So, you’ve just given birth. Congratulations! You were probably told (depending on how you delivered) you should be cleared for sex in around four to six weeks. While that may work for some people, for others, the thought of any sort of penetration going on down there is highly unpleasant.
But don’t worry — there’s some good news. First of all, there is no hard-and-fast rule to say when you should be having intercourse again. That’s totally up to you and how you’re feeling in your body. We don’t talk a lot about all the changes that happen to your body after giving birth, and your vagina is no exception. Even in the smoothest of all birth experiences, it goes through a lot, so it’s important to listen to your body and get back into sex when and how you feel ready.
Speaking of which, the second piece of good news is that sex is so much more than penis-in-vagina intercourse. There are plenty of other things you can do with your partner (if you so choose), including focusing on clitoral stimulation and not sticking anything in your vagina. While this can be accomplished via fingers and tongues, sex toys could also be a good option for easing your way back into sexual pleasure after having a baby. (And yes, in case you needed a reminder, mothers are still sexual beings.)
If you’re new to sex toys or are looking for some non-penetrative options, here are a few recommendations.
Basically an extension of your own fingers (or your partner’s) that also vibrates, Fin is a good option for those looking to gently focus on the clitoris. The user controls everything from the pressure to the exact spot the product is used to the intensity of vibrations. And according to Alex Fine, the CEO of Dame Products (which makes Fin), it comes with an added bonus: Some users found that it is helpful for relieving clogged nipple ducts when used on the breasts. Fine suggests wearing it while you’re breastfeeding to help alleviate any discomfort.
It’s all in the name, really: Squish is a, well, squishy egg-shaped vibrator that increases in intensity the more it is squeezed. To do this, the user can squeeze it between their legs (giving them a hands-free experience) or use their hand to guide it and control the vibrations. Lastly, Polly Rodriguez, CEO of Unbound, which makes Squish, tells SheKnows that because the product is waterproof and rechargeable, it makes it especially convenient for new moms.
Oh! Feather Tickler
Yes, the clit is an integral part of sexual pleasure (for people who have one), but let’s not forget about other sensual experiences, like erotic touch. “Foreplay is a great way to excite the body and reawaken sexual urges” says Lovehoney sexpert Coco Cameron. “Use the Oh! Feather Tickler, trailing the fluffy feathers over the skin. This causes the ultra-sensitive nerve endings in the skin to sit up and pay attention, making you tingle and shiver with excitement and reminding your body how good it feels to be touched intimately.”
If you’ve used a wand massager (like the Hitachi Magic Wand), you probably know those vibrations can be very intense. While you may not be quite ready for direct massager-on-clit or -vulva contact, products like the Desire Luxury Wand or Le Wand can be used in different ways, including as an actual massager for other parts of your body — especially those that are especially sore after the sleepless nights and stress of caring for a new baby.
“Ease yourself into sexual pleasure after giving birth by having your partner give you a full-body massage,” Cameron suggests. “This will awaken erogenous zones all over the body, including places that haven’t received a lot of attention lately.”
Additionally, Alicia Sinclair, CEO of Le Wand, says using the product for clitoral stimulation “brings increased circulation to the vagina, which aids its healing and lubrication.” So, if penetration isn’t in the cards yet, this could be a good alternative.
While this isn’t actually a sex toy, the Elvie Trainer ensures you do your Kegels correctly and acts like a video game. After inserting a small device in your vagina, you can watch your Kegels on your phone in real time and exercise your pelvic floor muscles through different workouts.
According to Tania Boler, co-founder and CEO of Elvie, pelvic floor health is especially important during pregnancy because additional pressure on the pelvic floor can result from weight gain and the shift in the woman’s centre of gravity. Kegel exercises following childbirth can help reduce the risk of prolapse, speed up recovery and reduce back pain, she adds.
Annabelle Kathryn of New York recently had a baby and tells SheKnows that she has enjoyed using the Elvie Trainer.
“For me, post-childbirth, what I loved about it was the few minutes were truly time for me and time to reconnect to my vagina and really get to know it again,” she says. “I feel like I did it for me — not a partner — and felt like it got me back into myself.”
The important part is to make sure you’re comfortable and enjoying yourself with post-childbirth sex — or any sex for that matter. If that means using sex toys to get back into it, then more power to you (pun intended). If not, that’s completely fine too. Either way, we’re here with suggestions if you want to take matters into your own hands.