Let’s talk about sex (after) baby… let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things.
To be honest, I really oohed and ahhed about writing this, I mean a post-coital chardonnay confession with your girlfriends is one thing, but letting it all hang out online? I Kanye be no Kardashian!
Making love, not dinner
(when you're a mum)
However, in all my pre and post-partum reading (a nighttime habit I’m less shy about) I have hardly ever read a chapter about sex after baby.
There’s occasionally a NHS-type line about waiting six weeks until you’re given the all clear - six weeks! - but no one tends to say it’s one of the scariest rights of passage (no pun intended) that you’re likely to make as a new parent.
Let’s not beat about the bush, though; a rumble in the sheets is (often) what led to that little bundle of joy in your arms. So, you would think we’d be okay with talking about it.
I mean, that beautiful moment when you tell your family and friends that you’re pregnant could just as easily be ‘So guys, we’re really happy to tell you all, a few weeks ago we had us some fantastic sex! Phwoar’ - so I think I need to get over it… (ahem)
So here we go: five bare naked truths about sex, (and) baby ...
1. It’s Like Sticking a Panini in Your Ear
Hormones, giant maxi pads and biting down on a wooden spoon when you go for a pee aren’t, unless you have particularly niche tastes, generally that sexy. Your body has changed and, whatever way you give birth - shoot or sunroof - it’s not going to feel the same down there (for a while).
I had easily forgotten parts of the early days through sleep deprivation but that mental sensation of, as my husband put it, ‘birthing a giant conker’ did not go away for a very (very) long time.
Frankly, getting down to it seemed as sensible as shoving a panini in my ear.
2. I’ve got a headache …
... Is actually a legitimate new mum response to how’s your father. Your oestrogen dips massively after you’ve given birth and low levels of the hormone are regularly linked to headaches and migraines.
If you’re breastfeeding your oestrogen levels will stay lower for longer and that too can dry up your libido, literally. Supposedly, it’s nature’s attempt at family planning. Ha.
Still, that’s probably not an appropriate response to the multitude of healthcare professionals that are going to question you about contraception in the days, weeks and months following birth.
I tended to prefer the more general response of ‘I think I’d like to use granny knickers and sleepless nights, thanks.’
3. Like a Virgin
If you’ve had a baby, saying you feel ‘Like a Virgin’ is Madonna-level ironic. However, it’s likely to be as fumbly and awkward as the very first time.
There are a number of reasons for this; you don’t know your body, you’ve lost your confidence, you prefer the lights off and you are trying to be quiet so that you don’t wake your new (born) neighbour.
You feel old but ‘it’ all just feels very new.
4. A bit touchy about being feely …
As a new mum you are snuggled, pawed at and sucked on from morning through to morning. It’s lovely but, unless you’ve spent time babysitting a koala, it’s probably the most physical closeness with another being that you have ever experienced. And it’s pretty intense.
So, when you have an unattached five minutes being snuggled, pawed at and sucked on isn’t always top of your list.
5. Dad Pinny-Up
They did some research a few years ago and discovered that it’s psychological factors not physical ones that impact how interested a new maw is going to be in sex, and a partner’s support came out on top (sorry, I appear to have swallowed a Carry on Film for breakfast!).
So, you know the Athena guy - naked bloke holding a wee baby? Well, he wasn’t a pin up for nothing.
Apparently, helping out with the wee one, doing chores and letting mum have some kip actually play a larger role in couples getting back to knocking boots than whether birth stitched you up or not.
So, there you go lads, ironing is, in fact, better than porn.
However, sometimes chores might feel like part of the problem; when you have a baby there are about 42,947,526,974 other things you need to do, let alone your partner.
But it is important to make time for; so, you know that freezer full of food the baby books did tell you about? It might be worth whipping them out to give you both time to make love, not dinner.