Sex after baby

How much sex should you be having after having a baby? (A honest discussion.)

People don’t bring up this topic enough — and it’s actually really important to couples and relationships. Not discussing it just causes problems. So, let’s discuss it!

First up: best practice is to wait six weeks after having a baby, although many doctors say “set your own timeline.”

OK, so let’s say we wait six weeks. Now it’s been a month and a half. Maybe you are back to work, or the dad is, or whatever the specific situation you find yourselves in. You are also probably tired — potentially very tired. But sex is important to the relationship. [Hell, it’s probably how this baby entered the world in the first place, right?] Alright, well — let’s turn to some research!

How much sex do the experts say you should be having?

Let’s start with Jezebel here:

That mystery solved, why would therapists push for twice a week? The reason: Reverse engineering, AKA, wishful thinking. In other words, happy couples report that they have sex about two to three times per week, so the idea is that by doing it twice a week, perhaps you too can glean the happiness of the happiest people. But doing what happy people do doesn’t mean it will make you happy, because there’s always the possibility that it’s the happiness that leads to the twice-weekly boning, and not the boning that leads to the happiness, dig?

I like the phrase “twice-weekly boning.” That’s a good trivia team name.

Here’s The New York Post:

According to couples psychotherapist and certified sex therapist Sari Cooper, studies have found that “happy couples have sex three to four times per week.” But she cautions couples to be wary of the results, which may only survey snippets of respondents’ time together. “These polls may not take in the total picture of a couple’s life — think early marriage, pregnancy, having young children, or having a job that requires travel — and may cause perfectly happy couples to feel inferior or worried that they’re not doing enough.”

Daily Mail throws a little more context behind it:

Now, a leading sexual health doctor has claimed the average couple has sex two to three times a week.

But, many men are not able to hold out long enough to satisfy their partners, Dr Harry Fisch claims.

Dr Harry Fisch says the average couple has sex two to three times a week but that it often does not last long enough to satisfy the woman

The urologist, from New York Presbyterian Hospital, says about 45 per cent of men orgasm within two minutes of starting penetrative sex, which is much too quick for the average woman.

He adds that most women need five to seven minutes to reach orgasm, reports.

The doctor says the average man has 11 erections a day and that some young men see having sex many times a day as normal.

So this guy is saying 2-3 times (similar to above) but also reporting there’s a huge disconnect between male orgasm time and female orgasm time, which I don’t think would surprise anyone. Everything about “female orgasm” is semi-fraught, as an aside.

What are PEOPLE saying about how much sex you should be having?

If you want to go bigger on sample size here and use actual people instead of sex therapists, here’s a Reddit thread (with 278 comments) where people talk about their amount-of-sex-per-week relative to their age, time married, and kids. Some of the better comments are subsequently summarized on Huffington Post.

This feels like a good place to end, contextually:

Pretend right now that you didn’t have any conception of how often couples “should” or “shouldn’t” be having sex. Imagine that we live in a world where people have as much sex as they feel like having, and no one worries about it. If that was the case, would you be writing this email to me? Would you be feeling concerned about your relationship? In other words, are you missing having as much sex with your boyfriend, or is your question being driven by a fear that you guys aren’t “normal”?

I actually texted a few people and had a wide range of responses, and I had a male friend do the same. Out of about 20 people texted, we got one response north of six. (Good on them, I guess.) Most people said 2, and everyone with a kid less than a year old said 1-2 max. So that’s a small sample size, but it’s something.


Bottom line: it’s what works for that couple. But, if you’re really into quantifying? Dats says 2-3 times a week as a good place to start. But don’t feel badly if you are too tired or uncomfortable to have ANY sex for a while. And as always please remember breastfeeding is not birth control and you don’t need a menstrual cycle to get pregnant! 

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