Sex & Relationships

After 2 Episiotomies, I Lost Almost All Interest in Sex—Here’s How I Found It Again

written by ANONYMOUS
sex after episiotomy"
sex after episiotomy
Source: Elevae Visuals
Source: Elevae Visuals

Sex after episiotomies: It’s not a topic I ever imagined discussing openly, yet here I am, navigating the complexities of intimacy and sex after birth. If there is one thing about childbirth that no one prepared me for, it’s the many ways that a baby could be brought into the world. One of those ways (a way which I’ve undergone twice) is through an episiotomy.

An episiotomy is a procedure in which your obstetrician makes a small cut between the bottom of your vaginal opening and anus (an area called the perineum) during childbirth. It attempts to mitigate a perineal or vaginal tear that could happen during childbirth. I truly had no idea what an episiotomy was, and it made recovery extremely difficult. My healthcare provider told me it was necessary for my first child’s birth due to her having Shoulder Dyscotia (basically, her shoulder got stuck.) I almost guaranteed it would not happen again—until it did.

Rediscovering Intimacy and Sex After an Episiotomy

Two episiotomies later, within three years, and now I am sitting in the thick of rediscovering what intimacy and sex look like postpartum. For months, I had no interest in sex or anyone or anything touching me. My body felt different. Exhaustion and things like scar tissue, vaginal dryness, and a myriad of other body changes made sex one of the last things on my mind.

sex after episiotomy
Source: Elevae Visuals

As someone who is madly in love with my husband and is only 26 years old, I did not expect my sex life to take such a drastic change so young. Physical intimacy is an important part of my relationship, and although intimacy can exist outside of sexual acts, I knew that I did not want my childbirth experience to instill a permanent fear of sex in my life. This year, I set out on a mission to rediscover what sex after birth looks like for me and my relationship after being in a complete sex-funk. Here’s what rediscovering sex after episiotomy looks like for me:

Going to therapy

Going to therapy was the first step in my journey. When I googled “How to get out of a sex-funk,” a myriad of solutions popped up, but none of them spoke to me. I knew I needed a more personalized approach, so I decided to start by talking to my therapist. At the root of my issue with not wanting to have sex was fear—fear of many things, in fact. I feared that physical intimacy would hurt, that my body wouldn’t work properly anymore, that everything would feel too different, or that my husband wouldn’t want to have sex with me anymore.

Therapy became a place where I could unravel all of the complicated thoughts and feelings I had about postpartum intimacy. It was a journey of self-discovery, where I learned to challenge negative perceptions and embrace more self-love about my own body and my relationship. With each session, I found myself doubting less and reclaiming my sense of worth. Therapy wasn’t just about fixing my sex life; it was about rebuilding a stronger and better narrative about myself and my body—one that was ready to embrace intimacy in all its forms.

Prioritizing emotional connection

Another crucial step for me to feel comfortable diving back into an active sex life was prioritizing an emotional connection with my husband. I realized that I needed to establish a deep emotional bond before my body could relax and be ready for intimacy. This meant speaking each other’s love language throughout the day, going on dates (even at home), and finding moments to express our feelings in a safe environment.

Developing a strong emotional connection wasn’t about grand gestures; it was about the little things that brought us closer together. Whether it was small conversations over morning coffee or spontaneous acts of kindness, we made a conscious effort to build our bond throughout the day. We learned to listen actively, validate each other’s feelings, and create a space where we could be vulnerable. Once the emotional connection felt strong, the physical aspect became a natural next step.

sex after episiotomy
Source: Ron Lach | Pexels

Scheduling intimacy

When I first heard of the idea of scheduling sex, I thought that was the opposite of sexy. I used to believe that a great sex life meant being spontaneous, wild, and inventive, but after motherhood, that seemed less and less attainable. When I broached the idea of scheduling sex with my husband, I wasn’t sure how he’d react, but if there’s one thing that makes our relationship stronger, it’s our willingness to support each other’s needs.

Now, we’re not the type of couple to put the sex date on the calendar for every Tuesday and Thursday just yet, but we do try to discuss which days we can and should prioritize intimacy. The beauty of this approach is that it opens up space for more acts of romance and flirting throughout the day. Engaging in emotional foreplay for the entire day makes the physical connection all the more satisfying at night.

Investing in physical comfort

Although the emotional connection helps increase my desire for sex, the actual act sometimes needs some assistance. I realized that to feel confident during sex, I needed to prioritize physical comfort as well. So, I began exploring options like lubrication, postpartum-friendly sex positions, and even clothing that makes me feel good.

Finding the right lubricant was a game-changer. It helped alleviate discomfort, and I felt less afraid of vaginal pain. I also discovered positions that are gentle on my postpartum body; when I felt relaxed, I was able to enjoy sex without overthinking. Additionally, wearing clothing that makes me feel confident and sexy has had a surprisingly positive impact on my overall comfort level and mindset during sex.

Even though there will still be days when sex may be the last thing on my mind, I am embracing the messiness that comes with exploring physical intimacy postpartum. While the idea of having anything near my vagina terrified me after being split in half two times, working through it emotionally, physically, and mentally is helping me not only regain desire and love for sex but also for myself and my partner. Once I realized that my sex life during motherhood could look however I wanted it to with my partner, I learned that I didn’t have to try to reach someone else’s goal of a “good sex life.”

I am constantly reminding myself that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to pleasure and connection. It’s about finding what works for us, honoring our bodies, and creating deep connections. Here’s to more exploration and, hopefully, sex.