Do you have any advice for still having awesome sex while pregnant? I’m currently in my sixth month of my pregnancy so I’m not carrying super huge yet but I know that could change so I’d like to be prepared.
—Sexy at Six Months
Dear Sexy at Six Months,
Around the eighth month of my pregnancy, I came home from running (well, waddling) errands and announced to my boyfriend that I was going to seduce him. Like, actually announced “Get ready, because I’m fixing to seduce you in a few minutes” (had to pee first, of course). What I actually did was clumsily disrobe, climb on top of him, promptly bury my face in his neck, and start to cry.
I don’t know what everyone’s experience of pregnancy is, but for me, it was mostly a fun and fascinating time to be a sexual person, peppered with some roller coaster emotional states (read: random, uncharacteristic crying sessions), and especially towards the end, being massively “over it” in the body department.
On this particular day, I was existing in the middle of my healthy desire for sex and my ongoing frustration that I could no longer feel comfortable in any of my clothes nor while I was sitting, standing, laying down, sleeping, walking, or breathing. This, mixed with the anxiety I had had about going into labor for what seemed like “any day now” for weeks quickly shifted the wind in my sails from sex to crying.
Maybe this all sounds relatable to you, too, and is to say that my most general piece of sex-during-pregnancy advice is to go with the flow and be kind to your unpredictable, baby-growing self. Whether or not your particular pregnancy changes the size, shape, capabilities, or feel of your unique body, one thing you can certainly expect from pregnancy is lots of change.
When I think about change and sex, I like to explore the many ways one might be able to frequently get reacquainted with their changing sexual body: masturbation can help explore new bodily sensations or comforts without the pressure of an audience; pregnancy-friendly exercise like yoga, long walks, or modified versions of your usual routines can help you feel confident in your changing body’s abilities; using various props like positioning pillows, sex toys (especially those that extend reach around your belly), or a super-hydrating lube can help navigate new physical variables. Rather than attempt to fit your growing bod into your old sex life, cater your new sex life to your changing bod with new positions, sex acts, and expectations.
Communicate with your partner often, ask for reassurance when needed, and remind yourself that you can be and (probably already are) both a sexual, desirable, hot human and also a caring, nurturing, healthy gestational vessel. The Madonna/whore complex casts a wide influential net that can convince many (women especially) that they “can’t” or “shouldn’t” be both mothers and sexual partners. But you (yes, even you, the totally downright freaky deaky filthy-minded sexual kinksters amongst us) definitely can.
No, your baby can’t decipher your sex noises from your casual coffee counter chit-chat, get bonked in the head by your penetrative object-of-choice, or be developmentally impacted by any of the (belly-safe) pleasures you’re enjoying whilst they’re living in your womb. I read in some pregnancy book that the French say that “when a pregnant woman has an orgasm, the baby feels like they’re in a jacuzzi” and I’m like okay, cool I want my baby to come out nice and relaxed so let’s do our part!
Mostly, enjoy the… er… ride and have fun exploring all the positive ways your new hormone levels, opening hips, increased bond with your partner, and excitement for what’s ahead impacts your sexual desire and experience. Because pretty soon, you might find yourselves squeezing in near-silent nap-time quickies despite the days that’ve lapsed between showers (but that’s another sex column-to-be).
For more in-depth advice, check out Madison Young’s book The Ultimate Guide to Sex Through Pregnancy and Motherhood: Passionate Practical Advice for Moms. Or, you can always try my signature pregnant seduction technique and just have a nice cry.
Yana Tallon-Hicks is a relationship therapist, sex educator, and writer living in the Pioneer Valley. You can find her work and her professional contact information on her website, yanatallonhicks.com.