Guest blogger Elizabeth Kuster: Having sex for the first time after you give birth is kind of like being a virgin again. No, seriously: There's a similar feeling of momentousness, a similar feeling of not knowing what to expect, a similar fear of pain. A sex expert has the lowdown -- and gives a few how-tos.
"Having sex after childbirth can be a little tricky the first time," says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., gynecologist and author of What Your Mother Never Told You About Sex. "It typically takes about six weeks for your body to be ready for sex again, but even if your doctor says it's a go, you might experience some discomfort." To make the experience easier and more pleasurable:
Keep lots of lube handy. "After childbirth, hormones levels increase -- especially if you're breast feeding," notes Hutcherson. "Those hormones cause vaginal dryness, so you won't lubricate as well during sex. Using liberal amounts of a water-based lube such as K-Y or Astroglide will keep the friction from becoming uncomfortable."
Go slowly. "If your vagina tore during birth, or you had an episiotomy, you might still be a little tender down there -- even if the area has technically healed," says Hutcherson. "So take it easy and encourage your guy to slow down."
Opt for woman-on-top. "Choosing that position will help you control the speed, depth of penetration, and placement of pressure," notes Hutcherson. "Having that control will ensure that the experience is as pleasurable as possible."
Have "plain vanilla" sex. "Don't use any gimmicky pleasure-enhancing lubes or anything like that," warns Hutcherson. "You may still have tiny breaks in your skin, and 'warming lubes' or whatever could cause irritation down there."
Relax. "The more fearful you are, the more painful sex will be," says Hutcherson. "Tension will cause you to clamp down and dry up -- so be sure to relax, breathe, and enjoy yourself!"
How was your first time post-baby?