Eva Amurri Martino’s Blog: Let’s Talk About Sex, (After) Baby

12/22/2015 at 05:00 PM ET

Look who’s back: It’s celebrity blogger Eva Amurri Martino!

The actress, who has followed in her mother Susan Sarandon‘s footsteps, is best known for her roles in Saved and on Californication, and she has guest-starred on The Mindy Project and New Girl.

Two years after tying the knot in Charleston, South Carolina, Amurri Martino and her husband, sports commentator and 36 Hours host Kyle Martino, announced they were expecting their first child — a baby girl.

The couple welcomed their now 16-month-old daughter Marlowe Mae in August 2014.

Amurri Martino has started a lifestyle blog, Happily Eva After, where she shares her adventures in motherhood, among other topics. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter @thehappilyeva.

Eva Amurri Martino blog
Nina Suh – Love & Lemonade

Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be … Okay, those are obviously Salt-N-Pepa lyrics, but I have found postpartum sex to be one of the least talked about (and trickiest!) parts about returning to life as you knew it after a baby.

If you feel uncomfortable talking about sex, or if it’s just an unsavory topic to you, please stop reading! It’s totally fine. Because I guarantee you, I am about to really get into it …

Sex after baby is a topic that eight or nine months ago I would have never even thought I’d be ready to discuss. It’s symptomatic of how insecure and strange I was feeling about my own sexuality and our sex life at the time, and I was so worried about what I thought it meant about me and our marriage.

Let me back up a little bit. I feel like the angst about sex starts well before baby arrives, during pregnancy. I will tell you that I was NOT one of those pregnant ladies who just felt “so feminine and sensual.” I actually ended up having a really enjoyable pregnancy with Marlowe, and loved my bump and the feminine feeling it gave me — but this didn’t translate at all to my desire for sex.

While I had always enjoyed a healthy sex life with my husband, my pregnancy threw it a little off of its tracks. We still had sex, but it was less frequent — and as my due date approached, practically nonexistent. There was just something about having sex while feeling Marlowe moving around in my belly that felt bizarre to me and really turned me off. I still felt really affectionate towards Kyle and wanted him near me all the time, but intercourse seemed like a no-go.

I mention this because I knew a couple of people during my pregnancy who were all about sex when they were pregnant and it ended up making me feel like a total asexual weirdo. It really worried me that I was somehow not like other pregnant women — even though I know now that this isn’t the case at all.

I did have one friend who told me that when she was pregnant with her kids she dutifully had sex with her husband regularly anyway, wishing she could have been on her iPhone catching up on emails while it was happening (ha!) and that made me feel a little better.

And then, just as you are feeling like a beached whale, your child comes out and destroys your vagina. Like the majority of women, when I birthed Marlowe I tore. Badly. Let’s suffice to say I needed a lot of stitches and the healing process was worse than the birth itself.

She’s lucky she’s so cute.

Of course I began to heal, like everyone does, but by the time the famous “six week mark” came around I was totally NOT ready to hop back in the saddle.

My OB/GYN has this joke that he makes with all his postpartum moms at their six-week checkup. He’ll breeze in the room and announce “Let’s check you out — your husband already called me six times this morning to see if you are allowed to have sex yet!” It’s hilarious (and by the way, I’m sure has really happened more than once), and it also really speaks to that expectation that the six-week postpartum mark designates the time that women are “supposed to” start having sex again.

But I will tell you that even having this appointment gave me anxiety. I felt so exhausted, emotionally raw, and my body felt like it was still majorly healing from my birth — the last thing I could think of was sex! This made me so insecure and overwhelmed that I wasn’t living up to the normal expectations of a postpartum wife — and that made me feel even less sexy.

I also felt so drained from having my baby on my breasts every couple of hours. After going through nine months of my body belonging to another person, and now having that tiny person on me all the time, I was feeling like I couldn’t handle any more physical contact. Even talking about having sex again reduced me to tears.

So we waited. And waited. And waited.

Eva Amurri Martino blog
Nina Suh – Love & Lemonade

Finally it was nine weeks postpartum and I thought my husband was going to spontaneously combust. I will give Kyle a lot of credit — he never put pressure on me in any way — but a wife is a wife and I knew the signs. It was killing him.

