Intimacy after ChildbirthMay 08, 2021
I LOVED being pregnant and the experience of birthing has been something I have been passionate about since my first child. I think it is one of the greatest privileges of a woman's life if she feels called to be a mother.
I think the event of birth and its subsequent effects on a woman’s body is one of the most underestimated natural disturbances (and possible trauma) on the female body and psyche that she may ever have. And on her willingness and physical ability to re-engage in sexual intercourse afterwards.
I cannot count the number of women who have sat with me and said it. 'It all changed after I had children'.
The unknown nature of birthing, especially for a woman who is unprepared or unaware, or unwilling to look deeper into this most momentous occasion of her life, can be catapulted into oblivion of nightmares if everything comes undone.
The latest Australian Documentary on Birthing ‘Birth Time' illustrates just that.
Even for a woman who is prepared, has studied vigorously the nature of birthing, and educated herself extensively, as I did for my first baby, things can go awry in the birthing process as the medical profession ‘takes over’ in moments of panic and potential or perceived life-threatening situations.
For a woman to then return to sex after birth trauma is like returning from a battlefield. She is expected to just get back into life and have sex like nothing has happened. And feels like a failure when she doesn’t look like the magazines showing the famous celebrity whose baby is bouncing on her knee, looking thin again and as fresh as a daisy. It’s just not real. Real is behind closed doors when she can’t stop crying, or she has to grab a 20-minute sleep before the next feed or she hasn’t brushed her hair for two weeks because she’s got more than one child to look after now. Or when her partner is edging for sex and she just wants to run.
We are told to wait 6 weeks to have sex again. But this is what we are TOLD. By who? A male doctor?
Just another ripping off a woman’s trust and knowledge of her own body. Another stolen privilege to know herself through her body, through her own intuitive felt sense of what is right for her.
When I was preparing myself for my second birth, a Home Birth (I call it My Virgin Birth), I attended the training of a leading Homebirth midwife from Sydney. She said that it takes about 2 years for the body to fully recover from a pregnancy. This includes miscarriages, abortions, and stillbirths. We underestimate the trauma of the birthing process. Even for birth that goes well. A huge almost ten-pound being has come through that little passageway of a vagina. And of course another whole thing after a Caesarian birth. A woman’s body needs time to recover. She is in high need of sustenance and support, not to be pressured into sex.
The thought of conventional, goal-driven, fast, friction-style sex often leaves a woman cold after birthing, especially once she is in her 30's. But this is where slow sex comes into its own.
The sad thing is that couples don't know there is an alternative. There is no education on the true nature of the male and female bodies sexually. Basically as fast as a man is, a woman is slow. Her body takes so much longer to warm up because the energy-raising pole in her body is her nipples and her breasts. Once energy is raised there through awareness or gentle touch, kissing to the whole upper part of the body, it takes time to move down to her genitals and be ready for lovemaking. The breasts however are now primarily being used up for breastfeeding. Now for some women, this is actually quite sexually stimulating and that can be confusing for her. Here she is feeding her baby and it's becoming an orgasmic experience!
But the beauty of this is that this is primarily where she wants to be for lovemaking. Once she feels ready to enter into intimacy again, keep it very slow and conscious and let HER be the guide. No longer does a man have to take over and lead the way. Follow her. Follow how far she can go. Once it feels right for genital contact, allow the penis just to rest at the entrance of the vagina, until SHE indicates that entry is ok. And then only millimetre by millimetre, as she indicates. Once she is relaxed and the vagina is relaxed, with awareness of the breasts, the receiving nature of the vagina itself will start to draw the penis in all of its own. This is the potential and natural intelligence of the organs themselves. A natural bio-magnetic, bio-electric sensitivity takes over.
But this requires the man, or partner, to be ultra-sensitive, to let go of his agenda to get somewhere. This I feel is the maturing of a man. For him to take control of his sexual nature, where energy is raised from his genitals and directed the energy upward to his heart. Some men are naturals at this but most are not. They feel left out of the mother/child intimacy. But if he can come into the sphere of sensitivity with her and her baby, give it space and time and wait for the right time, he will be greatly rewarded and it will hold them in good stead for the future of their relationship.
A woman will only eventually turn away from a sexually demanding man. She has changed forever, and he must as well. It's his growth, his expansion, his maturing to do so.
But women also must walk that tightrope, of determining when it is the right time to re-enter into love-making. It can be all too easy to turn away from it and him completely.
I highly recommend some reading for any couples navigating post-childbirth following:-
- The Heart of Tantric Sex by Diana Richardson and if she is an older mother - 40s onwards, I would recommend my co-written book with Diana Richardson, Tantric Sex and Menopause. Both of these can be found on my BOOK page here.
- Six Initiatives for Men by Gene Thompson is an excellent one-hour read for men and women and can be downloaded for free here.
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