When Dad Doesn't Want To Have Sex Because Of The Bulge
What's going on?
"My husband is very unresponsive," says expecting mom Debra Gibson. "Since the pregnancy, he claims he is totally freaked about a live human being inside of me and is petrified of hurting the baby. I find myself easily aroused and I want to be intimate with my husband a lot more often than our normal. Being newly married, this has put a strain on our relationship because I have a need to feel desirable, and he has backed off."
Gibson says she has always been a very sexual woman, but finds that her interest has peaked during pregnancy. Women experience increased estrogen and testosterone levels during pregnancy, and that can lead to increased sexual desire. Lana Holstein, MD, director of women's health at Arizona's Canyon Ranch Spa, and author of How to Have Magnificent Sex: the 7 Dimensions of a Vital Sexual Connection, says pregnant women also have increased lubrication and increased bloodflow to the genital region, which can create a greater awareness of their sexual desire.
"The second trimester is where you see pregnancy women having the most interest in sex," says Holstein. She reasons that women are less interested in the first trimester because of nausea, while fatigue and size can hinder sex during the third trimester.
Kenneth Johnson, MD, director of the Women's Health Center at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, says increased sexual desire in pregnant women may be related to the loss of fear of becoming pregnant.
"Also, many women report superior orgasms -- more intense and vaginal, rather than clitoral," says Johnson. "Hormones may play a role also. Progesterone is a smooth muscle relaxant, and this may explain the enhanced orgasm. Testosterone levels may also be higher -- need I say more?"
Why do some men retreat?
Men decline sex with their pregnant partners for a variety of reasons. Like Gibson's husband, many are afraid of hurting the baby. They may also be concerned about causing premature labor, and this fear can be exacerbated when a pregnant woman has an orgasm, because her uterus contracts.
"It is true that we advise individuals who are threatening to go into premature labor to not have sex," says Holstein. "But in general, it's not an issue."
Some men may find themselves less attracted to their wives as their pregnant bodies go through incredible changes and lots of expansion. A father-to-be may also have trouble identifying with his wife's new role of motherhood.
"A man may think, 'This person is about to become the mother of our children,'" says Holstein. "A mother is a very different thing than a wife and a lover. He may find that anticipating her as a mother puts her in a different category. It has a lot to do with the way he was raised, and culturally, how he views sexuality."
Time to speak up
Holstein says it's time to sit down and talk if a woman feels like her non-verbal clues aren't working. "She needs to say, 'What's going on here? I need to know that you're with me, connected to me and committed to me.' If she's feeling abandoned, then that's something that has to be discussed, so he can begin to be aware of how she feels."
Gibson talked with her husband about her desire, and she successfully persuaded him to resume their lovemaking. But they have also found other ways to be intimate: massaging, kissing and hugging each other.
"I just allow my husband his space to handle this the way he feels most comfortable. I respect his decision and have learned to find other ways to be intimate with him, and also found other ways to satisfy myself with his help and encouragement," says Gibson. "He is a very loving, gentle and caring man, and I am thankful that he at least cares enough about this baby to want the very best."
How to stay connected
"The way to stay connected is to really focus on not detaching from each other as individuals," says Holstein. She offers the following tips to help pregnant women re-connect with their mates:
Soul Gazing -- This is a Tantra technique that involves the couple sitting across from each other, holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes. This allows the couple to connect heart and soul first, before they reach out to touch bodies.
Weekend Touch Fest -- The rules here involve touching each other every hour for a whole weekend. It doesn't have to lead to anything, but it does help a couple stay connected.
Conscious Kissing -- When you kiss, take time to look into the other person's eyes and to feel the softness of the lips. Think about why you are with this person. It's quite simple and may take only an extra 30 seconds, but it involves being aware and being deliberate about your relationship.
Enjoying the moment
If you're one of those pregnant women experiencing a surge of new desire, enjoy it -- it may not last for long. And if you're trying to encourage your man to turn up the heat in the bedroom, toss out those big ugly pregnancy briefs and utilitarian nursing bras. Just because you're pregnant doesn't mean you have to stop wearing sexy clothes.
"We offer beautiful lingerie for the pregnant woman, including thong panties and lacy underwear," says Sandy Urna, a merchandiser/designer for a maternity clothing company. "These items help you feel sexy and feminine."
One of the company's top sellers, along with the thong panties, is seamless underwear in silky, supple fabric. But Urna says maternity clothing in general is sexier these days. "Stretch fabric has changed fashions for the pregnant woman," says Urna. "She's not hiding her shape anymore. She's showing off her belly more than she has in the past."
So the next time your husband says, "Wait until after you have the baby," just smile and try some of the techniques listed above. And don't forget to model your new thong panties for him.