Q&A: Sexual Difficulties After Childbirth

“About 2 years ago I delivered a gigantic baby for my little frame. In the course of delivery I had to have an episiotomy and I tore all the way through to my anus. This has caused lots of problems ever since. I’ve had trouble with my bowel movements but it has also affected my sex life with my husband. I used to enjoy anal play a lot. Now, that was obviously put on hold for a long time while I was healing. I expected to recover fully after a few months, but pain and bleeding still plague me. This was a particularly fun spice to our sex life, but can now be a source of frustration. I was wondering if you had any advice that may bring back the enjoyment we once shared.”

I can totally relate to the traumatic birth.  My first child was so large that I received a 4th degree tear almost to my anus as well.  Not fun.  I, too, struggled with how to get back to our normal sex life after giving birth.  It wasn’t easy and it did take a long time.  In fact, it wasn’t until after our second child was born that things ever got back to some kind of normal for me.  I understand your frustration.

Give it time.  I remember hearing other women say that they were all healed up by their six week postpartum check up, and doing just fine.  Naturally, I expected it to be the same way for me.  So you can imagine how I felt, when, a year after giving birth, I was still experiencing pain with penetration during sex, and couldn’t even think about anal (like you, anal play/sex was always a fun spice for us).  As time went on, things improved.  I was able to finally have intercourse without that initial pain, and we were able to bring back anal play/sex for the most part.  It just took much longer than I had thought it would take.

Just because other women heal quickly doesn’t mean that your body will respond in the same way.  You may need more time than you think.  Try not to frustrate yourselves by continually trying to have anal sex each time you are intimate.  My advice is to stop trying (for now).  Yes, it used to be something that you looked forward to, but your circumstances have changed.  It may just be that you need more time for your body to heal.

You also need to prepare yourself for the possibility that your body will not be able to incorporate anal sex anymore.  Things change, and sometimes we just have to accept it and move on.  Your season for that may be over, and if you find that to be the case, then I encourage you to look for something else to spice up your bedroom.  Don’t let it frustrate and discourage you.  You and your husband can use this as an opportunity to do some exploration and see what other things you two can find to spice things up!  There are so many other options that you two can investigate together, and you may find that process exhilarating!

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  • May 2010
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