (one of who had a 10 pound 1 baby vaginally).”

5. “After each of my four children (all born vaginally) I worried so much my vagina would not be as satisfying for my partner. I had lost baby weight quickly and loved my bigger, milk-filled breasts, but it was the ‘vagina-too-loose’ thing that I focussed my apprehension on. That said, I was keen for sex quite early after all births, as I felt it was one way for us to reconnect with each other. Obviously I was lucky enough that my hormones seemed to back up my desire! Although a little antsy, I think we were both relieved to have just done it again – it’s such a big thing ‘that sex after baby’ thing that I think psychologically it can be a hurdle as well as physically.

After my body had a chance to heal, I got the courage to ask if my vagina felt OK and his reaction was a convincing ‘yes’. We don’t have sex as often anymore (youngest child three) largely due to us being enervated by the time the kids are all tucked away, however, I have to say we have better sex now than we ever did sans children. Maybe we realise how precious those moments are and so really make the most of it (don’t know how intimate you wanna get but by that I mean experimenting with different positions, places to do ‘it’!). So I guess ultimately, whether my body is not as taut as it was before is irrelevant, because things are now better than ever – neither of us can complain about that now can we!”

6. “The idea of us having sex after the birth of our first child absolutely terrified me. I was more nervous than I was for my first time. It was only three weeks post partum as I had read that it was a good idea to attempt it so any issues could be discussed at the 6 weeks post natal check up.

The actual act wasn’t too bad – it didn’t hurt, but for me it was the emotional side of sex that had me worried and the fear that it would hurt. So I was very tense and my husband had to work hard to try to relax me first with a massage and just taking it slowly. It certainly didn’t feel any different either, for me it was just like before, maybe even a little better. And a lot of KY makes a huge difference too.

For my husband though, he said he didn’t notice too much of a difference, but then I think if you asked any man they are going to say it is a little different anyway, both from their own expectations of what they think it will feel like after a baby and also that they can’t quite remember what it was like before anyway. Over the years he has made many jokes at my expense about it, the latest being that after this baby (our fourth) that he will need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find his way down there (and that is one of the nicer ones), but in all seriousness, it has been just as great for us as it ever was.”

7. “I have had 3 vaginal births. All intact and all un-instrumental. After the first, it was about 6 weeks or so before feeling comfortable to have sex, and no problems whatsoever, no pain…all pleasure! I had always been able to have multiple orgasms, but when I think about it, they increased after the birth. I am unable to orgasm at all whilst pregnant! How rude!!

The second one, I was so horny afterwards that it was about 5 days post partum when we had sex, and it was awesome! LOL I also found anal sex interesting this time round as I was not using any birth control and this seemed like a safe way to avoid pregnancy. It was also mind blowing as it gave me instant orgasms!

Third baby, older me, took about 8 weeks to feel comfortable, but again once we resumed, it was good! No pain or discomfort at all!”

8. “I remember a few years ago being at a mother’s meeting coffee morning which was themed “Sex After Birth” and the revealing comments were hilarious, we all laughed so much we cried, particularly when one woman said her orgasms were much stronger since having a baby and then everyone in the group provided input in a round and all those who had birthed vaginally agreed unanimously that their orgasms were stronger, and one wonderful mum who was German (strong accent) and had had a c.section was dismayed that she had missed the opportunity to have stronger orgasms and she declared she was definitely going to try for a vaginal birth next time! To hear her exclaim this in such a strongly accented declaration left us all laughing until we couldn’t breathe.”

9. “You know, after Aaliyah was born, it was at least 6 months before Mark and I were able to have sexual intercourse (and, yes, believe it or not, apparently a man can too many head or hand jobs!) When we finally were able, Mark said that yes I did feel more ‘loose’ than I did before…

This time ‘round, he was concerned that I’d feel even looser… but, strangely, I’m ‘tighter’ again, just like I was before Aaliyah – or so he says.

I only had a tiny first degree tear with Aaliyah, and no sutures. Just a minor graze with Hugo, which was healed in days.”

