Fatherly Stuff: Intimacy without "Intimacy": Sex During Pregancy (Or the Lack Thereof)

Feb 21, 2012

Intimacy without "Intimacy": Sex During Pregancy (Or the Lack Thereof)

I’m going to take a minute and stop being a husband and a father for a second. I’m just going to speak from my mind as a man. Okay? Great.
Here we go.
 One of the things that can just plain suck about pregnancy from a man’s prospective is the sex, or the lack thereof. During those 9 tumultuous months, a woman goes through a series of physical, mental and endocrine changes that causes huge amounts of fatigue, rage, sadness, happiness and indifference. Sometimes, they will experience all of these emotions at once. Something along the lines of:

Oookay, I can take a hint:Tonight is a "hands off" night

They will no longer be as “ready and willing” as often when you two were young and baby-less. She will walk by that accursed full length mirror one day and stare for a while. Think about how none if the clothes and shoes in her closet no longer fit. She will then feel fat and unattractive. And gassy. Let’s not forget gassy .
From both ends.
The last thing she will want to think about is having something else besides a fetus inside of her. There are times that you two will have sex and sometimes those same hormones will work in your favor to make her a horny sex craving lunatic (yay!), but it will likely be few and far in between (booo!). On top of that, there will now be physical limitations that restrict you to about 1 or 2 of your basic positions. So you might want to put away the sex swing and the feather duster (for now). It can be challenging, to say the least.
One of the main facts that can just plain suck about the whole situation from a guy's perspective is while she is constantly changing, you really aren’t (in the sexual sense anyway). It’s tough, mainly because as men, we correlate intimacy and closeness we have with a woman with sex. And as the loving, partner you are, you will put your urges to the side and do your damned best to be as supporting, caring and understanding as possible. However, on the inside, you’re silently weeping over your deceased sex life.

I'll miss you, old friend...

As much as you try to suppress it, the anxiety you’re feeling due to this will come out in some shape or form. But before you close the computer screen to go crawl into a corner in a fetal position to morn, you may want to know that there is some good news. All is not lost. If you work at it, you will realize that your sex life doesn’t disappear, it evolves. It’s up to you and your woman as a couple to decide how far that evolution goes.
While I didn’t go through the same physical changes as my wife during the pregnancy, I did reach a higher level of maturity and as a result, gained a better prospective on our sex life. I took the opportunity to find ways to develop a deeper bond with her. After a while, “sex” didn’t seem so important. “Sex” is just intercourse, but she and I had something that went beyond that: intimacy, which is more valuable and longer lasting.
Listed below are steps that allowed me and my wife to reach that level that I think can be applied to any relationship-

1.       Massaging,..And lots of it- One of my wife’s biggest concerns physically was the potential appearance of stretch marks. As the baby grows, so does the stomach which is the main cause of these marks. Another concern was the growth of her feet, as they began to swell the further into her term she went (we estimate that at their largest, her feet grew about 2 sizes). Virtually every day before or after work, I would grab that bottle of cocoa butter lotion and rub her belly (cocoa butter was our preference, but any lotion or cream enriched with vitamins A and D will do). Then I would caress her back. Then her feet. As I rubbed, I made sure I complimented her body. Not only did she love every minute of it, I enjoyed making her happy and this ritual brought us closer together. As a result, she was so relaxed and conformable, that some days, she was willing to do other things (just don’t be too disappointed if “other things” mean falling asleep, complete with snoring and drool on the pillow).

It's okay, honey. I was too tired to do anything either *sigh*

2.       Cuddling- This may sound weak, fellas, but a little cuddling can go a long way. Spooning is a great way to develop intimacy between man and woman (note: the less clothes, the better). I think it’s something about holding your woman that satisfies their need to feel protected and a man’s need to protect that maintains a sense of closeness without sex.

3.       Talking- One of the best ways to improve intimacy doesn’t always involve physical touching. It is crucial to during the pregnancy period to make an effort to open up and discuss each other’s goals, hopes and dreams.  Having these candid discussions on a regular basis will learn how to be more in tune with each other, but it will remind you of the things you love about them in the first place and will keep your connection strong.

4.       Compliment … Alot- As I mentioned earlier, the changes that women go through during pregnancy can make them feel less than desirable. It can potentially turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy because if she believes she isn’t beautiful, why would her partner think she is? When she is feeling this way, this is probably why she was acting so distant, seemingly, "out of nowhere". Sound familiar?
       The most effective way to combat this is by complimenting. As guys, we have a tendency to take things for granted and we assume she knows how we feel. I mean, we’re together right? If I wasn’t happy with her,  I wouldn’t work so hard every day to make sure she has everything she needs, right? Wrong. You need to go out of your way to break down those insecure walls and let her know that she is the most beautiful person in the world to you. Every day I would rub my wife’s beautiful belly and would tell her how proud I was of her for being such a strong person, and how great of a mommy she was going to be. You need to tell her how you feel in the morning and before you go to sleep at night. Leave a note somewhere in the house that you know she will find this reminding her how sexy she is. These actions have the potential to help keep her self-confidence intact and strengthen those bonds of security with you.

5.       Date Night- Make the time to reconnect with your significant other by taking her out on a date on a regular basis. The traditional dinner and movie is great but if that isn’t in your budget, this is when you have to get creative. If she is home, surprise her and come home early can prepare a meal and watch a DVD together. If the weather is nice, why not have a picnic in the park, or at a vineyard (for the scenery, not the wine)?  Whether it be a small hike, a weekend getaway or whatever, the quality time you spend with her will crucial to draw on during those (cough) difficult moments during pregnancy and will reinforce the intimate bonds you already share.

So, there you have it. As much as I have learned over the years, it’s still challenge for me and I’m always learning something new. It’s certainly no small task. But with a little effort, patience and communication, you will develop an intimacy that will last during pregnancy and hopefully, throughout your lives.

Question: Was intimacy an issue during pregnancy? What ways did you overcome these obstacles?

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