So we had sex.

And it was TERRIBLE.

It’s important to me not to mince words here — I think women being honest with each other is really important. I had heard tales of “the first time after baby” and it sounded painful, but what I experienced was even worse than what I had imagined! In my opinion, having sex for the first time after birthing a baby feels like having sex for the first time ever. It’s awkward, emotional, and extremely painful.

I was shocked and immediately started asking around to all of my friends who had had children. “Oh yeah,” they all told me. “It’s the worst. It took us a year to get back to normal.” Now I was panicked. A YEAR?!!!!! Like a year as in 12 months, 365 days? They must be exaggerating. They told me that practice makes perfect and that the best way to feel better was to get back to having sex consistently. Great.

I talked to my gynecologist as well. He told me that when you breastfeed, your body produces hormones that can turn down your sexual drive as well as make it more difficult for your body to tell itself that it is being turned on. Or in other words — your body isn’t making any of its own lubrication. He said that it majorly contributes to the pain of sex post-childbirth, and he recommended buying lube and using “a lot of it.”

Great.

He gave me a number for the amount of times we would probably have to have intercourse before it started to feel better. I forget the number now, but I think it was something like six or eight. He told me to call him if it wasn’t improving.

More from Eva’s PEOPLE.com blog series:

All of this information was just so crazy to me. It seemed like an even more full-time job to re-activate my sex life than it even had been to get pregnant! And whereas with the struggle to conceive I was completely dedicated and on top of it, this struggle to get back in the saddle with our sex life just felt so … Meh.

I’m going to be really honest and say it: I didn’t care. I love my husband beyond words, and find him extremely handsome, funny, smart and adorable, but I had a newborn. I was an exhausted emotional wreck just trying to find time to take a shower more than twice a week. The idea of working hard at having sex felt the same to me as riding a bike to China for a hamburger. Not interested.

And that was a major mistake. Nothing terrible happened, but I can look back now and realize that the number one thing that would have helped us as a couple transition faster and more easily into our life post-baby was to focus much more on us. On our relationship and on what mattered to both of us. I think if I had taken all of the advice about postpartum sex as I received it, things would have improved much more quickly. As it was, we did begin to have sex more consistently, and it did become better eventually, but surprise surprise — guess when we were finally “back?”

A year! A year postpartum, just as I had been told.

Of course the sex was better before that, but it was when Marlowe was around 12 or 13 months that I noticed we were completely back to our old (great) ways.

A year now doesn’t seem so long. When you become a parent, that time kind of flies by, and I wish that I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself and on us to be back to our normal sex life right away. I wish I hadn’t worried so much about what was expected and had focused more on how both of us were feeling at the time.

So my main message is this: There is no normal. It’s okay to have mixed feelings about your sensuality and sexuality after welcoming a child, and it’s okay to allow yourself time to process those changes. It’s also okay if you literally can’t wait to have sex as soon as those six weeks are up! Get it, girl!

HERE ARE MY TIPS FOR THE MORE HESITANT NEW MAMAS:

Lubrication is your friend. This one is all-natural and you can order it online (aka a 17-year-old boy isn’t going to ring you up at the register). Go crazy with the lube. Trust me.

Wine. Share a glass of wine with your partner. It’s one glass, enough to loosen you up, and not enough to make you hungover when the baby wakes up in approximately 43 minutes.

Take a bath. In my opinion, there are few things more relaxing than a bubble bath and a nice glass of wine.

After the first few times (ouch), find a week where you guys can plan on having sex every day. Yes, every day. The key to postpartum sex is getting to the point where the sex isn’t built up at all. You’re not worrying about when it’s going to happen, or how it’s going to happen, and it just becomes something that you do together again. Not a special event. This trick really helped us get back on track.

Fake it ’til you make it. I’m not talking about faking orgasms — that is entirely up to you. What I’m talking about is putting on your sexy persona as if it’s a beautiful silk robe. Just try it on, see what it feels like — how you feel with it on. Pretend to enjoy your sensuality and your sensuality will follow suit.

