By Elizabeth Black©

I read Mary Elizabeth Williams' article at Salon about having Teh
Sex after having a baby, and I could only think of one

What the hell was she thinking?

Maybe it's because I'm forty-five now and my son is about to go to
college. I have a much healthier attitude about Teh Sex now than I
used to have. I don't think Teh Sex post-baby is "something I am
supposed to do". Her unspoken words are "... because my husband
wants to fuck just like we did before I got preggers." I won't say
much about my previous marriage, which was not a good one. I was
told to wait six weeks post delivery to have sex again, which was
fine by me, since I had a episiotomy which hurt like hell. In case
you don't know, doctors will give a woman an episiotomy to make
the hole bigger for the baby's head to come out of. While it's
healing, it hurts like you wouldn't believe. Regular sitz baths
helped a lot, but it still hurt. My ex wanted to have sex at about
the fourth week, and I was still in pain. I gave in, and ripped my
episiotomy scar wide open. Big mistake. He was very
inconsiderate, which was nothing new for me. Despite my bad
marriage, I still loved sex. I did not let a bad marriage get in my
way of knowing that I deserved a healthy and vigorous sex life. I
just didn't have one at the time. I have always had a very high sex
drive, and my bad marriage did not affect my libido. I wished for
great, hot sex, but I didn't get it.

What really irked me was the attitude some men had about me as
my belly expanded. I have always been a very attractive woman.
I've been compared to Natalie Wood (my age is showing). Younger
men and women have compared me to Demi Moore. I can take a
compliment like the best of them. When I became pregnant, I was
very active in community theatre, an atmosphere that bases a lot
on what you look like. I always did crew work, mainly lighting,
scenic art, makeup (including prosthetics), and assistant directing.
Men who used to drool over me were completely turned off as I
gained baby weight and my belly expanded. I felt like an incubator
who had no sex appeal whatsoever. It was a great blow to my ego,
but I knew it wasn't my fault. Luckily, after I gave birth, I went
right back into theatre and lost the baby weight very quickly.
Shortly after I gave birth, I began working in union shops, and
making quite a bit of money. I also was used to hauling around 50
pound lamps (lights), so I buffed up very quickly. My body looked
like Vasquez's body from "Aliens". I couldn't do chin-ups, but I
could swing a fresnel (a type of light) around with the best of them.
The men who had been repulsed by my baby belly suddenly started
paying attention to me again. I was irritated, but I liked the
attention. At the same time, new men I met on my union jobs
found me very attractive, and they were surprised to learn that I
had a baby (and later toddler) at home. I even was hit on by
women. This is theatre and entertainment, after all. I knew I
looked good, and I flaunted it.

This section of Williams' article made me sit at the computer with
my mouth hanging open:

The baby's sleep was still as easily and noisily set off as a car
alarm on a Sunday morning. At the first sign of her buzz-saw-like
snore, we plopped her drowsing form in the other room, where
fitful gurgles told us we'd better try to wrap it up as soon as

We undressed quickly and he fondly touched my breasts, a pair of
old friends he hadn't seen in a while. I cringed. His hands felt like
sandpaper on my raw skin. It wasn't just that it was painful,
though; it was worse than that. After having the baby on them all
day, I wanted them all to myself for a while. They'd gone from sex
props to utilitarian devices, and the thought of having somebody
else needing my tools filled me with dread. I swatted his hands
away with a grimace. He looked at me, a mixture of hurt and
concern on his face. So much for foreplay.

It didn't get any steamier from there. "How do you want to do
this?" he whispered huskily, while I paused to contemplate my
options. I climbed aboard, figuring that would afford me the
greatest measure of control.

It was agonizing. You'd think that after delivering something the
size of a Thanksgiving turkey, a woman would feel like she'd just
added a lane or two to her private highway. Instead, I'd lately been
looking at my ultra-slim tampons and thinking, Oh God, no, never.
My earliest sexual exploits had been awkward and a little
uncomfortable, but full of fun and foreplay. This? This felt like the
Amityville Horror, my husband in the role of unwelcome interloper
and my lower half ominously commanding, Get out!

Her lower body was housing The Devil, and it needed a priest for
exorcism? Where the hell did she get this horrible opinion of her
own body and Teh Sex? As far as the sore nipples and breasts go,
she should have gone without a bra for a few years before having
the baby. I never wear a bra. I didn't have a problem with tender
nipples as my baby nursed because I was already toughened. I
have never viewed my breasts as "utilitarian devices". They are
mine, I grew them, and I like them. A lot. All a man has to do is to
play with my breasts, and that will drive me crazy. My breasts are
my number one erogenous zone. When a man takes good care of
them, I will take good care of him.

