• Fri, Mar 7 - 6:00 pm ET

Your Dusty Vagina Will Grow Cobwebs After You Have A Baby

shutterstock_179889719There are a few rumors about adult life that are so effing annoying. I personally hate it when people refer to marriage as a “jail sentence” or a “ball and chain” with an eye roll and a wink. Are we all supposed to assume that we will start to lovingly resent our spouses just a few years after tying the knot? I don’t think so. Way to perpetuate annoying sitcom stereotypes, people.

In the same vein, parents are supposed to be stressed, tired, and at the end of their rope. All of these factors combined make parents sexless creatures that don’t have any time or energy to be horny. You feel me?

Of course, it can be utterly stressful and exhausting to have a new baby. You’re also supposed to wait six weeks postpartum to get your stretchy vagina back so that you can get back on the saddle again.

But what happens when these annoying stereotypes come true? I read some recent research that said as many as one in four couples stop sex forever after the birth of a child. 38% of women experience pain and soreness during sex after childbirth. One in five men has difficulty initiating sex with a partner.

I will concede that exhaustion, milky boobs, and a squishy stomach are hardly what sexual fantasies are made of. I also think that it is perfectly reasonable to expect a small dip in your sex life after baby until you get the hang of your new roles as parents and get back on your feet again.

I will not accept the annoying stereotype that parents never have sex. This certainly can’t be true because some parents just keep on having the babies (wink!). Sex may be difficult after a long day of cleaning up vomit and wiping poop stains off the wall as a #mommymartyr. But sex is just one more thing parents can do to feel like normal people again that exist outside the lives of their children. Contrary to popular belief, your vagina will not grow cobwebs after having a baby—unless you want it to.

(Image: lightwavemedia/Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • NotTakenNotAvailable

    I had an unfortunate flashback to a certain other post of yours after you mentioned “milky boobs” and “sex” in the same sentence. X( Now I don’t ever want to have sex again, and I don’t even have a baby!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Nooooo! It’s pretty much PTSD.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      TBF, I’ve been happily celibate for quite some time, but now I have an excuse that won’t make people look at me funny, so…thanks, Bethany?

    • Bethany Ramos

      Ha!

    • Kay_Sue

      It’s definitely a trigger.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Word!

  • kay

    We were so ready to have sex again after the baby was born. And OMG google is not helpful on what’s safe to do. I had a few stitches and I didn’t want to rip them out but all you can find searching is either “lol my doctur said not 2 but we did n now im preggo w #2 do 9 months after jaycksyn was born~*~!” or “it’s normal to hate ALL THE SEX FOR YEARS”. All I wanted was “don’t worry, oral sex is fine!”

    • Bethany Ramos

      Hahaha your forum comment is far too accurate.

  • Momma425

    I’m not gonna lie- having a baby pretty much ruined sex for me, mostly because I hated being pregnant so much that I wanted my doctor to go ahead and vacuum up every reproductive organ I have while she was in there doing my c-section (seriously- I asked for that while she was in there).
    But I know that I am the exception, not the rule. Lots of people love sex after children.

    • Kelly

      Agreed. Sex is not the same anymore. I have been pregnant and/or nursing for 5 years now (and about to pop out baby #3). And I had c-sections so it has nothing to do with anything “down there” being damaged. I just have NO sex drive while nursing (nursed both kids for 15 months) and I simply cannot stand pregnant sex – morning sickness for 4 months, followed by physical discomfort, bloating, exhaustion…ugh. It is sad, definitely. But we are coping and are not ruining our relationship. We just realize we are at a certain stage of life right now and it will pass. We aren’t going to force it just b/c we “should.”

    • Momma425

      I commend you. I had one, she is five. I still haven’t “gotten over it” enough to get in the mood for a second.

    • Kat

      My libido seems to have depleted with each pregnancy. I could barely wait the six weeks the first time. The second time, “oh hey, I think six weeks passed a while ago.” This time… well, my youngest is almost a year old. Fill in the rest.

  • Valerie

    Once my cob webs cleared out at the six week mark things more or less went back to normal but normal for us is twice a week or so. I don’t think that’s crazy. I feel ignored and yuck if I don’t get physical attention from my husband at least that often. I’m so neeeeedy.

