Dear Readers: Over the past few weeks I’ve received a number of emails that hit on the same general topic, but, interestingly, from completely different perspectives.
EMails include: “My wife is pregnant, and I’m finding that I’m way more attracted to her sexually right now.”
And “ever since I saw my daughter-to-be on the screen at the doctor’s, I’ve had less desire for sex with my partner.”
And “will it hurt the embryo if we have sex? Is it normal to worry about this?”
A: Yes, it’s all normal. In fact, when it comes to sex during pregnancy, just about everything is normal – even things that might seem completely contradictory.
Let’s start with the safety issue. Unless the pregnant woman has a history of premature labor or has been told by her doctor to avoid sex during pregnancy, it should be perfectly safe.
The baby is cushioned in a fluid-filled sac and barring cramps or bleeding during sex, making love while pregnant is no more dangerous than at any other time.
OK, that takes care of the actual sex part. But when it comes to sexual desire, the range of “normal” is pretty big. Many men find the pregnant female body (with its fuller curves and larger breasts) erotic.
That, combined with a natural feeling of power and masculinity that often accompanies getting a woman pregnant, can increase men’s arousal.
At the same time, many women find getting pregnant to be a confirmation of their femininity and attractiveness. There can also be a mutual feeling of closeness that sometimes plays out sexually.
On the other hand, if the pregnant woman doesn’t find herself particularly attractive – or worries that her partner doesn’t – she may not be terribly interested in sex.
Ditto if she’s in the first trimester and feeling nauseous or in the last trimester and feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
It works the other way ’round too: If the guy doesn’t find his pregnant partner terribly attractive, or if he thinks she doesn’t find herself attractive, he won’t express any interest.
Another possible libido killer is the realization – shared by men and women – that they’re about to become parents. And everyone knows that parents aren’t supposed to be sexual. Hey, no one said this stuff was rational.
Talking about these issues is absolutely essential.
Expectant fathers routinely underestimate how attractive their partners feel, and expectant mothers routinely underestimate how attractive their partners find them.
In future columns we’ll talk about how to handle situations where the expectant parents-to-be aren’t in sync.