Tag Archives: pregnancy and sex

Q&A with J: Pregnancy Bed Rest Makes Sex Forbidden

Today’s question is from a wife who was put on bed rest during a complicated pregnancy. She wants to know what to do about their sexual intimacy when everything is off the table.

“Not only is intercourse forbidden, but any arousal on my part causes pain and strong contracting. It has been six weeks, so even stimulating my husband causes me to become aroused…

“My poor husband has it pretty bad too… I feel so horrible for him, but can’t figure out how to help. How can we stay intimate and sexual when there is no sex to be had?”

Pregnancy Bed Rest Makes Sex Forbidden

Been there, done that. Spent 11 weeks on bed rest with one child. So definitely take care of that little one! You’ll be glad you did.

Usually when intercourse is off-limits, you can indeed engage in other sexual acts. But in your case, that’s off the table too. You don’t want to bring on those contractions. Honestly, I think the best you two can do is:

Abstain. Sometimes in your marriage, that’s just where you are. And while I’m clearly gung-ho for frequent and satisfying sex in marriage, I’m also a pragmatist who’s lived long enough to know that things happen.

Of course, we’d far rather be sexually intimate, but for a season you two can likely hold out. Certainly military couples and those going through extreme illness or injuries manage, so while it totally stinks (and I’d like buy you a cup of coffee and let you tell me the woes of it all!), you may simply have to bite your lip and hold off. Thankfully, in the large scheme of things, a few weeks without sex can be a blip on the screen of your marriage.

Show Affection. Focus on affection, not sexuality. Part of our God-given biology in sex is the release of a bonding chemical called Oxytocin. It’s very present during sex, but it’s also released during embraces that last for several seconds and other prolonged touch. So hold each other. Snuggle up on the couch, hold hands, etc. That can help keep the connection.

Communicate. Encourage each other as you go through this dry spell. Be willing to hear the others’ frustrations or longings. Continue speaking positively about your love. And remind each other why you’re willing to make this personal sacrifice — for this child you’re carrying.

Let him take care of it. I know this one will be controversial, since some Christians object to solo masturbation in any situation. I consider the standard to be what takes away or adds to marital intimacy. Usually, one spouse engaging in solo masturbation takes away from the marriage bed — because pleasuring yourself in that way can be selfish, can deny your spouse something they deserve, can take your mind places it shouldn’t go, etc.

However, sometimes masturbation could add to the marriage by helping the frustrated spouse get through an unavoidable period of abstinence. Mind you, your husband shouldn’t be doing this terribly often, because it is easier to climax on your own and frequent masturbators can unwittingly retrain their brains and bodies to respond to their own touch rather than their spouses. But when the tension builds up so high, might it be okay for him to fantasize about you but take care of things himself? You two will have to decide that. But I think it’s an option.

Count down. Remind yourselves often that this is temporary. We can usually handle painful circumstances and personal challenges far easier when we know they won’t last forever, that we’ll soon look back on this time with a different, bigger-picture perspective.

Maybe you can get a calendar and mark off days until your due date — seeing that each day you’ve had to wait is one less day you have to wait. You’ve done that one and you’re getting closer and closer to sex with each other and baby for the both of you. Treat it like a goal to make it to the end and then congratulate yourselves for each successful day of pelvic rest that brings you closer to your ultimate goal of building this beautiful family.

And for what to do about sex after the baby comes, check out A Month Without Sex?! Advice for New Moms.

Sexual Positions for Pregnancy, or “My Belly’s In the Way!”

Missionary Position. Later-term pregnancy. These two do not go together well.

I’m not the only one who’s noticed. In fact, I got a recent request to chat a bit about sexual positions during pregnancy. And since I covered changing up positions on Monday, I thought I’d keep going with the theme.

Pregnant wife with husband in bed + blog post title

The biggest problem in later pregnancy is that your belly has both size and weight hindering you connecting in all the ways you and hubby used to. So if you can move the belly out of the way and still get the good parts attached, you’ve met your goal. Be willing to step outside-the-box a little and try some different positioning.

