When A Post-Baby Body Causes a Saggy Sex Life
~By Elle Davis, Writer, This is Mommyhood
My husband and I used to have a great sex life. He joined the Navy a few months after he graduated college, so for the first 12 years of our marriage we had to endure months without seeing each other. While he was gone, I had to — ahem — take sexual matters into my own hands. But when he came home from deployment, it was all I could do not to rip his clothes off right there, “there” being on a military base in front of the other wives watching and waiting for their men on the dock.
We’ve been married for 17 years, and during that time certain parts of my body have been stretched and begun to sag. I’m not perky in all the right places like I used to be when I was a 20-something girl. My husband assures me that there’s nothing wrong with my body (what a sweet liar), but I’m still self-conscious, and over the years our sex life has waned because of it.
My post-pregnancy body ushered in only more insecurity. Sex became exhausting, but not for the right reasons. Before our clothes came off, I would make sure the lights were out, closing the blinds to seal out any intruding light. His hands would roam all over my body and I would suck in my stomach. I also became an expert at a certain move to make my boobs look perky. You might know the one. I would lay my arms at my side and lift my breasts up so they wouldn’t fall into my armpits. Instant perkiness, as long as I didn’t move my arms.
So there I was on the bed, stomach sucked in as far as it would go and arms against my side holding up my boobs, all while trying to guide my husband’s hands to a place on my body — like my hair — that I wasn’t self-conscious about. I know, totally wild and sexy. RAWR!
Not long after I had my daughter via cesarean section, complications larger than my personal animal magnetism arose. I began experiencing extreme abdominal pains, which resulted in even less sex with my husband. Eventually, I had to have another abdominal surgery to address the problem, leaving me with four small scars on my stomach. Four small, raised, red scars. It took me a few weeks to even look at my stomach and much longer than that to regain any confidence in the bedroom.
When I finally recovered and my husband and I started having sex again, I left my shirt on. Sure, I soon became a pro as a contortionist, but the scars are like a big flashing neon sign to me that I’m not as attractive as I used to be. It has now been two years since I’ve had surgery, and the scars haven’t gotten much better, even after using over-the-counter treatments that promise to reduce them.
Fortunately, I am becoming more confident, although it has been slow going. I no longer feel the need to wear a shirt during sex, but I still can’t fully enjoy our time between the sheets like I used to. The scars on my stomach have somehow transferred to my brain, which isn’t fair to my libido. After all, I like sex — a lot — and I need to like myself again enough to give my sex life the energy it deserves.