Give yourself a break. You created a human. You brought a new and perfect life into the world. You are not how you have sex, or who you have sex with. You are not what your body looks like — you are what your body has accomplished. Allow yourself the power and confidence of somebody who has done something truly remarkable and luxuriate in that feeling. The rest is details.

xoxo,

— Eva Amurri Martino

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 63 comments

Titi on

Sing it, sister!

Bee on

At first I was like, “Ugh, I don’t need to know about Susan Sarandon’s daughters sex life” but this was actually a really interesting and helpful article! Glad I kept reading. Basically it just convinced me to put off having a baby for a while longer haha.

Rikki1999 on

I like Eva. She seems very grounded, even though she is the daughter of a famous movie actress.

heidi f on

Love your total honesty, Eva, about a subject few moms feel comfortable even discussing… Wow, after delivering a full human being and then providing food for that same little person, who even can think of being needed in a sensual way. Yet, it is vitally important for both the new Mama and Daddy to address this issue together and make their time together and love-life a priority! Because when your sweet kiddos are grown and leave the nest, it will only be the two of you, again, and that connection is important to maintain through all the years of growing a family and loving each other. 🙂

Your sweet, little Marlowe is precious and reminds me of Grandma Susan, and you as well… Enjoy a special Christmas together!!!

cds on

She is so cool! I like her — she seems very down to earth.

DanaDrew18 on

This article/blog is wonderful! Very real and truthful.

cds on

What a down to earth young woman. Very likeable.

Anonymous on

I thought the majority of this article was very well written, but as an asexual person, I was offended by her use of the term “total asexual weirdo.” This is the stigma that prevents people like me from feeling like people, and I’d appreciate it if people wouldn’t perpetuate that. As Eva said later on, you are not how you have sex or who you have sex with. Or how and who you don’t. Just something to think about.

Cheryl S on

I delivered via c-section but I breastfed for a year with both of my sons and everything she states is so true!

Paula on

Very well written post, loved reading it.

Courtney on

Well written and so true! I couldn’t wait to get back to “normal” if there is such a thing and then I found I needed more time to heal and there was some follow up repairs needed which delayed the process, plus I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Anyway – it’s totally worth it and sex is a less important part of your life.

Add a loving husband to the checklist and it is the perfect list!

Looking forward to reading your next blog!

grandma on

Damn Girl! Each post is better than the last. I admit, I didn’t think I would like you but you are the best.

grandma on

Just wanted to add, that seeing Anonymous’ post and I do agree that a quick edit is needed. There is nothing weird about being asexual or bisexual or anything.

Jayleen on

Wow, I never realized how lucky I was. After both of my pregnancies, at the six week mark, I was more than ready to have sex again, it didn’t hurt, felt great, in fact. It’s great that she’s sharing, letting others know it can be difficult. Kudos to her. Her daughter is absolutely beautiful.

blessedwithboys on

That OB sounds like a misogynist jerk.

Mariella on

Tastefully and truthfully written! I felt the same way after I gave birth. It took a little less than a year to feel normal again. And I never would have the courage to ask my girlfriends about this because I would have thought I am weird. LOL At least, the next time, I would know what to expect. We’re just waiting for my son to turn 2 (in two months) before we try having another baby.

Katie on

I was one of those people who was more than ready to have sex again, and if it had been okay, I would have done it a week after delivery, but of course, it wasn’t okay, and we waited until 6 weeks.

I think some of it depends on how soon your baby sleeps a longer stretch at night…my first slept all night at 6 weeks, and I mean all night…8 pm to 8 am! Next one, not so much, so it was definitely a little harder to get excited seeing him walk through the door at night.

We chose to make it a priority, so your ideas about that seem to be excellent. My babies were very important, and very special, but my spouse is every bit as important to me. Now they are grown, and I am glad we really worked on that relationship as being every bit as important. I didn’t have to neglect them to keep my relationship going with him, and it helped that he tried very hard to be a good dad and spouse!

Obvious on

That was a fabulous read! It’s refreshing reading someone speak so candidly about her postpartum sex life, while not being at all crude or vulgar.

More like this, People mag!

comicsdaughter on

Refreshingly honest blog, and I imagine very helpful and reassuring to many young moms. You GO Eva.