  • SusannahJoy

    My son’s 10 months old and we’re just now getting back to our normal sex life. It def takes a lot more work. And it took an open conversation about what we (my husband and I) wanted and what we were willing to do to make it happen. It was really, really hard for me to feel sexy. So it was way to easy to be like “Nope, I’m not feeling it, we’re not doing it.” But then I was just getting all sad, because I like sex. And I like feeling close to my husband. So for me, I just sorta had to force myself into it, and then it all came back so quickly and I think my relationship with my husband is better than ever.

    • Valerie

      That’s awesome. I did find that I needed to be convinced a bit more to have sex and that was a conversation that happened soon after our first was born. Like rub my back, get me a glass of wine, ask about my day. I needed to feel a little more wooed than I did pre-baby. I guess being a mom made me feel like I give so much to them…I needed something for me in return before I was willing to give anymore of myself to another human being. Kwim?

    • Andrea

      I know EXACTLY wym.

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      Very much so a mental thing for me once my kid started sleeping through the night. I had to retrain myself to just relax and enjoy it instead of worry about the sleep I was missing.

  • Alene

    My Netflix choice after having my baby was The Tudors, soooooo… I was raring to go by about 3 weeks. Once I was sure the stitches had healed, we stocked up on condoms and got back into a rhythm. I may or may not have had a few impure thoughts about Johnathan Rhys Meyers in the waiting period, though… and after the waiting period…

    • Talia Gamble

      OH MY UNIVERSE! That scene with Natalie Dormer in the woods and their bedroom scene in Paris…. WOW!

    • Andy

      For me it’s the scene during/after Henry has the musicians play a volte in Anne’s rooms.

  • Kay_Sue

    I find those statistics really sad. How do people stay in that relationship? I know sex isn’t everything, but I do think it’s special and has a function in a relationship.

    • Valerie

      Agreed. To never have sex again after kids? That’s so sad.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I guess you don’t have to pay for a vasectomy. :(

    • pixie

      Completely not related to this article, but I’m highly amused by the troll on the cheese sandwich article and it’s kind of hilarious arguing with them. The insults are fantastic. Apparently not only am I a moron, but I’m also an elitist. :P

    • Kay_Sue

      Really? You? I quite reading any comments that weren’t replies to me earlier. *heads over to the thread*

    • WriterLady

      She’s still on a roll. I’ve seen some nasty trolls in my day, but this one seems deeply troubled. I left a few comments, but I won’t feed the monster any longer. Why you would come to an interesting, substantive site like this and spam it with ridiculous vitriol on a never-ending basis is beyond me. I do enjoy reading intelligent posts from you ladies, as well as many others.

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      I guess I’m the latest “victim” on Julia’s scary baby supplies article! I’ve just been having fun dragging myself down to its level by pretending we’re all in grade school again. :p Helps pass the time while I wait for the actors and actresses who are auditioning for my first short film!

    • WriterLady

      You too, huh?! I find it comical that “it” is so miserable that it gets its rocks off making slurs that are completely nonsensical and irrelevant to any issue at hand. I had my fun with the person/thing for a little while, but the amusement wore off eventually. With that said, I’ll have to check out what it had to throw at you. He/she/it is entertaining, if nothing else! ;)

    • NotTakenNotAvailable

      Most fun I’ve had killing time!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Haha Maria was called dumb on the gun article too. Big day! You are quite the opposite of those insults. :)

    • pixie

      Hahaha, thanks, I know I am. :)
      I’m actually surprised I wasn’t called a “short bus rider”, which was another insult the same troll hurled at a couple others. :P

    • pixie

      And in terms of this article, I agree with you. :)

    • Paul White

      No kidding. The thought of no sex forever after a kid is just….ew, no no no no. I like sex.

    • Kay_Sue

      Yeah, we start to get irritable and cranky when we go a few days without. We did go nearly two years without regularity while he was stationed overseas, but even then he made the trek back twice a year or so. Never again just seems like a life sentence to me.

