Losing my postnatal virginity felt as daunting as my first, first time

Losing my postnatal virginity felt as daunting as my first, first time


REWIND time: I’m 15 and I’m about to have sex for the first time. I’ve quizzed friends about when they felt ready to “do it” and whether it hurt.

I love my boyfriend and I want him to know that, but I feel nervous that it’s going to hurt so we need to take things slowly.

For weeks now we’ve been kissing and touching, but we haven’t gone all the way yet. 

Fast-forward 20 years and not much has changed. Losing my postnatal virginity felt as daunting and important as my first, first time. 

I’ve realised that no amount of Googling “When should I have sex after giving birth?” will tell you if you’re ready or not. Nor will asking your partner to examine your vagina with his iPhone torch, as one of my new mum friends told me she’d done recently.

Every woman will be different.

You might be navigating scars, tears, stitches, bleeding, postnatal depression.

You might be loving your postpartum body and the miracle it’s just accomplished.

Or, thanks to the hormones you get from breastfeeding, you may well be: “As dry down there as the Sahara,” as one friend memorably described it to me. 

For the first couple of months after having my daughter, sex was the furthest thing from my mind.

Last time something had happened in that area I’d been screaming and writhing around in pain not ecstasy.

I was a new level of tired that made me choose snatching a bit more sleep over pretty much anything else, even eating and showering.

When I finally plucked up the courage to explore myself, things didn’t feel the same.

I felt so traumatised by birth, I was scared to do anything that might, in nine months’ time, lead to something remotely similar. Stitches in your erogenous zone will do that to a person. 

But as my body healed and I began to feel more like myself, I realised how much I missed sex.

Ater birth and throughout this early phase of parenting, I feel connected to my boyfriend Guy in a new way.

We’ve seen each other at our most vulnerable

I realised I felt a deeper love for him that I wanted to express.

I wanted to feel that pleasure again. I needed something physical to remind me that I was more than just “a mum”. 

So one afternoon (yes, afternoon – you have to opportunistically grab the sex window when you can with a baby) we finally did it.

At first it felt a bit uncomfortable, probably because I was nervous and tense, but afterwards I felt relaxed and happy and even triumphant. 

Sex as a parent is different – there’s no denying it. Sometimes it feels as exciting as when we first got together. Stolen moments when the baby is sleeping gives it all the frenzied passion of an illicit affair.

Other times it’s been days, maybe weeks, and sex is at the bottom of the list.

A third person in your bed (and not in a kinky ménage à trois kind of way) is a real passion-killer. Not to mention the fear that if our baby daughter hears us, she’ll be scarred for life. 

Often we schedule sex (something pre-baby me would’ve scoffed at for being deeply unsexy).

And often that sex doesn’t even happen because the baby decided to pull an all-nighter. But when we do manage to get physical, I treasure it.

Since giving birth I feel more tuned into sensation and tenderness and intimacy. And what’s sexier than that? 

  • Follow Kate on Instagram @katewillswrites.

This week I’m…

Ordering… The Feminist Book Box
A new monthly subscription service championing women’s literature. 

Wearing… Baukjen
This sustainable fashion brand is now my go-to for everything from leather trousers to organic cotton tees.

Dancing with… At Your Beat
These free, celeb-approved Zoom classes are the most fun you can have in your living room.

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