Every mom knows that your boobs change sizes a million times throughout the course of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and postpartum weight loss/gain/loss/gain. Then there’s that one final size change after your last child has finished breastfeeding when they deflate once and for all like an expired helium balloon. But it’s OK, right? The only people who see your deflated balloons are you and the man whose beloved children caused the damage, so it’s totally cool!
Then one day you find yourself divorced, getting cozy with a guy four or five years your junior, and he’s creeping up on second base and you realize WHOA. Dude’s about to unfurl your flappers from the warm safety of their bra cocoon and WAIT JUST A SECOND, YOUNG MAN.
Yeah. I’m in the sunset of my 30s, divorced after 10 years of marriage, three kids, and attempting to “Netflix and chill” when all I really want to do is Netflix and chill.
After forcing my third and final child from my womb two years ago, I turned out the lights, hung a CLOSED sign on my uterus, and locked the door. I worked really hard on eating right and exercising that first year after his birth and miraculously lost all the baby weight. But, as we all know, even if you manage to see your pre-baby weight digits smiling up at you from the scale once again, things just ain’t the same after having babies. Things shift. Things sag. Things rearrange. Things become displaced. Those things are the same things you now have to brazenly reveal to a new someone in a moment of passion — or stark terror — when you attempt to date after divorce.
Seeing someone seriously (or semi-seriously depending on your standards) generally involves sex. Sex generally involves getting naked. Getting naked involves showcasing certain body parts including but not limited to: saggy mom boobs, stretch marks, and that sad, wrinkly patch of skin on my stomach caused by aforementioned stretch marks that look like an angry tiger pawed down my stomach on either side of my belly button. There is also the actual body part required for intercourse that my children used to transport themselves from my uterus to actual existence outside my body. To put it in technical terms: After giving birth vaginally, it’s normal for the vagina to be larger than it was before. This is caused by relaxation of the pelvic floor musculature. These muscles will lose their tone with each successive birth.
So. Where does my “musculature” stand after vaginally birthing three children? I don’t know, man. I just don’t know. But peeing while coughing isn’t a good sign, is it? Let’s just say the phrase “throwing a hot dog down a hallway” is something that concerns me, and I’m not talking about what my toddler does when he doesn’t want to eat his dinner.
So yes, I’m terrified of showing my saggy mom boobs and otherwise baby-ravaged bod to someone other than the man whose children caused the damage and who can therefore intimately appreciate the toll childbirth took on my body.
If I sound insecure, it’s because I am. It’s natural. But guess what? I’m also having the best sex of my life. Sure, there are intimate moments during which I instinctively move my hand to cover a certain area that bothers me, but I’m having an incredible time! Do I wish my chest were perkier? Yes. But in the heat of passion, does that really matter? Not so much. Ask any man out there but I promise you, he certainly isn’t worried about it. And if he is? Screw him. Or STOP screwing him, rather, because he’s not a good one.
While there is the fear of sharing my body, faults and all, with someone other than the person I was married to for a decade, I’m proud of my body and more happy with who I am than ever before. Even though my body was in better shape then, I wasn’t in a place in my 20s to feel as free and comfortable in my skin as I do now.
Jane Greer, Ph.D. and a New York-based marriage and sex therapist, tells Women’s Health, “Women have their ‘sexual peak’ when they’re feeling the most free, energized, and tuned into their sexuality.” The past two years have been eye-opening for me when it comes to sex. At some point in my marriage, I stopped exploring my sexuality. Our sexual dynamic died. Experiencing different people and the ways in which my energy connects with theirs in the wake of divorce has blown my mind wide open about sex and the possibilities surrounding it.
I now choose the right partners, I don’t have sex to impress or attract men, and I don’t confuse sex with any other emotions — meaning I don’t attempt to make it mean something it isn’t. That’s not to say it isn’t special, it’s just that it can be special without it being indicative of anything other than two people connecting and having a good time. I am paying attention to and learning about my sexuality, but most of all, I’m simply enjoying sex for sex, something I don’t think I’ve ever done until now.
It’s only going to get better, I hope. Dr. Trina Read tells YourTango that while women in their 30s have been around the sexual block a few times and have a better idea of what works for them (yes!), women in their 40s stop producing as much oxytocin — our nurturing hormone — so it’s believed that we aren’t as biologically concerned with nurturing everyone else and can focus on our own needs.
If that means focusing on my sexual needs AND being able to focus on being able to pee in private (AKA without a toddler watching) then HELLO 40s! Can’t wait to meet ya!