    • WriterLady

      According to the article, the statistics were generated by a for-profit organization called Kegel8. Check out their website. They sell devices intended to improve sexual enhancement or performance (pelvic toners and vaginal cones, for example). As such, they aren’t exactly the most reliable and credible source to offer statements of this magnitude. Despite a few doctors providing vague testimony (from Kegel8′s site), this is not a true case study generated by academic researchers affiliated with a university or nonprofit organization. The doctors have likely been paid well to offer a few soundbites. That’s why it seems unbelievable that a full 25% of couples forego sex FOREVER just because a child was born. With that said, as a mother myself, I fully understand that it can take months or even a year or so to regain one’s sex drive and libido. But to suggest that a couple will never have sex again because a woman has given birth at some point in her life is ludicrous. There may be a small percentage of people in which this is the case, but it’s highly doubtful that this is true for a full one-quarter of couples.

    • Paul White

      And this is why I need to remember to evalute sources! Thanks for that post.

  • Andrea

    It took me a while to get back in the groove. I was SO exhausted and SO NOT ready to have sex that I actually considered lying to my husband after my 6 week check up and telling him the doc said I needed more time to heal.

    I didn’t do it, but it was hard to tell him that all I wanted was sweet sweet sleep and that I just couldn’t..because he was chomping at the bit. It was a difficult time. We got past it, but it took some work.

    • AlexMMR

      Sleeeeeeeeeep!!! We never had sex during my pregnancy (complications) and after one cursory lay at the 6 week mark, hubby had to tolerate another dry spell. He asked when I’d be in the mood again and I told him flat out “The moment sex is more appealing than sleep, I’ll let you know”. He replied “Ok, so it’s gonna be a while. Good to know.”

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      Yea, I was back to work full time four weeks after the baby and she never slept on my “shift” with her. I was getting anywhere from one to five hours broken sleep in between work shifts. It hurt his feelings that sex didn’t seem important in that one hour, but considering he was getting far more sleep than me he didn’t understand that I needed that hour of sleep not to fall over dead at work. Things didn’t really go back to normal until she was about 2 and a half because once she started sleeping through the night I hoarded sleep like a squirrel hoards nuts.

  • Maggie May

    After my first kid I didn’t have have sex with another human being for 2 years, mostly because I had broken up with her dad 2 weeks before I knew I was pregnant and was too tired with nursing school and a baby to date.

    My other two are 18 months apart. And I’m lucky they weren’t any closer than that.

    • Andrew Cole

      I hope you were trying to be clever about masturbating—otherwise I’d like to know what not “human beings” you were having sex with.
      ;-)

  • Kheldarson

    My husband and I are still in a “take it easy” phase. Not necessarily because we want to, but because I really don’t have the energy for it. Our son sleeps through the night now…but I work nights. Hubs works days. Baby boy hates nap time, so when does mommy get sleep? Oh, right, I really don’t. >.< So, yeah, sex is a "when mommy gets enough rest to even feel like doing stuff". And it doesn't help that we've found I'm, well, drier than I used to be. *cry*

    • Andrea

      While there is not much that can compensate for lack of sleep, there are tons of products that can help with dryness. It might help!

    • Kheldarson

      Yeah, we’ve got some but it falls under “wait, I got to remember one more thing”, you know? And hubs gets a bit…one tracked. Lol.

    • Andrea

      I understand!!!
      It will get better.

    • Bethany Ramos

      The dryness got a lot better for me after I stopped breastfeeding!

    • Valerie

      Yup. Until then, we used a whole lot of Astroglide.

    • Kheldarson

      That definitely is good to know! :)

    • Kay_Sue

      That’s a whole lot of factors there. Opposing schedules is rough too. My husband and I have never had literal opposing schedules, as in one on days/one on nights, but we had a spell where my shifts were mostly closing–that meant getting home around midnight. His day started at 5 AM. So he was in bed. We went for a few weeks without seeing each other except on our days off…and even then, one of us would be working, although whomever was home would see the other after or before work for a change. It really is difficult and it kills a lot of intimacy, just because you aren’t able to spend the time together that builds it. I really feel that.

      Combine that with the lack of sleep and natural physiological shifts, and it’s a cocktail of disaster for a sex life. I’d second the people earlier that said there is stuff to help with the dryness. I once heard Jeff Foxworthy describe Astroglide as a liquid that’s supposed to be able to slide a Cadillac through a keyhole. I prefer KY myself, which I keep in a handy container by the bedside because I’ve found that it still occurs at certain times of the month anymore. Yay for that! ;)

    • Alanna Jorgensen

      I’m working polar opposite shifts with my fiance now a days and it sucks so hard sometimes.