Jill on

Thank you for writing a realistic article about this time in a woman’s life! The media makes women feel like we are supposed to bounce back so quickly, and it puts a lot of unrealistic expectations on women! Eva, your daughter is precious, and I hope you have recovered well from your recent miscarriage.

Allison on

THANK YOU! Thank you so much for writing this article!

Ray on

Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for writing this!

Danni on

Thank you, thank you, thank you Eva!! So true and so honest…. My daughter is now 2 but I went through the exact same thing as you so I’m with you in this sister!!

Melissa on

This was a fantastic well written realistic article. I wish this was out 4 years ago when I had my son. I wouldn’t have felt so confused and worried that something was off.

Lauren on

This completely describes how I felt post partum. Thank you for sharing!

Aurelia on

This is one of the most refreshing articles posted on your site EVER. I might visit more often if every post was as real as this one. I applaud Eva for her fabulously honest writing style and subject matter. It’s important for mothers to support each other, along with being real, instead of pretending like these very common issues don’t exist. Love it. Bravo, Eva!

Jenny on

Nailed it!

Anonymous on

I have always liked Eva & her honest portrayal of her life. Refreshing. Her Mom too. I would suggest, very good people. Just nice to hear the real slog of what life is all about – that is what is most helpful.

I am 15 yrs in from my 1st birth. And I am always suspicious of people who know it all & do it all perfectly after only being a parent for 5 mins.

Eva’s words are lovely & real. #respect

Pam on

Exactly how I felt after my son came along.

INTP mom on

This happened to me. Postpartum breastfeeding hormones made sex extremely painful, and just using more lube didn’t help at all. I think it’s awful to tell women to just power through the pain and accept that sex has to be painful. Luckily for me, my doctor prescribed an estrogen cream to address the hormone issue and a numbing gel for the pain.

Having sex when it’s painful doesn’t make it better, it only makes it worse because you associate sex with pain which doesn’t help anybody. If you have painful sex after baby, do yourself a favor and ask for a prescription for estrogen cream. Trust me.

Renee on

Love it! So perfectly written that I feel I could have said it myself.

We did try after a few weeks and it was so painful, then after my second birth (only 15 months after our first) and more tearing it was even worse. It definitely took us around 12 months to get back to our old ways and to be honest the sex is even better than it was before kids!

DaisyMoon on

This was a good read.

Zox on

This is an honest article especially for women who had postpartum after giving the birth, so many women can relate to. Kudo to her.

Claire on

My husband and I were determined to have the lil ones be a PART of our family and not the entire focus of every single thing we did or said (well, after the first 3 months or so. Before then, the baby rules us all). It’s amazing how many people still let their kids rule everything in their worlds from what they cook for dinner, who sleeps in their bed and what restaurants are acceptable.

No.

It’s a kid, not a messiah.

So, how do we make the marriage the most important thing? We did like Eva did: take enough time to heal (yay for c sections here!) and then get to it. Not every day but maybe every other and not always intercourse. Oral is your friend. You get the happy feels, the connection with your man and all the good stuff without the painful part. I breastfed so I understand that feeling of not wanting another body “on me”. So, oral. My suggestion. It’s something that only you two do and it’s not a part of you that you are sharing with your new one.

Ultimately, you’ll get the baby thing under control (usually when baby #2 arrives to make you realize just how much free time you had with only one!). Women have been doing this since we crawled out of the oceans, or at least had mammalian births. It might be miraculous to you but it is just another function of your body that you were born to do. Enjoy the miracle and take comfort in the ritual.

We got this. It’ll all come together eventually whether it’s 6 days, weeks or months. Just be creative and don’t be such a stick in the mud because now that you have a kid, life is going to involve all kinds of stuff you’d never thought you’d hear yourself say or do. 🙂

JRC on

I literally have never posted before but I just have to say THANK YOU. I feel like I’d been properly warned about so many things when I was pregnant but not this one! How is that possible? You made it feel so much more normal and natural. Keep blogging!!

