Whether it’s your partner that is asking or if you are wondering when is it safe to orgasm after giving birth, it’s important to acknowledge, everyone’s recovery process is different. You may be ready to dive in, yet aren’t sure if you should. Or between the possible tears, vaginal discharge, nipple pain, and sleepless nights, the last thing you may think of is having anything or anyone stimulate your clitoris. You may even be wondering if your vagina will ever be the same again. In this article, we’ll be answering all of these questions and maybe a few more.
- When is it safe to have sex after having your baby?
- Is it safe to masterbate or engage in clitoral stimulation earlier?
- How will breastfeeding affect my sex life?
- What about birth control?
Table of Contents
When is it Safe to Have Sex After Having Your Baby?
Most healthcare providers will have you wait on penetration for 4-6 weeks. No matter if you have had a vaginal birth or C-section. This allows the body to recover. It also allows the cervix to close, so that risk developing an infection in your uterus is lowered.
The risk of having a complication is the highest in the first two weeks after delivery. Lochia, or the bloody discharge coming from the vagina the first few weeks postpartum, is the wound in your uterus healing. Nothing should be inserted vaginally including toys, penises, or fingers, to decrease risk of infection.
Always check with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe to have penetration.
Is it Safe to Masterbate or Engage in Clitoral Stimulation Earlier?
This is a case by case basis, but the answer may surprise you. Yes! In fact, as early as a few days postpartum. Please note, this does not include penetration. However, if you have had to go through an episiotomy, or have stitches, you will need more time to heal than a few days. Always check with your health care professional.
And let’s not forget, the biggest marker for stimulation may be emotional readiness. You just may not be ready to have anyone or thing up in your business so soon. Yet, there may be some women who find that they want to have release.
If you are strictly performing “outercourse,”or external stimulation through oral sex (remember no vagina, for infection reasons above), or using a vibrator, you may be ok a few days after birth. In fact, mutual masturbation (enjoying pleasure as a couple) through clitoral stimulation can be a great way to ease into intimacy and penetration again postpartum, after you’ve gotten the all clear of course. Mutual masturbation allows your partner or spouse to enjoy being with you and connecting.
When Will my Vagina be Normal Again?
Your body is truly amazing! In the fact a few days postpartum your vagina will begin shrinking. Whether it can go back to the original size depends on variables like genetics, the size of your baby, pelvic floor muscle recovery, etc. There is no set time when you may feel like it’s “back,” but you can be assured it’s working hard to do its best!
Does Sex Postpartum Get Better?
I am proof that yes, it does get better. It is ok for it to be awkward, or to have a laugh at some of the differences. But yes, it does get better. Rest assured, you will not be leaking breast milk and other bodily fluids forever.
It does take a little bit of time, but some women have said that as they get more comfortable with their postpartum bodies, they find that their orgasms are more intense than before. There is no set timeline on when things click into place.
For my husband and I, it felt like we found a new normal we unconsciously slid into a year after birth. For others it could be a few months or weeks postpartum. Just like you’ll go out with friends again, sleep again, you will want to have sex again and it will be fun. Maybe in all that change, you’ll find new ways that stick with you and your partner.
How Will Breastfeeding Affect my Sex Life?
Breastfeeding may have differing effects on your sex life than before. The sensitivity of your breasts can differ from pre-baby to postpartum to breastfeeding. Some women have had let down as they climax (let down is when the breasts leak or spray milk). If you know that you want to try that day, you can breastfeed or pump beforehand, so there may be less let down.
Breastfeeding can affect your libido (see our article here) as prolactin increases your milk production, it decreases estrogen, and in turn decrease your sex drive. Breastfeeding may cause a little more vaginal dryness, but by drinking more water and using a water based lube, you can offset this.
However, you can still enjoy pleasure while breastfeeding. Other ideas on naturally increasing estrogen while breastfeeding can be found in this post.
Is it Okay to Wait to Have Sex After Getting Cleared?
It is absolutely ok to wait! There can be a large gap in emotional and physical readiness for sex. Think about what has been happening. Your body has undergone a huge shift. Unlike other kinds of surgery or life-altering change, women don’t really get alone time to heal and recover. We immediately begin caring for a newborn. Breastfeeding or no, what little energy we do have is spent awake at all hours of the night. We’re trying to gain a sense of self again, and connect with our partner in a new way–as parents. Sometimes sex can feel like a demand and one more thing someone needs. Phew! It makes me feel tired just remembering all these ups and downs.
There are many ways to physically and emotionally connect with your partner. Lots of affection, compliments, and space. It may just take a little extra energy from your partner. When you do feel ready, easing in with foreplay, kisses, mutual masturbation, oral sex, or other forms of “outercourse” to have positive memories associated with intimacy can be helpful too. It’s ok to be nervous and to have things go a little differently than they did before. Open communication will help pave the way to how intimacy will look between you and your partner.
What About Birth Control? When Should I Start?
Usually at your six week postpartum appointment your healthcare provider will likely approach you and talk about birth control options. This may seem a little soon to you, but you can actually get pregnant within the first one to two months postpartum, even before getting your first period. So thinking about birth control is an important decision.
Especially when doctors have found that getting pregnant too soon after childbirth can lead to complications for you and baby. There are many options for you to consider like IUDs, hormonal pills, along with simple barrier methods (think condoms). If you are looking for more permanent solutions you can read our analysis. While considering these decisions include your healthcare provider, to know what will be right for you and your journey, especially if you are breastfeeding.
Here is a breakdown of some of these questions and others in a Q & A style form
Safe orgasm is possible postpartum. The best part? It is up to you when you feel ready. Perhaps it’s in a few days or weeks, or even a year. Don’t close the door on connecting with your partner in other ways than you previously have. Wherever you are on the spectrum, wanting to try sex or not being ready, there are ways for you to explore and support your postpartum journey. Whether it’s through masturbation, meeting with a pelvic floor specialist to strengthen your muscles for when you are ready, or diving in at six weeks, you can find what works for you and your body as you heal.
Niki Cowan has a background in Medicine and Public Health. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist as well as a Medical Assistant. She’s passionate about Women’s Health and empowering women in their journeys. She is married to her wonderful husband Kevin, and they have an active son. While trying to have another little one hasn’t worked out yet, she is pursuing her passions and hoping to gain further education and experience in the area she loves, while playing with her son. She’s an avid reader, Original Great British Baking Show watcher, and very amateur kickboxer.