Note: this is a fairly detailed explanation of my first postpartum experience of sex. If you don’t want to read the gory details of my sex life, I suggest you click onto a different page about now! This is written in particular for other women broaching the anxieties of resuming a sexual relationship after experiencing a third degree tear through childbirth.
Exactly two months after the birth of our baby girl, one day shy of nine weeks, I made a decision: it was time. I needed to face my fear of having sex after a third degree tear. “You’ll never, never know, if you never, never go!” I said to Sean. I was of course referring to pain and discomfort: the scar is painful to touch,and when I saw the physiotherapist and she was testing my ability to perform pelvic floor exercises (ask me later how she does that) there was pain in my lady parts. It seemed almost assured that sex would therefore be painful. However, there must necessarily be a “first time” and I couldn’t very well wait around forever wondering if my downstairs was ready for action. It was time.
We got out the lube, and I prepared myself with mental reminders to relax – tensing up would only make it worse. I decided we’d go missionary to start off with (sorry for the graphic details there; apparently it’s generally recommended that the lady go on top as it supposedly helps her to control what happens etc. I find it easier going missionary. In case it’s relevant, there it is).
The first moments were a bit painful: a sharp, internal kind of pain. I reminded myself again to relax, and the pain went away (fancy that!). It wasn’t a particularly sexy time for me, as I was so focused on determining whether or not I was in pain, but I was indeed relieved to find that my perineum was behaving itself. It came as quite a surprise to me that in fact, it was my pubic joint that was sore! Perhaps it was related to the symphisis pubis joint dysfuntion (SPD) I suffered in pregnancy, perhaps it’s just a normal post-pregnancy thing caused by the relaxing of the joints that occurred in preparation for childbirth, but it felt quite uncomfortable, a dull stretching kind of pain. I suppose I haven’t really had much reason to stretch out the area before that point!
Towards the end I did begin to feel a slight flutter of pleasure, and I have been reinvigorated with hope for the future. I expect I’ll make a full recovery, both physically and emotionally, and be able to enjoy intimacy with my husband once more, increasingly in the following weeks and months. I don’t regret my decision to wait longer than the minimum recommendation of six weeks, but I’m equally glad I didn’t hold out even longer simply in fear of what it might be like.
Oh. And one more thing…. My dear husband did say there was not much difference in the feel of things down there (ie, it’s not a great gaping hole now, but more or less the same as it was before) but I did discover that the muscles in there are not what they used to be at all. Before he withdrew I attempted … let’s call it pelvic floor exercises, for the sake of my prudishness. I was left quite aghast with the realisation that I could barely manage the faintest squeeze, and he really had to concentrate to feel it. That’s something I’ll have to work on!