Sunday. 8 pm. Both The Baby and The Three-Year-Old are miraculously asleep. You sink into bed and bury your head in your sweatshirt, breathing in the heady scent of baby sick and breast milk coming off you like Eau De Mum.
You consider showering. Then you notice Other Half. He’s elbow-deep in the laundry basket, peeling greying granny pants from your stained leggings, totally unfazed by the shit-speckled sleepers and industrial nursing bras. You notice how his back muscles strain against the weight of the XXXL box of Costco laundry detergent and feel a familiar tingle. Something you haven’t felt since before The Baby made your vagina look like a scene from Omaha Beach (Other Half’s words).
You catch his eye. It’s on. You’re about to have sex. You might worry that you’ve forgotten how, but fear not, because here for your edification is a fool-proof guide to getting it in, getting it on, and getting off when you’ve recently had a baby.
Choose your location:
As in real estate, when it comes to postpartum sex, location is key. If your baby is particularly young, you’re bound to the same room as her (although let’s be honest, the whole thing will be over long before she would notice you were gone even if she were awake). The obvious choice is the bed, but if your box spring is anything like mine, there’s too much risk of excess noise rousing The Baby or disturbing the dog. The dresser? Ha! What are you, 19? You settle on the floor. Time for that extra-plush pile to pay for itself.
Who are you kidding? No time. Plus, at this point, all it takes to get Other Half standing to attention is a wink and a wave (that’s “wink” with an “i”), and you’re worried that if he attempts to go down on you he might suffocate in the thicket you’ve been growing between your legs since pregnancy made shaving an extreme sport and you decided to “go retro” with your pubic topiary. So, you quickly - and quietly - disrobe, then hunker down on the floor, sweeping Paw Patrol jammies and a Sophie La Girafe teether under the bed as you go.
Now you’re sprawled on the floor with Other Half looking at you like a cartoon dog looks at steak, the nerves start to set in. Anxious, you wave some keys in his face to distract him from the fact that you forgot to brush your teeth this morning and your nipples are crusty with dried milk. Suddenly it hits you that your vagina has been a no-fly zone for the past eight weeks (longer actually, as the third trimester made you feel about as sexy as Jabba the Hut with highlights), and you start to feel like you’re losing your virginity all over again (only this time you’re not buzzed on Bacardi Breezers). You give Other Half an apologetic smile, which he returns with a kiss, and you brace yourself for impact.
The Main Event (part one):
Okay, here we go. Bless him, he’s being extra gentle, but right, yep, that stings. Ouch, it’s like being impaled on a fleshy cactus. Why didn’t you learn from last time that breastfeeding leaves you as dry as kindling? He’d better slow down before he starts a fire down there. Your face obviously betrays your discomfort because he jumps off you like a cat who’s just seen a cucumber and starts apologizing profusely. You tell him not to worry, and clamber over to the dresser to retrieve the lube.
The Main Event (part two):
Half a bottle of KY emptied between your thighs and it’s time for take two. Okay, this is better. This feels familiar. You wonder what he’s thinking. Whether childbirth has done such irreparable damage to your bits that he now feels like he’s driving a ghost train through a haunted cave. Right, stop spiraling. Try to focus. You close your eyes and momentarily forget where you are, but not what you’re doing. You remember how much you used to enjoy this. You remember that you and Other Half are actually pretty good at it. You let yourself relax and start to find a rhythm. Actually, this isn’t bad. This isn’t bad at all. That was quite nice. And so was that. You suddenly feel more connected to your body than you have in months. You feel like a woman. Like a woman who deserves pleasure. Yes, that’s right, you are a woman, A WOMAN, GOD DAMN IT. AND HE IS YOUR MAN. YOU ARE A SEXUAL BEING. LET THE WORLD HEAR YOU ROAR!
In your moment of triumph, you emit a noise about as loud as a gnat’s sneeze, but it’s enough. You see The Baby’s eyes snap open and meet yours. You hold your breath and hope that this baby is like the monsters from The Chronicles of Riddick that can only see you if you’re moving. You wait with bated breath until The Baby closes her eyes again. You give Other Half the nod to resume normal service, but after two full minutes of planking on top of you, as soon as he moves, his elbow gives a click. And that’s it. The crying starts in earnest. Other Half gives a half-laugh-half-sob and rolls off you. You shuffle back into your jammy bottoms and sweatshirt, and you’re mum once again.
You scoop up The Baby and settle her with a feed while Other Half finishes himself off in the bathroom.
You wake up at 3 am with a lingering sense of unfinished business. You give Other Half a nudge, then wordlessly get down to it. At this hour and in your half-asleep haze it feels less momentous, less pressurized, and more organic. By some act of divine intervention, The Baby sleeps through the whole thing (although chances are the ‘whole thing’ is no more than four minutes, tops). You penguin-walk to the toilet (childbirth was painful enough – you don’t need a UTI), then slump back into bed and give Other Half a high five. Still got it.
Our next reco: Sex After Childbirth - 7 Unsexy Sins