Sex During Pregnancy: What to Expect

Is it safe to have kinky sex during pregnancy? And what if you don’t want to have penetrative sex at all – are there other ways to stay sexually active? Sex and relationships therapist Juliet Grayson answers all this, and more…

Juliet Grayson is a sex and relationships therapist, and author of Landscapes of the Heart: The working world of the sex and relationship therapist, published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, July 2016

Sex during pregnancy

“There’s a lot of leeway when it comes to having sex during pregnancy. Babies are pretty solidly there and are unlikely to get injured by any conventional sex during pregnancy.

If you’re into kinky stuff, it depends how kinky it goes. Some is fine during pregnancy but will be more of a risk after the baby’s born – for the first six-eight weeks – due to risk of infection. So normal sex is ok, but anything that might increase your risk of infection should be avoided.

Nipple clamps during pregnancy aren’t a good idea, nor post-birth if the mother is breastfeeding. So some adjustments might have to be made.

When it comes to the emotional side of sex during pregnancy – it seems there’s a biological thing that happens, which makes the woman feel it’s now less necessary to have sex. Plus, a lot of the pregnant woman’s energy is going into growing a new person.

But we mustn’t forget that for a guy; nothing’s changed, physically. So it can be quite a shock for him to find that suddenly he’s not the main focus of attention – the new bump is. And there’s a new person in the relationship. A lot of dads find that deeply shocking and feel grief at the loss of being the primary source of love.

While the dad-to-be won’t be experiencing the same biological and hormonal changes as the mum, some men do have fantasies about the baby being impacted by the sex. My suspicion is that the child would be impacted in a positive way, as there’s more oxytocin during sex; so a flood of nice hormones.

It’s important that couples talk about changes in desire, because it will likely change again after the baby’s born. The mother may feel differently about her body, she might be tired, there could be stretch marks and there will almost certainly be hormonal changes.

Learning to talk about one’s level of desire (or not) during pregnancy will lead to more natural conversations following the birth, about how each partner feels regarding sex.

If the woman doesn’t want to have penetrative sex, but would like to be sexually active, she could hold him while he masturbates himself. This way, she’s involved but not active; she’s passively accepting and condoning his sexual energy to be there.”

Follow Juliet Grayson on Twitter: @CounsellorsCPD

Juliet has a network of therapists you can talk to if you need help through this stage.

Tomorrow, Juliet will share a comprehensive guide to sex after the birth (including tips like: use water-based rather than oil-based lubricants as the latter MELTS CONDOMS… who knew?!).