Matrescence & Pregnancy Sex

Yes, Pregnancy sex will be a different experience

Photo by John Looy on Unsplash

At different times in your pregnancy, you may experience a range of feelings about sex: very horny, wanting space, gross, cuddly but anxious about penetration, like you want to have sex but only in pitch-black darkness so you don’t have to look at your body, or a confusing combination of all of the above. Every woman has a slightly different sexual response to her hormonal fluctuations and the physical changes of pregnancy.

Your body and chemistry are changing by the day, and no matter how empathic your partner might be, his (or her) body and chemistry aren’t. If your partner is wanting sex but you’re feeling off, try to explain what’s going on with your libido so he knows it’s about your body and not a rejection of him. Yes, these types of conversations are scary. But ignoring your changing sex life can create distance and tension in your relationship, especially if having sex is the way that you normally stay connected.

You might be psychologically blocked from wanting sex if you can’t get thoughts of the baby out of your head. Your body used to be all yours. Now there are literally three of you in bed together. If you’ve been getting used to being naked and spreading your legs for checkups, you may have started to feel like your genitals are more for function than recreation. Maybe you’re upset about the weight you’ve gained; maybe you’ve stopped grooming your pubic hair or started wearing underwear that is more practical than pretty.

It’s normal to feel confused about your new physical experience as both a mother and a lover. Think about what parts of your pre-pregnancy sexual identity you can stay connected to, or how you might find a new sexuality that has space for your changing body and behaviors.

Your partner may be aroused by your extra curves or the fertility-goddess arc of your belly. Go with it! Pregnancy sex is a different experience, and you should try it. It can bring you and your partner closer as you explore your new body and help him to appreciate what’s going on with you. You can ask your provider any physical questions, including what positions would be most comfortable.

However, some partners find pregnancy itself to be a turnoff. If your partner has put you on the “mother” pedestal, he may see you as pure or saintly, maybe even associating to his own mother, and may no longer want to devour you. If this is happening, try to be patient with him and give him time to consider that just because you’re about to take on the role of matriarch of the family doesn’t mean you’re no longer a sexual being. Give him time to absorb that those two roles don’t have to conflict.

If your partner tells you she’s not attracted to your changing shape, this will be painful to hear. If your feelings are hurt, we encourage you to say so. Especially if you decided to get pregnant together, she doesn’t have the right to be unkind, because you’re the one making adjustments while carrying the baby for both of you.

Your partner may be scared, consciously or unconsciously, that the baby is aware when you’re making love. Do your best to reassure her (and yourself) that your baby will not know that you’re having sex — she’s surrounded by a fluid-filled amniotic sac, protected by your uterine muscles. The baby cannot be touched by vaginal penetration because she is protected behind your closed cervix (which is the deepest part of your body accessible during vaginal penetration). All this means that it’s not physically possible for a penis or fingers to enter your body and bump into the baby. The rocking movements of sex may not feel any different to your baby than prenatal yoga or other physical activities.

Touching is an important aspect of bonding but doesn’t have to be explicitly sexual. Cuddling while watching a movie or giving each other massages may help you feel connected in the way sex used to, or it may rekindle the sexual connection that is faltering. And if problems in your sex life are leading to fighting, you might want to consider meeting with a couples therapist to address these issues before they lead to growing distance or resentment.

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