Spooning, rear entry. You know how you spoon and cuddle at night? (Or at least you used to–before your body felt like a furnace and you started shooing hubby away with the “I’m too hot! I’m too hot!” yell.) Try intercourse while spooning! It’s a very intimate embrace and allows penetration of the vagina from behind. He will likely be the one controlling the pace and depth, but you can certainly speak up or gesture how it’s going for you. Don’t worry that he can’t see your face, because all of you is beautiful to him — especially now that you’re carrying his baby.

Standing, rear entry. Another option is to stand up, spread out, and let hubby penetrate from behind. This will be a lot easier, however, if you have a way to lessen the weight on your body. For instance, lean against a wall, or grab a hold of the back of the couch or your bed rail, or use a chair and hold onto its back. This position can be wonderful in allowing your husband easy access to your breasts (blossoming as they are!) as you make love.

Woman on top. Just climb on top of your husband, and then you can choose the angle, pace, and depth of penetration that feels good to your changing body. You can opt to face forward and be face-to-face, or you can turn it around (aka “reverse cowgirl”) and straddle your husband’s body facing his feet. Figure out which position is more comfortable for you, and take your time to get it right.

Sitting, on his lap. Grab a chair, your couch, or the edge of your bed, and have your husband sit. Then sit on his lap facing forward, away from him. In this position, once again, you are the main one determining angle, speed, etc. But this gets the belly facing away, as well as allowing your feet to bear some of the weight. This position tends to allow for deep penetration, especially if the height of your sitting stance is conducive.

Down low, rear entry. Kneel down on all fours (yes, I know, some call that “doggy-style”), and let him penetrate your vagina from behind. But here’s a trick: Rest part of your body on something to take off some of the weight. For instance, you can lean forward and rest your forearms and head on the bed; you can make love on the couch and hold onto the furniture’s arm; you can rest your body’s torso on strategically placed pillows. Once again, in this position, your husband will likely control the pace.

A few things to add:

  • A lot of these are rear entry, and some wives feel uncomfortable presenting their posterior to their husbands. Look, I get it. Not all of us are in love with our rear ends, and it can feel impersonal to make love without seeing your mate’s face. But husbands tend to be quite excited by our feminine form. Indeed, our curvy shape is sometimes best seen from this angle, and he knows he is making love to you — his wife, mother of his child — even if your face is not visible at the moment. (Indeed, he’d better be able to recognize you from every each and every angle. Just sayin’.)
  • Pillows are your friend. Be willing to use them to prop yourself up into more comfortable positions for sexual intimacy. You may find that even the missionary position is do-able if you can hoist your hips to the right level to tilt your belly out of the way. But invest in a few good pillows and make use of them as needed.
  • Consider other sexual activities. You may have difficulty reaching orgasm in some of these positions, so you might want to add digital manipulation or oral sex to your repertoire. It’s pretty easy to achieve the sexual position of lying down, knees cocked, and letting hubby turn you on until your inner furnace goes kaboom! Then you can switch to intercourse and enjoy the sensations as your beloved reaches his climax.
  • It is safe for most pregnant wives to engage in intercourse in later pregnancy. In fact, some obstetricians encourage it as a way to bring on labor when a pregnant mom is overdue. So unless you have been given some restrictions on your activities, feel free to continue making love. After all, when the baby arrives, your body will need a respite from sex so you might as well get some lovemaking in right now.
  • If you do have pregnancy restrictions, don’t ignore them. This is a personal thing for me, since I had one pregnancy in which I was told midway through to stop all intercourse, get on bed rest, and do everything possible to prevent early arrival of my baby. Thank goodness I complied. But oddly enough, the nurses in the hospital said many wives didn’t comply . . . and many husbands were uncooperative. So I’m just going to say it: Sex is really important in marriage, but it does not trump a human life you’re trying to bring into the world. Believe me, hubby and I have made up for those weeks we lost! And looking at our healthy child, we’re glad we waited.

Got any more great sexual positions for pregnancy? What have you tried that worked well?