10. “After 6 children hubby reports as good as ever! There is so much emotion attached and that’s another thing, when there has been a bond with woman and man through a great birth (unmedicated, strong woman supportive husband) the sexual relationship flourishes (in my experience) and hey you couldn’t have much more pressure (with other babies etc) I has 3 under 3, 4 at 4, and 6 at 6!!

So when have pregnancy care that includes hubby and a birth that is beautiful with a hubby in awe of you (rather than thinking he needs to rescue you) it works in the bedroom after baby!”

Conclusion?

These experiences don’t surprise Allison Hilbig. “Forget that ‘honeymoon’ vagina,” she says. “Go for the real woman’s vagina following natural birth!”

 
Last Updated: October 13, 2015

CONTRIBUTOR

Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a writer, doula (trained in 2005), and a mother of three awesome children. She's passionate about informing and educating fellow thinking parents and parents-to-be, especially about all the things she wishes she knew before she had her firstborn. Kelly is also passionate about travel, tea, travel, and animal rights and welfare. And travel.


26 comments

  1. Will your vagina feel more looser for your spouse ? I am terrified of this thought .
    I want an honest opinion.
    I am pregnant and want to know how will it feel afterwards.

    1. Honestly, your vagina will not be exactly the same postpartum. For some women, that isnot a problem but for many others they experience varying degrees of stress and disappointment when tampons slide out of them after an hour or two, they have less sensitivity due to nerve damage (even minor nerve damage impacts sensation), and they notice that their labia have been left permanently stretched. Any woman who claims to be “tighter” after vaginal delivery is lying or imagining it – one would have to defy the laws of physics to be left with a tighter vaginal canal after delivery. Women lie more about childbirth than anything else except orgasms. We already deal with enough crap and dishonesty from men, why do we pile shame, guilt and judgment on each other by suggesting concern or upset over our post partum bodies makes us worthless, shallow, undeserving moms? Why arent we entitled to the same full lives that men enjoy without ridicule? Its normal to want both kids and an enjoyable sex life. All I can say is Ive had both c section and vaginal delivery. As far as keeping ones body intact, c section is the way to go. Its not perfect, but it beats vaginal if your main goal is to retain your current condition and want to lessen likelihood of incontinence down the road. Even the best vaginal delivery is still a trauma to your genitals.

  2. I’ve never been able to climax, even after having two babies. I feel so bad because my boyfriend feels inadequate because he can’t make me cum. I’ve explained to him multiple times that it’s not his fault I can’t climax. I’m currently breastfeeding my six month old son so lube it’s absolutely necessary the majority of the time. There’s been only a few times we didn’t need lube. The thought of not being able to climax sits in the forefront of my mind even during sex. I think that makes it even harder to get there. Sex does feel amazing (when it doesn’t hurt; clitoral stimulation is uncomfortable and receiving oral sex isn’t satisfying.). The only time I’ve came close to having an orgasm is while my boyfriend was fingering me at a fast pace. His hand cramped up though, and I lost all of that. I don’t know if I should go see a sex therapist or what.

  3. Vagina’s after birth do not feel tight and young. Hubby just excepts this change . The author would not have any idea and should not have mislead

    1. I completely agree. This is some delusional doula promoting vaginal birth (for business purposes) even though I agree it’s better for mother & baby to deliver naturally but I’ve never heard anyone I know say sex is better after child birth. Is this when your newborn is hanging off your breast 24/7 or sleep deprived ? ? The author is putting more pressure on women instead of supporting them with made up stories.

  4. I’ve always been tight even after having 2 children, I always do kegal exercises and have been doing those since I had my first child. I can’t say as I feel unattractive but after using myotaut serum . I feel more attractive and even tighter than before. It’s perfect and does not leave a mess nor does it burn. It’s great!

  5. OK I just had my baby in February and me and my baby father has been having sex since after I had her and now he’s asoming that I have been messing around when I haven’t he says I feel different down there

  6. My son just turned three. I had him when I was 37, after ten years of marriage. After my son was born, I wanted to have sex within the first week (obviously the birth was vag and no complications), but my husband wasn’t interested. So we waited and eventually did it at four weeks. It felt weird but he really didn’t like it. For the next year, every time we had sex, he would mention how much he no longer enjoyed it because it was too loose.

