Dear Is This Normal,

Anyone unable to reach orgasm during pregnancy and postpartum? Currently 9 months postpartum and still nothing!

Signed,
Where Did My O Go?

Dear No O,

Pregnancy and postpartum really is the gift that just keeps on giving, isn’t it? You start to feel like you’re finally getting back to your “normal”, and then something else comes along and you’re like, what the actual eff? The physical, mental, and emotional side effects of pregnancy and postpartum recovery can last at least as long as the pregnancy itself, and oftentimes, even longer. And it can start to feel like you’re never going to be YOU again. I get it, I sympathize, and yes, this is pretty normal and really common (unfortunately).  

So many women experience loss of sexual satisfaction or ability to climax after they have a baby. But it’s hard to pinpoint an exact cause, because it’s different for every woman! It can be physical, or psychological, or even emotional. For example, if you’re breastfeeding, you may be experiencing vaginal dryness from the hormone changes associated with breastfeeding. That can make sex painful, and it can also seriously impact your ability to climax. Or you may be suffering from pelvic floor weakness as a result of your pregnancy and childbirth; the pubococcygeal muscle is located in the pelvic floor, and that muscle controls orgasm. So if it’s overtaxed or even damaged from pregnancy and childbirth, your ability to climax will be affected. Women who suffer from postpartum depression may experience sexual dysfunction or a loss of sexual desire. 

Hell, even just the day-to-day of being a new mom can take its toll – you’re tired, you’re stressed, and your body may respond in varying ways to exhaustion or stress levels. There’s this little part of your brain called the amygdala. It controls your fears, thoughts, feelings, and anxiety. All of which are sort of out of control after you have a baby! In order to have a pleasurable sexual experience, your amygdala needs to STFU and allow you to focus on the pleasurable act. If it doesn’t, you can pretty much kiss that orgasm goodbye. 

The good news is, your O is more than likely just on an extended vacation, and with a little work, you can convince it to come (heyo!) back. First things first: make an appointment with your OBGYN for a full work-up: blood work, pelvic floor evaluation, the whole nine yards. Your doctor will check your hormone and thyroid levels, and make sure that everything is on the up and up (low testosterone can also impact your ability to orgasm). If there’s something amiss with your hormones or pelvic muscles, your doc can help get you back on track! If you need a little extra something in the lube department because of breastfeeding, your doc can recommend a lubricant to use, or even prescribe one that can increase sensation at the same time. 

But getting your groove back may also require you to switch things up a bit in the bedroom. Increase intimacy with your partner – focus less on the act of sex and more on building on shared intimacy and desire. A lot of women have a hard time orgasming with penetration alone after pregnancy and childbirth, so if that was your usual route before, change it up a bit! Use a vibrator during foreplay for clitirol stimulation, or even during sex for continuous stimulation on your clitoris. Finger and oral play should also VERY much on the table – sometimes, literally on the table! If you’re in a rut, get yourselves out of it, and go out of your comfort zones. 

Whether you’re missing O is a result of physical changes or the mental and emotional toll of new parenting, I know you’re anxious to get it back. It’s important to have that connection with your partner. And let’s be honest – it just feels freaking amazing. Don’t write it off entirely just yet. I have a feeling it’ll come roaring back when you least expect it.

Missing O Search Party Reporting for Duty,

Is This Normal

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