If you’re like many women, the main thing you know about sex and pregnancy is that sex is what gets you into it in the first place. Will you crave sex when you’re pregnant, or even like it? What will the hormones do to your body—besides the obvious?
It’s hard to give a hard and fast answer. Just as many non-pregnant women feel very differently about sex depending on a myriad of variables, so do pregnant women. There’s no one way sex is affected. As one of our friends put it, “Your very familiar body can feel like a science experiment with something new happening every day.” While your hormones are taking you on a joyride, they may or may not make you feel all sexed up. Libido and sexual sensation can feel very different from one trimester to the next.
Some women find the changes their bodies undergo can enhance and inhibit their sex lives. Those who seem to be the least stressed about this are the ones who recognize that almost all these changes are normal and approach them with curiosity. Pregnancy is an ancient life experience – but that doesn’t mean that in our sanitized culture, anyone is going to mention many of these details before you find them happening to you.
When women don’t feel sexy during pregnancy, sometimes it’s due to the shock of their changing body. Just as it might be easier outside of pregnancy to experience surging desire when you’re happy with yourself the way that you are, body image can get in the way of embracing feeling sexy when you’re with child—and if your partner doesn’t act as though you’re hot, that can matter too.
Nipple and breast sensitivity can go off the charts when you’re pregnant, and for some women, that means a significant route to pleasure and arousal now feels very different. A heightened sense of smell can be another unexpected effect, and you might find yourself really sensitive to the way your partner smells. All foreplay may need to take place in the shower, and maybe with unscented soap! Your partner won’t be able to intuit any of this, either. Hopefully you already communicate clearly about sex, but if not, now would be a wise time to start. You’ll need this skill after the baby comes as well.
As your pregnancy progresses face to face coupling will get more and more challenging. You might want to invest in some extra pillows, as they’re very handy for making a sex nest where you can explore which positions work best as your belly grows larger. And your pillow nest is good for another important thing too: sleep! Growing a new human is hard work, and if you’re not a night owl, figure out what time of day you do have the most energy for sex.
Whether you play with sex toys or not, hygiene is important when you’re pregnant. No streams of water into the vagina—so lay off those hot tub jets for now. Sexually transmitted conditions are often problematic for the health of the baby, so assess whether or not safer sex strategies need to be part of your life now.
Of course, talk to your doctor about any concerns, but be prepared that they may or may not know a lot about sexual issues. Doctors learn a ton about reproductive health, but in many programs, not so much about sexuality.
Some women who never imagined they would feel this way do find they have issues about whether it’s OK to be pregnant and interested in sex. It’s not always a religious or cultural thing, either; sometimes it may derive from the shock of a heightened libido. You’d gotten comfortable with the libido you had, not this ravenous sex-starved monster that has taken over! While other times it’s worry about whether having sex, or too much sex, or certain kinds of sex, will hurt the passenger––your baby.
In general, the answer to that concern is: Don’t worry. Mostly, vaginal insertion, from dildo play to intercourse, is fine. Although, there may be some exceptions to this blanket reassurance, depending on what type of sex you’re interested in enjoying or how your body is handling the pregnancy. There are problem pregnancies that require anything from extended bed rest to avoiding orgasm for fear its contractions will bring on early labor. If your physician tells you not to “have sex” while pregnant, ask why, and whether they are telling you to avoid vaginal insertion, orgasm, or what. If they don’t have a good reason for the prohibition, you just might want to ask a different doctor.
From The Daddy Issue