    I tried Kegels, etc, and, as a professional ballet dancer/teacher and distance runner, I’m already quite fit. Two years post-baby, he still found me too loose for him and asked for a divorce. One of my male friends mentioned that post-baby sex with his wife felt like having sex with a very large sock, so I guess it’s normal to be this way.

  7. Sex has been enjoyable,Lovely,Wonderful after I gave birth.My partner and I started having sex 4weeks after I gave birth.It was too tight on the very first day.It did not fell loose afterwards as my partner still groans and moans sometimes scream out loud when we making love.I come more than 3times in a row while he is still enjoying and groaning.

  8. Plz help me im wondering if the vagina goes back to normal after giving birth. Im quite young and my partner keeps bugging my to have a c section because he doesnt want my vagina to be ruined. This scares me soo much im scared im gonna be a big gaping whole. Plz help does it go back to tight?

  9. honestly, I feel like these “testimonials” are just gathered ones of good experiences. where are the REAL ones. how about a compilation from everyone. how about testimonials from guys

    1. Totally agree I’m calling bulls#*t on these stories. Sex after baby, vaginal delivery, no intervention except episiotomy HURTS! My son is one in a week and I’ve had sex 3 times in a year. Not racing to the bedroom for painful sex anytime soon.

  10. This article is the most biased bunch of rubbish, including the cherry picked stories. According to professionals I had the perfect natural birth, and 2 years later of doing kegals vagina is still way looser and has had a very detrimental effect on our sex lives and relationship. A specialist physio I went to says c section mums don’t get stretching or prolapse issues. After multiple births they can start to get incontinence (which us vaginal births also get). Yes a c section is an operation and has its own risks but they are very minimal, and I would rather too tight for a year than loose for life. This article is propaganda.

    1. Mary, I am sorry you’ve experienced pelvic floor issues, I’m sure it’s been a very difficult time for you emotionally and physically.

      Nothing is impossible, however assisted births (forceps and vacuum) do have a significantly higher risk of prolapse issues than others.

      From Andrew Kaunitz, MD:

      “However, other points should be considered before rushing to the conclusion that elective cesarean to protect the pelvic floor should become routine. Most women with prolapse discovered on examination have few if any symptoms. Furthermore, multiple cesarean deliveries are associated with important morbidities including placenta accreta. Finally, pelvic floor disorders that occur shortly after delivery often improve on their own over time.”

      There are always exceptions to the norm. Yes people do have problems regardless of how they give birth. Genetics can be a factor, weak pelvic floor… which is why we wrote about 6 things which increase the risk of prolapse.

  11. I see ladies are requesting comments from a males perspective. IT IS NOT THE SAME. I am above average size and my wife has just had our third child. I noticed that is has significantly changed after each vaginal birth. Obviously I would never tell her and just do my best to enjoy it(kind of like the size matters concept) She continues to do kegel exercisizes but the fact it vag births will loosen the vagina for sex. Yet another thing I have sacrificed for having kids. Either deal with it or don’t have kids.

  12. I am really disgusted by all of these inmature comments here. It is ridiculous to hear adults still letting missconcieved notions created from unexperienced adolescent boys locker room talk color their thought process.
    The womens body is designed by nature to carry children, give birth and recover.

    First off, let me start by stating how obtuse it is to refer to a vagina as “tight” or “loose”. To do so implies that there is a fixed space that remains a certain size or maintains one shape. There lies the main problem with this thought process. The womans vagina is an accordian like sleeve if you will, with folds of muscle and membranes creating a soft, clinging, “fist” like sheath. It will obtain different degrees of elasticity based on several factors, other then the birthing process, which is an obvious one.
    One of these factors being hormones. When a women becomes aroused, the body reacts accordingly and lubricates the vagina, as well as relaxing the accordian like muscles for easier penetration, sex and fertilization. Its natures design.

    Some of what people are experiencing after childbirth is higher hormone levels resulting in more secretions, higher arousel levels and more orgasms, all leading to a more temporarely relaxed and elastic vagina during sex. The higher lubrication level can also mean to less friction. If your partner has become used to this more intense friction during sex, it can be concieved as less “feeling”. But actually, more lubrication and heat and less friction is considered more pleasurable, thus why there are so many lubes on the market. A more sexually experienced partner whom has experienced a very wet, hot vagina and grown more accustomed to this feeling will attest to this.
    You must stop thinking of the vagina as a fixed void of space. It is more like a rubberband, when stretched open, it still bounces back.

