As new parents, few of us expect to have the same kind of sex lives we did before the baby. After all, when you consider how much sleep new parents lose, it’s totally understandable if you’d rather use your bed for rest than romance. In the first few weeks after having a baby, having sex is probably the farthest thing from a mama’s mind. You’re exhausted and, even if you weren’t, your body is still recovering. How long a mother waits before having sex again is totally personal. But contrary to the old cliches, becoming a parent doesn’t mean sex is totally banned from the bedroom. In fact, a new survey by Peanut reveals nearly 73% of new moms enjoy postpartum sex, and almost a quarter of the women surveyed say the quality of their postpartum sex is actually better after having a baby.
The survey of 1,000 women, ages 22-37, found that “being tired” is the number one reason why new mamas aren’t having more sex, and that 61% of moms would like to be having more sex (maybe after they get more sleep), and that contrary to popular belief, having kids doesn’t kill your sex life. A quarter of the moms surveyed are having sex once a week and almost 30% are getting it 2-3 times a week. Nearly 9% are having sex more than three times a week. For some, three times a week sounds perfect. For others, this might sound like way too much. The survey also found 12.8% of moms have sex once a month, and 13.3% have it even less often, and that’s totally okay. The frequency of a new mom’s sex life depends on so many things, not the least of which is her personal preference. So don’t feel bad if you’re not having sex as often as the women surveyed. For some moms, it does take longer to feel like having sex again, and some are more eager than others to experience sexual intimacy again. According to Peanut, 37.7% of new moms had sex within three months of having a baby, and 52% “had sex as soon as doc gave the all clear.” That doesn’t mean it’s easy. More than 61% of moms surveyed said they were “afraid or nervous their first time postpartum.” About 72% of those moms clarified that they were afraid of pain and 24.4% said they felt self-conscious, according to Peanut.
Pain and postpartum sexFor some women, pain isn’t actually an issue once they get past the nerves, but research suggests about 17–36% report painful sex at six months postpartum (and sadly, only about 15% report brining this up with their healthcare provider). According to a 2013 post by OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter, there are three common reasons for pain during postpartum sex:
- Low estrogen levels in the vagina
- Problems with a scar (especially relevant if you’ve had any tearing) or
- Muscle spasms due to a post-delivery tightening of the pelvic floor.