Seeing this title may confuse some as I have openly discussed my struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which I experienced shortly after giving birth to my boy.
This came about after an incredibly difficult time during my labour but I didn’t even realised it had such a negative impact on me until weeks after. It is something that affected my sex life massively for the worse and, although this isn’t a huge issue for some woman, for myself, it felt like a tragedy.
I’m not shy about discussing sex and from my early teenage years up until I had my baby, it was a big part of me and was responsible for a percentage of my personality.
What I mean by that is- I loved sex.
I loved having it, discussing it, experimenting during it and centring the punch line of many-a-jokes around it.
Now, the thing with a vast majority of people is that saying what I have just said is something that will often be frowned upon and, should you be heard talking confidently about anything marginally sexual you may instantly be viewed with negative connotations.
I mean, sure, we all like to believe that in this day and age we encourage and root for freedom of speech and expression but we will never truly be comfortable with it should it include view points or topics we’re against or don’t like to talk about ourselves. That’s just us, as a species. We’re hugely hypocritical and incredibly sensitive and I doubt that’s something that will ever change.
I’ve found this to be largely the case when it comes to sex.
Just the word alone: SEX, intercourse, coitus, shagging, fucking.
There are people who won’t be able to stand the fact that someone said it out loud when, let’s be honest, it’s one of the most natural acts of human nature and many of those exact people will partake in said act with a lot of enjoyment too. Those who like to keep what happens in the bedroom locked safely within those for walls are well within their rights. I understand that it is an aspect of life that many consider to be private but for many others that’s not always the case and there’s nothing wrong with either.
But what does this have to do with the topic at hand?
Well, I feel like in order to explain why my relationship with sex has improved despite it being insinuated by myself that I’ve had a great sex life prior which catastrophically fell into the poor or non existent due to the PTSD, I must first give a little insight into the relationship I had with it during baby-free life.
Now, I have racked my brains trying to decide when starting this blog how I was going to approach discussing anything pertaining to this part of my life, this part of my SELF and then I realised that was me exhibiting the very type of behaviour that I just a moment ago said was ingrained into us all. That was me being a hypocrite because I have swore from day dot that this blog and anything about our journey I put out there for people to read will remain unfiltered and completely honest. To not discuss this with transparency would therefore be being dishonest.
With that officially on record, I can now put it out there that I have had a lot of sex. The thing is, for me, I had sex more frequently and of a better quality when I wasn’t in a relationship which is something that many may cast judgement upon but it’s just the truth.
I never enjoyed sex with the same person over a prolonged period of time. I felt like it always got boring, a little too vanilla and I would just watch a lot of porn instead which wasn’t always healthy. This is something that is hugely associated with men but I think more Woman need to step forward and say ‘hey, we like it too’.
Anyways, sex with different people and lots of it was what I preferred and I would often be known to go a little crazy between the long relationships I was in throughout my life (which also may have been a factor towards that). There are words and names that are dropped on people who sleep with more than one person and I think it’s a little unfair to tarnish them all with the same brush. So long as it is responsible, safe sex I really don’t see a problem with it.
Do what makes you happy, right?
The trouble with what I was doing was the reasons behind it which I later found out were linked to my mental health. When I eventually sought professional help after meeting my current Partner, I was informed during discussion about my sex life in the time between the breakdown of the relationship with my ex and meeting Carl that it was common with manically depressed individuals to look to sex as a healing mechanism; be it a huge amount of sex with one person, a large amount of masturbation or, also very commonly, sex with many different people.
It was a way to numb myself by doing something I enjoyed which therefore caused me to become under the impression that it was making me happy, when really I was anything but.
To be frank, hearing that it was normal was relieving as I often feared I may be battling a sex addiction!
It was good to be offered some perspective on my behaviour and to be given some advice also as I knew that I wanted to spend my life with Carl and didn’t want anything standing in our way (especially seeing as he was nine years older than me).
The sex with Carl was always phenomenal, the only issue was that I wanted it a lot more frequently which, initially, wasn’t so much of an issue. It wasn’t until a little time passed and Carl began working more and more that the differences in our libido began to emerge. I expected it every day, if not more and he was, to put it simply, absolutely exhausted therefore it wasn’t always the first thing on his mind.
This didn’t really cause a strain so to speak as far as our relationship was concerned it just made me a little moody I guess you could say and it probably made him feel slightly inadequate due to my occasional remarks. He actually once tried to compare me to a teenage boy (jokingly, of course although I know it stemmed from honesty) which shows how different a place our minds were in at that point in time.
We were fortunate enough to have incredibly strong foundations when it came to how we felt towards one another and our relationship as a whole so it didn’t ever cause cracks to form. On top of that, the sex we did have was always incredible and he did his best to satisfy my needs in other ways when he was too burnt out.
The irony of all this is, when I gave birth we completely swapped places.
Carl will argue to this day that the reason being was because it wasn’t there on a plate for him- the heart wants what it can’t have and all that. But in the first two weeks my sex drive was exceptionally high too, it wasn’t until after that when I began to feel queasy at the thought of it all.
We laugh about this time so much because I finally understood how Carl must have felt when he was tired from work, groggy, hadn’t had time to shower or whatever else may have impacted him that day and then he had to fight off his sex pest girlfriend to top it off! But of course I was dealing with everything that comes with the aftermath of giving birth as well as all of that.
I was trying to become acquainted or at the very least, a little familiar with my knew post-baby figure and yes, my vagina. If anyone says it simply just goes back to normal then they are either lying or gave birth to the world’s smallest baby because, from my experience, it certainly does not.
Then there was the episiotomy scar which I talked about in my previous post about my labour PTSD which still to this day, writing this now nine months on, makes my toes curl to speak about. I was just aware of it constantly and it made me want to faint, causing massive issues regarding my libido and our sex life.
Carl was incredibly understanding when I finally stopped trying to pretend I wanted it and told him what was going on but that didn’t prevent him from getting excited all the time which made me feel like I was failing him as a partner no matter how much I told myself I wasn’t.
About two months ago, my libido began to make an appearance again and I felt like I was slowly starting to feel more confident. I was going to say that I was starting to feel more like myself but the truth is, I wasn’t. I felt like a completely different person and lover and that was strange to me, new. I didn’t quite know how to deal with it at first or what it meant for our sex life.
Well, here I am now knowing that it was one of the best things to happen to me and I certainly wasn’t expecting that.
My whole relationship with sex has changed.
I think a lot of it has to do with what my body has endured the past year and the mental impact of that. Sex is special to me now, it’s not an expectation anymore, more so an occasion and something to look forward to.
Also, the constant tiredness of us both has seen to it that we have it a lot less frequently, of course, so when we do it is worthwhile and pretty damn good. Carl’s increased libido and my now normal one has made for a dynamic that I didn’t realise I ever sought after. To have the other party in my relationship want it more than me and make an effort or initiate things more often is incredibly refreshing for me.. and sexy.
Then, there’s the more obvious reason in that now Carl is the Father of my child everything is different. More serious, more passionate and more intense because, not only do I love him more, I love him differently too. He has taken away so much of the weight I have had to carry mentally by helping me finally unburden whilst being there as I battle through the pain that doing so endures and I feel like I am now able to separate my depression and sex as two different entities.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on a journey with my sexuality and everything to do with my sex life but if there’s one thing that’s stayed the same it’s that I still love it all: the slow, the quick, the adventurous, the lazy.
I just love it differently and I’m more than okay with that.