    That said, there are always exceptions to the rule. A perecentage of women may experience elasticity problems if they are predisposed to this issue anyway. But it is both ridiculous and uninformed to assume that chilbirth alone will lead to a larger vagina.
    These are facts about the human body you all should have learned many years ago.

    Now speaking from personal experience, I am 38. My hubby and I have been together since Jr. High, 24 yrs. So this means we have a long history of sex at every age along the way. From starting as inexperienced kids, to now being the proud parents of 4 children. We have always had and still do have a very active sex life. We own our business and are together all day everyday. Which means we have much opportunity for affection and are still head over heals for each other.

    Being together so long has made us very close and honest with one another, no holds barred. We are best friends as well as lovers. We open up to eachother even if it means being brutally honest at times. I assure you my husband is not lieing to spare my feelings when he tells me sex still feels the same, if not better. We have our nighttime, after the kiddos are in bed marathon sex, haha!, and we have our during the day quickies, and he still climaxes very quickly during these quickies when hes not holding back.
    I did and still do kegals after each birth, but honestly that is more pelvic floor health and my body would still have done its job all on its own.

    I am sorry for the long post, but I really hate to see women so worried about this ridiculous stigma put on our vaginas. Will a small pertentage of women have elasticity issues after birth, yes, but those women would have probably had these same issues with age anyway. The fact is, the large majority of women will recover nicely and do what our bodies are designed to do. Do not let these school aged notions deter you from experiencing the beauty of becoming parents, it only stregthens your relationship.

  13. I’ve had one child vaginally at 21. He’s 3 now and I’m almost 25. Me and my son’s father waited way beyond the 6 weeks to have sex and I was definitely really sacred things were going to be very different and unsatisfying to the both of us. I want to add that my parter is very average in penis size, but with that being said he’s always been way more than satisfied.
    All of my sexual partners afterwards have never complained and they have all said I’m tight and small.
    I’m sure if I ever have any more babies I won’t be as lucky.

  14. I still believe it does change the sex life.
    Men are weak when it comes to sex. They can’t live without it.
    I’m a woman myself and we (as woman) we need to consider that they aren’t like us and we aren’t like them.
    Having child is good…..but do it together…..not only because you want but together.

    And don’t have too many children….it will ruin your life more. Having 2 or 3 kids is enough

  15. Sex after a c section is MISERABLE. I wish I couldve had vaginal delivery. All my friends that have had vaginal delivery said the first time having sex after birth was mildly uncomfortable but only for a short whole and then did not feel any different..But both times sex after my c sections has hurt so bad. To the point I’m hiding my face so my husband doesnt see it and feel guilty cause I’m tearing up. And it’s months until it feels back to normal.

  16. I had a VBAC. Stupidist idea ever. I have had 3 surgeries to repair things but I have nerve damage and feel much looser. I read this site a lot before my VBAC and totally drank the natural birth kool aid. It’s just one day! Compared to a lifetime of never running again, never lifting my son again, pain every day. It’s not uncommon, 30% of women get unfixable levator damage from normal vaginal births. And that number is 60% for vacuum, 80% for forceps. I also don’t buy the ‘asymptomatic’. Women are too ashamed and embarrassed to complain. So you might be in the lucky 70%. But if I had known I had s 1/3 chance of this I would have run to my repeat caesarean knife.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you had a difficult birth, Fiona. You are right, interventions increase problems significantly, and inductions increase the risk of interventions too. Which is why we write what we do, to try and help more women make choices that help them achieve the birth they hope for. However, many women do want a natural birth, but the choices they make leave it difficult to achieve what they want, from the place they give birth, the carers they choose and the education they take too. It’s important to share this information, but of course, there’s more than just one piece to the puzzle.

      This particular article is very old and is in the list to be re-written with more information to explain this.

      I hope you are able to find some solutions and treatments to help you as soon as possible. x

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