    • Kheldarson

      It’s mostly the opposite shifts bit that’s killing it. Since I work nights, I’m also home when our son’s up. Which means I have to carve out time to sleep around an active seventh month old. We’re hoping he finds a better job so I can stay home and take care of the baby boy and tutor (yay for internet!).

      But until then…it’s real hit and miss. :/

    • Kay_Sue

      I feel you. I’ll cross my fingers tightly that it works out soon.

  • personal

    Am I the only one here not doing it? I have been pregnant or breastfeeding for 5 1/2 years straight. We haven’t had sex for almost 2 years. We did try once when the baby was about 6 months old but it HURT.
    He’s just had his first birthday. I’m hoping someday…

    • Kay_Sue

      I have to ask: But have you talked to your OB/GYN about the pain? They might have some insight into it that could help.

      I highly doubt you’re the only one–there’s a reason this stereotype exists, and it is that intimacy gets more difficult when you have miniature terrorists. #truth

    • personal

      Thanks for the sympathy. (I responded yesterday but can’t find my reply.) I did talk to my RE, who gave me some estrogen creme to use vaginally. It seems to have helped but we just haven’t…
      For the record, we didn’t even have sex to conceive our children. Our youngest was the result of a frozen embryo transfer of an embryo donated to us by a friend. I think our sex life was pretty much destroyed upon finding out that we’re both infertile. It was a long, hard journey. But we do have a loving relationship.

    • Kay_Sue

      As long as it is loving, that’s all that really matters. Every relationship is so different!

    • personal

      Thanks, you two. Life is good. We managed (with a lot of help) to build the family was so wanted. We’re living the dream, really. Just not having sex. :)

    • Valerie

      Huge internet hugs. I can only imagine how tough that journey was on your relationship.

    • Bethany Ramos

      Statistics say you are very much not alone! :)

    • Kelly

      I just posted an almost identical post before I saw this one! No – you are not alone. I think the only times we have had sex in 5 years is to conceive the next kid! Ha! But hopefully it will pass. The breastfeeding makes many women SUPER dry (me included). OB gave me some creams but they didn’t really help and it was kind of a pain to think of/use. But once your hormones get back to normal, you will prob be fine. Just accept it as a stage of life and know that you will get back in the saddle. Don’t let people make you feel badly or shame you about this. It is what it is. Good luck!!!

    • Valerie

      :-( I hope you can get the pain issue sorted out.

  • Andrew Cole

    I can’t say we are doing it every night, but we are doing it. Things were worse the year after he was born, but they are getting better. He isn’t the main problem. I am the primary care giver and I am not turned off from sex because of him.

    The real issue is getting older and having busy lives that leave her exhausted at the end of the day, which I feel would be the same if we didn’t have him. Of course, he doesn’t let us sleep as smoothly as we might otherwise, so that could have something to do with it, and some nights we simply never get the opportunity to be alone.

    • Valerie

      Our kids are 6 and 4 so we are getting sleep now but busy-ness and the insane schedules we keep is still def our biggest obstacle. If a week goes by and we haven’t had sex you can bet that I worked late a few times or the kids had more going on at school than usual. Some nights I’m just happy to sit on the couch for half an hour in peace because my whole day has been crazy and sex is the last thing on my mind.

    • WriterLady

      I absolutely agree. I run my own business and end up working as many as 60 hours or more per week. Add to that the more important task of raising my child and attending to his needs (on top of trying to maintain a semi-tidy household, with my husband’s help)–as well as the occasional opportunity to catch a Netflix movie with my husband or just relax and read or play around a little on social media–and the idea of sex is often an afterthought. Now that my son is 4, things have gotten better, but we are certainly not doing the deed multiple times a week. We try to do so once a week or so, but that’s not always possible. Everyone is different–from schedules to libidos–so couples aren’t always going to have even remotely similar experiences. I do think that not having sex for years and years on end seems slightly dysfunctional, but it’s only natural and inevitable that busy parents are going to go without sex during certain periods.

  • http://whereintheworld-stephanie.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Diamond

    Even if the mom isn’t in the mood for sex, or it’s painful, or whatever the reason, there are some very loving ways you can help out the dad until you’re ready. I had pain until around the third month but I found other ways to keep my husband satisfied. We both sleep better if he’s relaxed.

