Sex can hurt.
First-time parents, second-timers, and old pro’s are often shocked about one main thing after having after expecting a baby.
Like really painful, ouchy, not-much-fun PAIN.
The doctors say not to be intimate for 6 weeks, and even when six weeks come and go, intimacy for the first time can be a shock – physically and emotionally. And it is not just a few women here and there; it is a lot of women. Australian researcher Stephanie Brown surveyed 1200 women and she found that almost 90 percent of women experienced pain the first time they had intercourse after having a baby. Sadly, they also discovered, that 18 months later, almost 25 percent of those women were still in pain with intimacy.
Many reasons are the cause behind this pain. They are:
- A difficult delivery and/or tearing
- New mother fatigue
- Post-partum Depression
- Young age
- Previous painful sex before delivery
- Hormonal changes – birth control pills
- Refusal or Embarrassment to get help
Asking for help can be difficult
If you have a sore throat, it’s easy to go see the doctor and get some medicine for it. The same thing if you need help fixing dinner or letting a friend help you out – you just let them help you. But there are very few people who know what to do when intimacy hurts – and that requires that some courage to talk to them.
It is ok to admit that you are in pain. It does not mean that you are a drug seeker or a wimp. You are not a whiner, nor should you just “deal with it”.
No Pain, No Gain – DOES NOT APPLY to Intimacy
As I wrote, in the article, The Myth of Pain Free Intimacy, No Pain, No Gain is all great and dandy when you’re working out or building up your abs and biceps. But what if it’s supposed to be beautiful and sacred as the Bible describes in Genesis, Song of Solomon, Proverbs (and many other books!)?
And what are you supposed to do when it does hurt?
First off, talk to your doctor or midwife that delivered your baby. Let them know if intimacy is painful. There are medical conditions such as Vaginismus (a tightening of the vaginal area) that can be treated. Also, some breastfeeding and birth control pills may interfere with lubrication and cause dryness.
Second, as silly as it sounds, use lubrication. No, it’s not a sign of weakness or that you are a poor lover, it just means that your body needs a little boost. You would never use your car if it had no oil in it, and neither should you be intimate without good lubrication.
Third, speak up again if needed. Sometimes doctors get busy in appointments. Sometimes they forget – they’re human too. So if your doctor isn’t listening to you, speak up again.
Fourth, Be gentle with yourself and tell your husband what is going on. I know the feeling. I mean, I just gave birth to a baby. My house is somewhat clean, my husband is fed – I’m superwoman, right?!?! If you’re laughing at that paragraph, then you too know the truth. No, I wasn’t superwoman, I was simply trying too hard to make everything perfect. When in reality, my husband just wanted me to be honesty with the pain that I was experiencing instead of pushing him away.
A Husband is an Excellent Helper
As I wrote before, If you’ve got the green light from the doctor, then I encourage you to talk to your husband and asking your husband to slow down and go very slowly with. Allow the enjoyment of foreplay to help open you up, bring moisture to that area, and relax you.
There are other things you and he can do to help with that pain. Touch that muscle, and gently allow it open. Your husband’s fingers are great for this. As he touches you in foreplay, slowly, gently while you remember to breathe slow deep belly breaths, let him gently insert his finger. Often it’s the entrance that is the tightest. With the previously mentioned coconut oil, let him gently stroke the opening. Like putting a finger on the rim of a glass, with a circular motion gently stroking that area.
A lot of us women need a good 20-25 minutes before making love to turn off our brains and concentrate on the physical side of our being–to just FEEL. I’m so much in my head that sometimes it’s hard to get out and enjoy my actual body. Sheila Gregorie
Not only will this allow the opening to relax, this is also WONDERFUL for you to allow more acceptance and presence of your husband’s touch. This will increase the emotional connection between you both, as you relax and let your inner guard down…which is exactly what it means to be intimate with each other. I know I say it a lot, but intimacy is way more than just sexual intercourse.When intimacy is painful - be honest and tell your spouse. This builds trust in your relationship because you are trusting him with one of the most special parts of your body #marriage #lifecoaching #intimacy #sex #glowingstill Click To Tweet
Still Hurting? – Reach Out to a Pelvic Health Specialist
If you’ve done everything and tried everything, don’t give up. No, seriously, don’t give up. I used to think that the pain of intimacy was just something I would have to get used to. But, I couldn’t. I can’t physically get “used” to pain and just get over it. So I kept researching and looking.
By accident, I found a pelvic health specialist. I was looking for help all over the internet, and miraculously a Google search pulled up Dr. Susie Gronski. She lived an hour’s drive away, but the more I read through her information, a little glimmer of hope was put into me. Maybe, I hoped, she could help me through the pelvic and vaginal pain I was experiencing.
Despite what you might’ve been told, there’s a fix for pelvic pain! Pelvic floor therapy helps reduce pelvic pain and drastically improves quality of life. And believe it or not, sex can feel great again!
Pelvic pain is a multi-factorial experience; a combination of things that trigger symptoms so it’s really important to explore and brainstorm the potential root cause(s) of your symptoms with a pelvic health specialist. Dr Susie Gronski
Note: This is not a paid advertisement, just a shout-out of gratefulness for the private treatment and therapy she offers as a doctor of physical therapy.
And yes, she did help. She was the answer to the unspoken hope and prayer that I was looking for to help rid me of the physical pain that I was feeling. It wasn’t a quick fix, years of pain and multiple pregnancies cannot be fixed like popping an antibiotic for a sore throat. It took time and multiple visits, but I am so thankful for her and how she helped me through a difficult time.
Summing it All Up:
Don’t be surprised if sexual intercourse is painful after having a baby; there are many ways to help overcome this. It requires talking to your doctor, getting help, sharing with your husband about the pain, and getting more help if nothing else is working. Pain is not pleasant, but it is a gift. It is there to protect you and keep you from injuring an area – but sometimes, like a guard dog, it can overdo it. So if you are hurting, keep asking for help. It is out there.
Note: The information included in this blog is not as a substitute for medical advice. Nor is it intended to diagnose or treat medical conditions. Always seek qualified medical professionals for any questions you have about your treatment, medications, supplements, or about any diagnosis. This information is here only as education. It is not intended to substitute the advice of a licensed medical professional.