Anonymous on

I’m not a biological mom, but I did raise my husband’s (then boyfriend’s) newborn from age 2 months after his ex girlfriend (who he didn’t know was pregnant) dropped her off in his lap and went on a drug bender. The baby was born addicted as well, so needless to say that the first couple of months were extremely rough. I didn’t have the pain or bodily changes from childbirth, but I had the overwhelming exhaustion.

Remembering to put your relationship first, or at least make it a priority, is an important lesson to learn. It becomes very easy to take it out on the only other adult in the family when the new little human is draining all of your energy and demanding all of your time. While I’m advocating to ignore your children, making yourself a slave to them is an excuse that far too many women use to avoid facing the issues building in their marriage.

Anonymous on

Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this experience. I’ve been so ashamed to bring this up with girlfriends because I assume I’m the only one who feels this way, so it’s incredibly reassuring and refreshing to know I’m not alone, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel! Thank you for being so open and honest.

Stephanie on

Great article!!!!! So honest and true!!!! Thank you!!!! Wish I had read this when I was post pregnancy!

Dawn S on

I LOVE this article! Thanks for the real talk! Seriously I never knew what post-baby sex was going to be about after I had my first just about 19 years ago. Scared the living /)($ out of me. Great way to make an uncomfortable conversation humorous and informative. Best baby blog ever on People! 🙂

And her family is absolutely beautiful! Happiness shows in every one of them!

Anonymous on

Great article! Would be so much easier on us women if people were honest and open about this more often. It is truly a different experience for everyone and isn’t always pretty.

EB on

I have never commented before on any article, but I had to say thank you for writing this. I have 6 month old twins and am having a hard time getting “back in the saddle.” Between breastfeeding and feeling like my body isn’t my own to just being plain old tired sex (with my wonderful, selfless husband) seems like another chore. Having been through this before, I know it gets better but reading that others have the same struggles is so refreshing.

Tena on

My second child is 12 months now and I still don’t want to have sex. I’m rarely into it. I do it just because I feel I have or my husband will implode. I seriously wouldn’t care if i never have sex again. I guess I should see a doctor about this. Anyone else feel like I do? I hope so so I’m not alone.

cltbrandy on

Thank you!

WHIG on

I really enjoyed this article! I’ve had two children and while I was one of those ladies who couldn’t wait to get back in the saddle after both kids were born, I did have all of these feelings and emotions, even after the first time post-baby. It takes so much time and effort to focus on your relationship with your partner, but it’s SO worth it. That is something that no one really told me and we found out for ourselves. It wasn’t always easy but it is always important.

Anonymous on

Bravo Eva! Love how absolutely truthful she was.

sfmom on

If there were a special kit given to every new mom – this article should be in it. Seriously. I’ve had four kids and this description was so true to my post-partum experiences (especially with my fourth).

annonymous on

Haven’t had kids yet, and really appreciate this honesty.

Anonymous on

Honest and truthful! THANK YOU FOR SHARING IT.

Tam on

I just had a baby 18 days ago and dreading having postpartum sex. I had a second degree tear and even though my recovery has been fine I still worry about how things are going to feel down there. I love Eva and her mom (Thelma and Louise!) so I’m definitely going to continue reading her blogs.

grandgiveaways on

What a great article! It was quite an eye-opener for me. I’ve had 4 c-sections (the last one just 3 months ago) and I didn’t have any idea what moms go through with vaginal births.

Eva’s a cool chick! Loved her in “Saved”.

sydney on

EVERY SINGLE WORD is spot on in this blog!! My son is 14 months old now. I breastfed him as well. I had flashbacks reading this! Haha

waitingforittonothurt on

yes, Yes, YES!!! OMG If only someone (anyone) had told me, no warned me that having sex the first (second, third, fourth) time would be so unbearably painful that I couldn’t even stand to have my husband inside of me for more than 10 seconds would have been nice. This article is on point. I now make it my mission in life to tell my pregnant friends what they are in for if they will be breastfeeding.

Jenn on

I love it. Honest, refreshing and informative! I’m still in the TTC phase but this one is definitely getting filed away for future reference.

Sasha on

As I was the first of my friends to have kids, I had no idea about this. I felt and my husband felt, that something was wrong. I was repulsed by the thought of sex. Repulsed! And yep, my body did not respond whatsoever. I wish I had all these great tips and reassurances eleven years back when I became a first time mom. Great encouragement!