I call myself a "sex-positive feminist", but I'm not sure I like the
term. The implication is that the opposite is "sex-negative
feminist", but I seriously doubt that there is such a thing. I don't
know of one feminist who dislikes sex. Some feminists have
opinions about how patriarchal notions have harmed the
enjoyment of sex, but they don't dislike sex. I'd like to find a
better term than "sex-positive feminist", but I haven't thought of
one or discovered one yet.

She continued, and the scenario became even more dire. She made
the mistake of blaming herself for not being ready for sex, yet she
blamed herself for being a poor lover.

We didn't last much longer after that. We hadn't even fully gotten
to penetration, let alone thrusting, let alone pleasure. After a few
uninspired minutes, I defeatedly flopped down beside him.

I had what is tactfully referred to as a performance problem. In a
previous life, I might have gamely switched tactics, attempted
some partner-pleasuring tricks of an oral or manual variety.
Instead, I sulked. My husband didn't push it. You'd be surprised
what a few yelps of "Ow. Ow. OWOW NOOOOOO" can do to
dampen a man's mood. In retrospect, if he'd still been up for it at
that point, I'd have considered the possibility that I had married a

I lay in bed thinking, I have failed.

There is a reason a woman's body says "Ow. Ow. OWOW
NOOOOOO" after she's had a baby. It means her body is not ready
for intercourse. She needs to heal completely before resuming
intercourse. It's not her fault that intercourse hurt. She did not

When are straight people going to learn that there is more to sex
than intercourse? If she and her husband want to have sex, but
her body is not ready for intercourse yet, there are plenty of things
she and her husband could have done that would have been just
as enjoyable as full-blown intercourse. They could have given each
other oral sex. They could give each other massages or scratch
each other's backs and heads. They could have used exotic oils to
massage each other. He could have inserted a couple of fingers
into her to get her used to the sensation again. Once it hurts, it's
time to back down a bit. They could have masturbated each other.
They could have tried figging, which is placing ginger up your ass.
It has to be fresh ginger root, not pickled ginger that comes in a
jar. She has to peel the ginger before inserting it. The smell of the
freshly peeled ginger will turn her and her partner on. A lot. Ginger
gives a burning sensation that make Teh Sex feel even more
exciting. People who practice S & M sometimes try figging, but
straight people can do it, too. She just should not clench her ass.
That will make the burning sensation more intense. Then again, if
she likes intense, she should clench her ass to her heart's
content. If the ginger burns too much, she can always wipe it off
with a moist wash rag or remove the ginger from her ass. If she
doesn't want to put anything up her ass, she can cut a small piece
of ginger and rub it on her labia and on her clitoris. The ginger will
make her burn, but the burning sensation can make Teh Sex very
hot. I highly recommend she try it. There are countless
possibilities for great sex without intercourse.

Williams went on to announce that she would no longer hold onto
bad notions about having sex:

I would no longer have the luxury of making love to prove my
prowess. I would no longer have sex because I believed it was
what I was supposed to do. I would have sex because I wanted to,
because dammit, I believed it would be fun. I would discover all
over again for the first time what would work for me and what
wouldn't. It's not that things ever quite went back to exactly as
they were, but I began to understand that they didn't have to. This
new stage would have its rewards too.

I'm still open to possibilities, eager for novel ways to discover bliss.

I'm just not such a hardass about it anymore. Six weeks after my
second child was born, I was back at the doctor's office, in the
same undignified, scooted-down position. "You're ready to resume
sexual activity," he pronounced authoritatively, as if speaking ex
cathedra. I smiled indulgently, thanked him, and immediately
resolved to ignore him. Because this time, I was going to be the
one to decide when I was ready. And I knew that someday soon, I
really would be.

Well, it's about time. The irritating thing is that we don't know
how she's changed her attitude about intercourse. That last
paragraph is where the article ends. All we know is that she
blamed herself for suffering through painful intercourse before her
body healed, and she blamed herself for the bad sex she made her
poor husband suffer through. I wanted to read more! I wanted to
read about how she discovered "novel ways to discover bliss". I
described a bunch of them. I wanted to know how she found the
fun in sex. I didn't get to hear that, though. I just heard about how
she blamed herself for her rotten sexual experience after having
intercourse too soon after giving birth. I'm convinced that some
women don't give themselves enough time to physically heal from
giving birth because their husbands want to have intercourse too
soon. I'm convinced that too many women have sex after giving
birth because they think that is what they are supposed to do.
That's just so wrong. There are lots of ways to give yourself and
your husband pleasure in bed, and intercourse is only one of
them. Once men and women learn all the different ways to give
themselves and each other pleasure. They will learn that sex is
much more enjoyable than they had ever imagined.
Elizabeth Black leads a
peaceful life on the
Massachusetts coast,
next to the ocean. She
has written many erotic
short stories. Her
stories have been
published in Xodtica,
Scarlet Magazine, and
Emerging Women
Writers. She lives in a
two-hundred year old
house that she sadly
admits is not haunted.
She is married with a
teenaged son, and she
is owned by six cats. lol
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