“I don’t understand this. We used to do it three times a week and now it’s gone. I lost all sex drive the minute I got pregnant”. Sound familiar? If you feel like someone has turned off your desire switch, you are not alone.
Nine months without getting busy will put a strain even on the strongest relationship. You may be wondering why you have no sex drive during pregnancy and how to deal with it.
Or perhaps your partner is pregnant and you’ve noticed she lost interest in physical intimacy. You don’t want to push her but at the same time your own sexual tension is building up and you’re out of ideas what to do.
In my sex coaching practice I help pregnant women and their partners deal with bedroom problems. Every situation is different but there are some common things worth understanding and exploring.
Decreased sex drive in pregnancy is the norm, research shows
Low libido is not uncommon for pregnant people. Actually, studies show it is more likely to lose interest in sex than to become extra horny.
One study of over 200 women in Israel revealed a gradual decline in desire levels as the pregnancy progressed. A 2015 study in South Africa revealed 40% of pregnant women saw a decrease in desire while only 18% felt more interest in sexual activity.
Blame your pregnancy hormones
Have you ever ridden a drop tower at an amusement park? They take you very high up and suddenly drop you, giving the experience of a free-fall. Personally, I wouldn’t get on one if someone paid me a lot of money to do it. Would you? Definitely don’t try it while expecting.
But it’s a good metaphor for falling libido in pregnancy. The switch in desire levels can resemble that rapid drop and may shock you just as well. No ticket needed!
Suddenly, you go from a baby-making frenzy – when you had made sweet love on every possible occasion – to a complete sexual desert. No sex drive during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester is a result of your hormones doing their job!
Rising levels of hCG may lead to nausea. High progesterone may make you sleepy and tired. Let’s take a look at what the pregnant women’s bible “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murkoff has to say:
Your body is “manufacturing your baby’s life-support system, the placenta, which won’t be completed until the end of the first trimester. (…) you’re producing more blood, your heart rate is up, your blood sugar is down, your metabolism is burning energy overtime and you’re using up more nutrients and water”.
Don’t you get tired just reading the list of tasks your pregnant body has to do every day? No wonder you may have lost all interest in intimacy!
Remember that these are just examples of a typical pregnancy. Your situation may be different. For example you may suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum, which is a severe case of nausea. Have you seen the stand-up Growing” by comedian Amy Schumer? She says she vomited non-stop for 5 months and the last thing on her mind was to do anything erotic.
Princess Kate had it too. Remember to be gentle with yourself, brave mama!
Fear of miscarriage can switch off your libido
The first three months of growing a baby are hard not only physically but also emotionally. You may have heard stories of friends who had a miscarriage or perhaps you’ve gone through one yourself. Always consult with your doctor if it’s safe to go ahead. If you don’t have a history of complications and the fetus is developing well, you will get a green light for the whole duration of your pregnancy.
Whatever your OB-GYN says, you still have the right to feel anxious and hesitant to make love. Honour your feelings and don’t push yourself.
No sex drive later in pregnancy
Couples usually can’t wait for the second trimester. Most women see their symptoms reduced and energy returned. Online groups are full of preggies boasting their rich bedroom life in this period. “I would wake my husband up in the middle of the night for sex.”, ” I wanted it like crazy”, are just a few of many quotes you can find.
Women who have no sex drive during pregnancy are more reluctant to share their experiences. One woman I spoke to said she felt ashamed to look for help. She said she thought she was the only one suffering from a total loss of interest in intercourse. Only when she found a small Facebook group where some women did talk about similar experiences, did she start to feel a bit better.
Don’t sacrifice for the sake of your partner
Talking about your intimate concerns is extremely important. First of all, try to discuss your present problems as a couple. Don’t hide it from your partner if you don’t feel like making love. If you decide to shut your mouth and “sacrifice” for his sake, you will be doing a disservice to your relationship.
Your partner loves you and cares for you, right? If yes, hiding your discomfort from him or her will lead to a situation where you let him/her abuse you and he/she won’t even realize! This really damages the good and nourishing energy between two people.
Second, it’s good to have a trusted provider who can answer your pregnancy-related questions, even the most intimate ones. If you feel like you’re alone with your problems, find your online tribe of mums-to-be.
A word of warning. Internet discussions can be misleading and make you feel even worse so choose your communities wisely. Remember people like to complain and criticize and sometimes their only agenda is to feel better about themselves, even at your cost. Attending a workshop or circle for pregnant women in your area might be a better idea.
Your libido as you’re getting closer to delivery
As you enter the third trimester, you may start to feel uncomfortable in your body again. Your weight, the size of the belly, swollen ankles. The hormonal activity may make you feel unattractive. There are a couple of symptoms that may increase your self-consciousness in the bedroom.
Almost all pregnant women produce more vaginal discharge during pregnancy. If it’s white, milky and mild-smelling, it’s absolutely normal. It actually has a protective role. If this or other pregnancy symptoms are making you insecure in bed, talk to your partner about it and find a solution together.
Many women have a nesting phase in the weeks prior to childbirth. Their mind is completely focused on creating a safe environment for the child. If your libido has gone down to zero in that period, know that it shall pass. Our sexuality is cyclical. There will be times in your life where you will not be interested.
How to deal with no sex drive during pregnancy
Now you know that low or missing interest in intimacy is a normal thing. You may still be worried about it, though. After all, you care about your partner and your relationship. Are there any ways to nurture desire in a relationship if you don’t want to have sex? If you’ve been following me for a while you probably know the principles of Good Enough Sex. One of the most important ones is: in sex there is always hope!
If you’re currently pregnant (or partner to an expectant woman), join me at the free live webinar “3 Expert Tips for Low Libido During Pregnancy”. This webinar is open to all pregnant people, their partners and couples.
During the webinar you will be able to get expert advice for free on all your pregnancy-related intimacy questions. If you can’t make it live, there will be a replay available so sign up now not to miss this opportunity to make the best out of your pregnancy!
I hope this article has been helpful! Got questions? Send them in the comments!
J. Hart, E. Cohen, A. Gingold & R. Homburg (1991) Sexual Behavior in Pregnancy: A Study of 219 Women, Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 17:2, 86-90, DOI: 10.1080/01614576.1991.11074009
P. Regan, L. Lyle, L. Otto, A. Joshi (2003) Pregnancy and Changes in Female Sexual Desire: A Review, Social Behaviour and Personality, 31(6)
J Moodley & S M Khedun (2011) Sexual activity during pregnancy: a questionnaire-based study, Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection, 26:1, 33-35, DOI: 10.1080/10158782.2011.11441418
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