Here's a topic you don't see too often... postpartum self-pleasure. Self-pleasure, aka masturbation, is a form of self-care that is excellent for mothers struggling with the changes to their bodies after pregnancy. Masturbation helps relieve stress and gives you something pleasurable and fun to look forward to when trying to establish and balance a new normal. Self-pleasure may actually be one of the easiest ways for moms to get back into their sexual groove again.
Getting comfortable with yourself and your body all over again can help you overcome postpartum depression symptoms or other common feelings or physical challenges after childbirth. In this article, I'll share my thoughts on how self-pleasure can be helpful during postpartum recovery.
Do what feels good.
There's no way to say this that won't sound patronizing, so I'll just come out and say it: do what feels good. While it's true that the physical effects of delivering a baby are strenuous on a woman's body, it's important to remember that postpartum sex and pleasure are still possible. In fact, with some patience, care, and maybe even help from a professional sex coach or therapist, you can learn how to revive your sexuality after childbirth.
It's also important to remember that the process won't always feel natural or go as planned—and this is OK! Instead of focusing on how long it takes until things feel normal again (which could take weeks or even months), focus on enjoying yourself at each stage along the way. The goal should not necessarily be to have an orgasm but instead, be centered around taking time for yourself and making sure that you're able to feel good when you can. Self-pleasure after childbirth is a good time to get creative and remove any inhibitions. That doesn't mean ignoring all other responsibilities—it just means setting aside some time each day or week to reconnect with yourself again. Remember, this isn't about achieving orgasm; it's about taking care of yourself so that you can be ready for more sexual activity soon.
Be patient and gentle.
It's natural to want to get back into the swing of things, but remember that your body IS going through changes. It can take up to six weeks after childbirth for your pelvic floor muscle strength to return to normal. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort while self-pleasuring, don't be afraid to reach out to your OB/Gyn, Doula, or Sex Coach/Therapist. Don't rush or force yourself into doing anything you're not ready for. Instead, take time and ease into it as you adjust and allow your body some time to properly heal.
It can be challenging to determine what does and doesn't feel good immediately after birth. Remember that masturbation isn't about doing it "right" but more about exploring your body and discovering what you like or dislike. As you explore, focus on how amazing YOU feel when YOU touch yourself in certain areas. Make sure you take your time exploring your body and focus on pleasure, not orgasming. It's also essential to trust your instincts about what feels good for you.
During the postpartum period, you may experience vaginal dryness or lack of sensation during sex or solo play after giving birth. This can be remedied with lube or other products designed specifically for postpartum women.
Say yes to lube.
Some women experience vaginal dryness after childbirth. In this case, lube can be a great addition to your repertoire for self-pleasure. Lube makes masturbation (and sex) more pleasurable by decreasing friction that causes vaginal pain and discomfort.
You'll want to get a good-quality lube that doesn't have harsh chemicals or ingredients (such as glycerin). The best way to test if your lube works well with your body is by applying some beforehand and seeing how long it lasts before you need more.
If you need more than what your body naturally provides postpartum, consider using one of these lubricants from Momentum. There are multiple options: water-based, silicone, hybrid (a mix of silicone and water-based), and organic aloe. They're compatible with all condoms (including latex) and sex toys made from silicone, glass, and metal materials. If you plan on using these products with condoms or certain sex toys made from other materials (such as TPR), make sure there is no oil in the formula, so it doesn't break down the material over time.
Don't be hard on yourself.
After giving birth, you will notice that your body may feel out of whack. The duration of this feeling varies as each woman and pregnancy are all different. Set the expectation that it can take a while for things to get back to normal; this includes your sex drive. But remember, this isn't a race! The fact that you're feeling this way is entirely expected. Take your time recovering from pregnancy and delivery, and don't be so hard on yourself.
You may need a few weeks or even months to fully recover from childbirth, but there's no reason you can't explore your body and learn what feels good for you now. Focus on what feels good and connect with your body in new ways. Be gentle with yourself and take as much time as you need before getting into regular sexual activity again.
Suppose these suggestions don't help you get back on track with self-pleasure after childbirth in the near future (or ever). In that case, there's no shame in seeking professional advice from your doctor, a Sex Coach, or a Therapist. You have the right to feel good, and pleasure is a part of that.