"Like A Wet St. Bernard Stuck in a Doggie Door" and Sex After Childbirth

I would never want to have sex with a man whose love and desire for me is tied to the visibility of my stretch marks.

Someday, if I ever try to return to the type of cubicle job I recently left, a future employer could Google me and come up with articles like this one, where I’m talking about my ladybiznez. Dear future employers: I promise I will not talk about my junk in the office.

So. Sex after childbirth. You’re supposed to wait something like six weeks after giving birth to resume intercourse. Some women are totally ready to go much earlier than that, and some women don’t even. I was one of the latter. The thought of having anything in my V after giving birth to an 8 lb., 6oz., 21-inch-long baby was quite frankly not appealing, even after I got the okay from my doctor.

“Use lots of lube,” she advised.

Maybe it was the lack of sleep, or the fact that my breasts were suddenly not only fun accessories, but real, working food machines, or because we shared our only bedroom with our infant son, but I was really not into having sex. The first time my ex-husband and I did it, post-baby, it was fine, and my fears about experiencing any pain, or Oliver waking up, were put to rest.

I have to be honest, though, my level of arousal was not great. It was the kind of sex that sometimes happens in long-term relationships -- the kind where one partner is totally into it, and the other partner would rather be asleep, or perhaps reading a book.

And in fact, now that I am in my second long-term, live-in, adult relationship, I understand why a person might willingly participate in a sex act, even if they are not “in the mood.” Sometimes, the sex is necessary to maintain a feeling of connection.

The last couple of months of my pregnancy, penetrative sex was pretty much out of the question because it was just too uncomfortable for me (which is a shame, because sex can help bring on labor, and I ended up going past my “due” date and having to be induced, which totally ruined my drug-free hippie birth plans -- but that is a whole other post). So by the time I got the post-birth go ahead from my doctor, it had been a very long time since we’d had sex.

And Seth was ready to get back to business right away. I could not turn down sex from a man who found me totally desirable and sexy, despite my saggy stomach, stretch marks and leaky boobs, and despite the fact that he had watched me give birth.

Like, watched it, watched it. Neither of us wanted him to see all of that. The problem is, I’m only 5’4” so even with Seth standing near the upper half of my body, it was impossible for him NOT to see it. It’s been seven years, but I was sure he remembered the events of that day, so I asked him.

You guys, my vagina is just fine now, thanks. It is pretty as ever. (I was going to write something stupid about it still running great and being a well-oiled machine, but my vagina is not a car. So, no.)

And Seth got over the experience of me giving birth, pooping on the table* and all, and totally wanted to do it with me the first opportunity he got. But not all men feel this way, I guess. This guy over at the Daily Mail says that he couldn’t have sex with his wife for a year after she gave birth. To his credit, he says it wasn’t necessarily the physical changes that put him off sex -- it was a combination of post-baby stress, sleeplessness and intimidation (after all, creating, birthing and sustaining life is pretty mind-blowing). But he does acknowledge that the physical changes during and after childbirth can be enough to turn men off.

This is pretty depressing to me. Because it tells me that some guys view the mothers of their children as an amalgamation of parts, instead of as a complete person. I mean, sure, my ex-dude was a little grossed out, but he got over it. Because bodies do all sorts of things that we sometimes have no control over. I would never want to have sex with a man whose love and desire for me is tied to the visibility of my stretch marks.

And my boyfriend, Jeff, doesn’t care about all that either. I mean, obviously I’m smoking hot, and I’m a delightful person who cooks for him all the time. But I also have to play the grumpy mom card sometimes and it sort of shatters the illusion that I am a wild, sexy beast who is ready to give out blow jobs on a moment’s notice. And he doesn't mind at all that I have the body of a woman who has had a baby.

So let’s just say Jeff is not with me for purely physical reasons. And since we don’t ever plan on having children together, I’m not sure how he would feel about sex after watching me give birth. Last year, however, we did have a very special bonding experience called “two adults with food poisoning in a one-bathroom house,” and we still want to have sex with each other, in spite of the bodily grossness that we witnessed. Now that’s love.

*It happens.

Somer does not usually talk about her vagina on Twitter: @somersherwood.