    My husband travels for weeks and sometimes months at a time so when we see each other, we get baby-sitters and spend time together. We have to take advantage of what little time we have together as a couple.

    • http://whereintheworld-stephanie.blogspot.com/ Stephanie Diamond

      I should also add that there are a few ways a dad can “relax” a mom that don’t involved intercourse. There are ways to make it work if you really want to.

  • Alicia Kiner

    haha, not want to have sex? my kids are 16 months apart. lol! I realize hubby and I aren’t “average” especially based on the conversations that we’ve had with married friends, but we both know we don’t have to worry about the other straying for lack of nookie, cause we both get all we want right here at home. and yes, I’m definitely bragging, #sorrynotsorry. but if i can’t brag to my online friends, where can i? it’s not like I go neener neener neener to all my real life friends faces, finger in their face etc.

    Okay, bragging aside, our bodies change. Did I feel super self conscious after having my kids? Of course I did. My husband has always been great about making me feel wanted no matter how I look. Even when he didn’t particularly want to have sex when I was pregnant the second time, he still made it clear that it was strictly because he felt her move and was afraid we’d hurt her and nothing to do with me. lol.

    • Valerie

      You can brag and I’m glad things are working out for you with the sexy time and all but I think it’s kind of mean to brag about your amazing sex life among comments from women admitting they are having trouble in that department. Not to mention, the veiled jab you make suggesting that husbands will stray if they aren’t getting enough “nookie” at home. Some people are clearly insecure that this may be a possibility and don’t really need you trying to hammer that point home. There is a time and place for such bragging. This post is a poor choice.
      #sorrynotsorry

    • Alicia Kiner

      The bit about the straying… not my intent to say that will happen, just that people DO say it, and it’s not something I’m worrying about. You are right, it is insensitive to brag about it when others have difficulty. I didn’t read many of the comments, and just wanted to tell my story. I apologize for being insensitive. That wasn’t my intent. The hashtag (my first btw) was to say that I’m not sorry that this is my life. I have a lot of other problems in my life, so I’m glad that this one thing in my life is good.

    • Kheldarson

      Except the insecurities and self-consciousness of a post-partum body aren’t the only reason some of us can’t/aren’t having sex. For me, it’s exhaustion. I work nights, sleep a couple hours, then have to be up to feed and care for my son as my hubs goes to work. Then he comes home as baby boy is going to bed, and then I’m off to work. And our days off don’t always align. So when am I supposed to relax enough or get enough rest to be aroused enough to have sex?

      I’m glad it’s working out for you and your husband, but you’re making a mighty assumption that it’s body issues that prevent teh sexings.

  • WriterLady

    I would venture to guess that the studied is severely flawed and lacking scholarly credibility. The author or sponsor of the study is a group called Kegel8, based in the UK. From what I can glean, they are a for-profit organization that specializes in creating and selling pelvic toners, vaginal cones, and other products for female sexual enhancement. Clearly, there is a bias here. My first inclination that something was off was this statistic (paraphrased): “One-quarter of couples forego sex forever upon the birth of a child.” Forever?! I can see several months—possibly even a year. But a lifetime of no sex for a long-term committed couple? There’s no conceivable way that 25% of couples go without sex forever, simply because a child was born. Granted, there are a few doctors featured on Kegel8′s website who have provided testimony, but doctors are not immune to twisting the facts in order to make money. And while I’m not opposed to the organization’s efforts to help women (and possibly men) achieve a better libido, this is just too far out there. Let’s look at true academic studies to see what the scholars and statistics have to say.

  • Nica

    This is an ongoing joke between me and my husband. I birthed 2 10lb babies “the usual way” and I was ready to go again 7 weeks after the birth of my first and 5 weeks after the birth of my 2nd. It would have been sooner with both, but I did have some tearing and wanted it to be fully healed before jumping back in the saddle again. Once I got the all clear from my doc, we were back in action. And, honestly, I was so in awe of what my body did during pregnancy and birth, it made sex even better because, in a strange way, it boosted my body confidence. Finding the time to have sex wasn’t and isn’t always easy, but we make it a priority. I couldn’t imagine going without sex forever…. Those postpartum weeks were the longest of my life…

  • Kat

    Hmm yeah, I don’t know where my three kids under four came from.

    OH YEAH, I had them because that’s my job as a WOMAN!
    ::pickup arrives to haul sarcasm::

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