Sherry on

At first glance I was like “what?!” but this was a great article. Good job Eva!

Daisy Doll on

Yeah, um, a lot of women tear when they are FORCED to lay on their backs while giving birth. Standing upright, walking around as long as possible, and then trying to give birth in an upright position (upper body position) – such as sitting on a birthing swing/birthing chair, round cushion with a hole in the center, or even kneeling with an upright upper body helps prevent tearing, because gravity helps bring the baby out – And the pressure of the baby’s head/body is distributed equally in a circular manner during the last part of the birthing process. Laying on the back, is convenient for the Drs, but not beneficial for the women.

Mandy on

Thank goodness I had a great doctor who asked how things were sexuality when I went for a check up. I said fine, & he said, “You’re breastfeeding, right? Any dryness?” He gave me cream that helped & I have an amazing husband who waited months for sex, as it was off limits for a while since I was on bed rest while pregnant.

brandi on

Did she drink all that wine she talked about while she was breastfeeding? Just saying!

justbecause on

I am so glad to see someone share their experience with postpartum sex. I am the mother of four children but I never experienced this until I gave birth to my last child. I breastfed all of my children for a year and there are only 14 months between my last two so I don’t know if only having a 2 month break in breastfeeding between children did it, or if the exhaustion of having a 3 year old, 14 month old, and newborn did it. I was really surprised by how uninterested I was and how much I just didn’t care if I never had sex again. And I was shocked by the pain! Great job explaining it and offering advice on how to deal with it. I too found that lube was my friend and after basically just doing it anyway it did get better, but didn’t get to be truly “great” again until after I weaned our son at a year. Hormonal changes can rock your world, and not in a good way. One person posted to ask your doctor about a cream to help. That cream is a hormone cream and comes with risks to the mother and the baby she is breastfeeding. If you breastfeed, make sure that using a hormone cream is a safe thing to do. Thank you for sharing this so we know we aren’t alone!

Katie on

This is a very nice blog, honest and truthful. I can relate to it well especially after giving birth to my son. Good job.

Guest for sure on

Although my comment here is a little late…..the best thing is to have a man that you are absolutely totally in love with…The idea of waiting more than 6-8 weeks was ridiculous in my opinion although we did wait until that first post-partum check-up. My DH was very loving and caring and so when babies 2 & 3 came along, it wasn’t a big deal to me….I was never worried, and these horror stories ? I think some of you were a little bit ridiculous really.

Guest1 on

It is normal to have stiches but not a lot- a 3rd or 4th degree tear is not normal and can often be stopped by having a scheduled C-section when you have a large baby. Many women birth 8.5-10 pound babies vaginally without thinking the damage it can cause to their private part and bladder- Jessa Duggar learned the hard way- she spend 3 days in the hospital after her home birth caused a 4th degree tear and she needed a blood transfusion- all of this would of been avoided had she gone the scheduled C-section route. That’s why I like doctors who aren’t afraid of scheduling C-sections for women who are expecting large babies. C-sections are risky too, but hey I’ll take a straight cut on my stomach over ripping to pieces on my private part. Common sense means using a LUBE- and no I don’t think first time sex has to be painful- if your with the right partner, use a lube, be gentle, have foreplay before the act it doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Some women think sex during pregnancy is the best sex they have- no worries about birth control. Obviously sex after baby is a complicated thing- it is not even about the healing- women can start lactating during the act and that in itself can make things feel awkward. Some women would love to have a baby and cannot not because they physically can’t but because there’s no Godly man or responsible guy around to settle down with. She complains how bad she ripped obviously maybe bad for her was a couple stiches because she’s now pregnant with baby number 2. Can’t see how any women would opt for a second child after a 4th degree tear unless they were going the csection route.

Deidra Monika on

I’ve used myotaut serum for about a week now and I can definitely tell the difference, considering I’ve had 3 vaginal births. I’m certain my man is enjoying himself even more so as well. He’s like damn girl you feel amazing!! I look forward to many more extremely pleasurable moments and the long lasting results to follow!! Myotaut serum a sex life changer for sure!