*Warning – the link for the article that I am quoting from below may be considered NSFW*
So what happens when you get a GP and Family Planning Specialist, and a Psychotherapist and Life Coach together to write about sex after giving birth? You end up with this train wreck of an article. Honestly I expected that two such qualified people would be able to write an article that used language that was easily understandable and didn’t read like the two authors were thinking that their 12 year old children might read it.
My first issue with the article is not the language, but instead the hetero-centrism, that the only people who give birth are women who are in relationships with men (not other women), and secondly that sometimes people who give birth don’t identify as women.
So the point of the article is about resuming sexual activity after giving birth, and things that couples (and individuals) should keep in mind given the trauma of childbirth on the vagina.
(All quote below are from the article above unless specified otherwise)
You see, childbirth is a pretty traumatic process for a woman. Having a baby pass through her vagina is almost like having a small explosion go off inside her.
Apparently children are explosive. I found this short paragraph really confusing. Since I’ve never had an explosion go off in me, and I assume most people haven’t, and I assume that most people haven’t actually ever played with explosive materials, I don’t know how anyone is supposed to assess what an explosion going off inside someone is actually like.
And I love the use of “a woman”, because really this article isn’t written for the person who just gave birth, but presumably for the other partner who wants to resume sex, because masturbation isn’t enough.
Furthermore, childbirth involves considerable hormone changes – as well as emotional stresses. And as a consequence, very, very few women feel rampagingly sexy until a long time after they have given birth.
Oh those days of feeling rampaginly sexy… whatever that actually means. If they mean that the person who gave birth may not feel horny/randy/hungry for sex for a period after giving birth, perhaps they’d’ve been better of saying that.
Therefore, it’s important for both mother and father to realise that lovemaking may not go brilliantly in the first six months or so after the baby arrives. So be prepared – and be patient!
Or you know, the mother and the mother, or any other variation that works in context. I do think the last sentence, minus the exclamation mark, is a great thing to tell people though. Be patient and prepared for things to be different.
Traditionally, midwives and doctors have advised that a woman shouldn’t consider having full sex (ie intercourse) until after her postnatal check-up. This examination usually takes place about six weeks after the birth.
However, in recent years several American medical publications have pointed out that there is no real scientific basis for this ‘prohibition’ until sex weeks.
Just pointing out the last sentence, because it is a very funny, unintentional typo.
Even then, she may not feel ready to ‘go all the way’ – particularly if she has had stitches and the opening of her vagina is sore.
If you’re in any doubt about whether to resume sex, ask the doctor who does your postnatal examination for advice – particularly about using additional lubrication.
She? She??? Is this article directed at the partner of the person who has given birth or the person who has given birth? The following sentence in that quote is then directed at the person who has given birth. A little bit of consistency on who the article is addressing (hint: it should be the person who has given birth) would be nice.
Can you go in for any other sexual activity before resuming intercourse?
Yes – and it can be a good way of ‘letting off steam’. Couples do often get very frustrated when they’re waiting to resume sexual intercourse. This applies particularly to men!
Yes, masturbation (and hey using that word won’t kill you) is a fine thing. If someone doesn’t want sex, then the other one masturbating is all well and good in my book. And we all know how men starve to death if they don’t regularly get off… and how especially sexual they are, and how they must have all their needs catered too… blah blah blah.
Can both of you go as far as the point of climax?
Definitely! It will do the postnatal woman no harm at all to have orgasms if she wants to.
So, things you can do include:
- hand petting of the man by the woman – what’s often called a hand job
- hand petting of the woman by the man – using his fingers to stimulate her clitoris. But he should not put his fingers inside until she has had her postnatal examination and the doctor or midwife has said that everything has healed up. So, just stick to stroking and rubbing the outside of her sex organs. It’s quite safe to pay plenty of attention to her clitoris, which is well away from the area where stitches are put in
- oral sex performed on the man by the woman. This type of loveplay – termed fellatio – often proves a great boon to a male who is desperate for sexual release
- mutual caressing of various other parts of each other’s bodies.
Most awkward descriptions of non-penetrative sexual activities ever.
I have always considered my clitoris part of my sexual organs, so it’s a bit of a surprise to discover that they aren’t.
Is there anything we should avoid?
Yes. Please heed this important warning. You’ll note that in the section above we have not recommended oral sex performed by the man on the woman (ie ‘going down’ on her).
This activity – often termed cunnilingus – is definitely off limits during the first few of months after childbirth.
Why? For two reasons.
- It could introduce infection into the vagina and womb.
- Even more seriously, it has occasionally led to death. These tragedies have occurred because the man has (often accidentally) managed to blow air into the vagina. Air can very easily get into the blood vessels of the newly-delivered womb – and cause an often fatal illness called ‘air embolism’. Not long ago, the British newspapers reported an appalling case in which a man forced his wife into cunnilingus shortly after she came home from hospital, puffed air into her – and killed her.
Some more awkwardly worded euphemisms for sexual activity.
I note that they don’t discuss the possibility of performing oral sex with a dam to avoid either of the two issues that they have raised, which would be sensible and you know practising safer sex.
I would like to know what a newly-delivered womb is. I didn’t know that once you had given birth you also received a new womb, is it part of a two-for-one deal? I might also add, that if someone is blowing air into a vagina during oral sex they may (unless it’s your thing) be doing oral sex wrong. Oral sex, as far as I understand, experience, and provide, generally focusses on the clitoris, which isn’t exactly co-located with the vagina (in the same way that your eyes and your nose aren’t co-located), same general location, but still separate.
I also love the scaremongering of the story about the man who forced (in which case it was rape) his wife into receiving oral sex, who later died of an air embolism – please note the lack of link, date, or any details which make this story searchable (I tried).
So I went and looked up air embolisms and oral sex, I found the following (with thanks Go Ask Alice):
My girlfriend and I have oral sex. I heard that if you blow in the vagina of a female that it could kill her. Is that true?
Yes, it’s a true but very rare occurrence. When air is blown or forced directly into a vagina — without allowing any air to escape — an air embolism (the abnormal presence of air in the cardiovascular system) could form, which can be fatal. Women who are more at risk for this unlikely possibility are those whose pelvic vessels are enlarged (meaning, increased blood supply to the vagina) due to a condition such as trauma and possibly pregnancy. So, if a very large amount of air were to be blown or forced into their vaginal canals, it’s possible that the air could enter their bloodstream, causing a blockage in a blood vessel. As a result, some of these women, perhaps including the pregnant women’s fetus, may experience complications. In extraordinary cases, some of these women (and the fetus) may die if the embolism travels to the heart or lungs.
If you like blowing air into your girlfriend’s vulva, and if your girlfriend enjoys the sensations brought on by this, it may give you two some peace of mind to know that gently puffing some air into or breathing on a woman’s vulva during oral pleasuring appears to be okay. However, it might be better to suck, kiss, lick, probe, press (with lips or fingers), or lightly nibble a woman’s vulva or clitoris than blow or force air directly into her vagina. Safer and enjoyable oral sex on a woman mostly involves using a dam, finding out what feels good to her, and practice.
The answer, my friend, is not blowin’ in the women.
The remainder of the article is a mishmash of stuff that was previously mentioned and actual decent medical advice such as, get counselling if you need it to cope with depression, being a parent, etc. There is a brief discussion of post-pregnancy depression (for both partners), the change in libido, and communication and respect in relationships.
The second half of the article is far easier to read and manage than the second.
So that’s today’s WTF moment for you all.