Boom, your wife or girlfriend or that lady you met at the bar last month is knocked up, and prior to this, you had an active or even inspired sex life. Now what? She’s got morning sickness, you’ve got the soon-to-be dad panic, maybe you’re both happy as hell, but still: to bone or not to bone during the gestation? That is the frustration.
Research tells us that it’s perfectly safe to have sex during pregnancy, so long as the pregnancy is going along as it should be. Provided you aren’t having acrobatic Cirque du Soleil sex, and you’re sensitive to the fact that she might want to barf, everything hurts, and lying on her back will make her pass out, you can pull this off. On the other hand, some people say pregnant sex is the greatest sex they’ve ever had, because everything is so full and hormonal.
It’s up to you, but it never hurts to ask what the hell other people do. An online survey of 2,000 has found that it varies — one in six couples have zero sex whatsoever the entire time there’s a bun in the oven. One in 10 think it’s actually wrong to have sex while pregnant, because there’s a baby in there and you don’t go putting your petus next to the fetus (you’re welcome.)
What’s going on here? In part, how the prego feels is the biggest factor in determining who’s getting what action. But how men feel about pregnancy, impending fatherhood and also pregnant bodies is also a factor here, so we decided to investigate. Turns out, they fall into a few categories:
Ew, gross, no way.
For some dudes, the site of a gently gestating body is hella gross. Various forums describing the appeal — or lack thereof — of pregnant bodies lay it pretty bare. “Pregnant women gross me out,” wrote one dude on a Reddit forum exploring if men think women are more or less attractive during pregnancy. “Less,” another one wrote. “There’s a baby in there, and I dislike babies.” Others went on to describe the same phenomenon in slightly different ways. “Huge stomachs are strange looking,” another added.
Someone correctly named Maximus Fartus couldn’t handle a prego body at all. “Less attractive,” Fartus said. “Enlarged nipples, protruding stomach. Some women suffer from serious water retention, some grow facial hair or get rashes. Definitely unattractive.”
Yikes, there’s a baby near my dick.
Next up: men who don’t necessarily find pregnancy itself unattractive, but have weird feelings and hangups about their dicks being so growing-fetus adjacent, like they might hurt it. In the movie Knocked Up, Ben (Seth Rogen) expresses this concern while trying to do it doggy style with a very pregnant Alison (Katherine Heigl). She tells him to do it harder, and he says he can’t.
“I’ll poke the baby if I go deeper,” he says. Later he insists he will accidentally crush it, and then admits he can’t get past that thought: “All I see is our baby getting poked in the face by my penis.”
Men online share similar experiences. “When my wife was pregnant, I was very attracted to her, probably more so when she was showing, but I was also scared to touch her in fear that I would do harm somehow,” one guy wrote on Reddit. “Even though she told me it wouldn’t hurt the baby, I was still scared to do anything. Stupid logic was getting the best of me. I was worried that I would ‘poke’ our baby or smash her if I was on top. However, towards the end of her pregnancy, I got over all of that and tried to poke the baby whenever I got a chance.”
Ok, I’m not grossed out per se but it doesn’t do anything for me.
Then you have the men who kindly acknowledge that a pregnant woman isn’t, like, a total wildebeest, or maybe even still pretty. They just don’t want to fuck her. “Zero sex appeal,” one said in a pregnancy forum. “When the pregnancy started showing I feel like everything falls apart,” another wrote. “I can still acknowledge that she has a pretty face, nice hair, legs, boobs and butt, everything. But it’s just not sexy anymore to me.”
Or as another man put it, pregnant women reside in a third plane of existence. “I won’t really view her sexually, but I won’t think she is unattractive,” one man wrote. “It’s almost like a third state, another factor that suspends my judgment of her attractiveness.”
Totally fine with it and even enjoy it on occasion.
Other men view their pregnant partner as a still-attractive women with whom they would like to have sex. It’s not the bees knees, but hey, they love this gal, and find her attractive even if her body is going through an insane renovation project. You hear this in forums where men say things like, “My wife and I still had sex when she was pregnant and it was not a turn off.”
Or they agree to sex without necessarily being into it. “As soon as she started to really show, however, I was not as horny,” one guy said. “I was definitely more caring toward her but just not as sexually attracted. I would take one for the team however, and break her off properly but it was usually initiated by her.”
I’m on fire.
The survey found that some 65 percent of men found their pregnant partners to be “more beautiful than ever,” and many men anecdotally attest to this. “Had some terrific pregnant sex for sure,” one man told me online. “I don’t recall it ever being a concern. In fact, we heard that toward the end, you’re SUPPOSED to, to get the baby to come. What I call ‘the spoon handle in the ketchup bottle’ technique.”
Elsewhere, men rave over how sexually attractive their pregnant partners suddenly became to them. “Watching my wife go through her pregnancy was one of the sexiest things I have ever experienced,” one man wrote on Reddit. “Three girls later, my wife is still the one on my mind when I need to rub one out.”
“My (now ex) wife was so sexy when she was pregnant, I couldn’t keep my hands off her,” another confessed. “Pregnant sex is definitely one of the greatest sexual experiences I’ve had.”
“The pregnant woman ‘glow’ is a much-discussed thing in our culture…and it’s sexy as fuck,” another man said. “My SO was always hot, but (currently pregnant) is hot in an exciting new way. Hormones and body shape and skin color and even her smell are different, not better or worse different, but interesting and arousing and fun to explore.”
But as we said already, regardless of how men feel about it, the biggest determining factor in sex frequency or action at all will be how she feels. It can’t be overstated that pregnancy is a highly individual experience, leaving some women feeling glowing, aroused and serenely self-contained, while others feel they resemble a Nick Nolte mug shot.
That proved true in the survey: eight women out of 10 said they just didn’t feel attractive except for a very brief period of the pregnancy. One new father I messaged with, Jason, told me he and his wife simply couldn’t make a go of the sex at all — not because he didn’t want to, but because she didn’t.
“We ‘tried’ to have sex twice and it was simply weird and felt impractical so we gave up,” Jason told me. “We were both conscious of there being a baby in there and it just felt very uncomfortable for my wife. Adding to this, she did not feel particularly attractive as her body changed. I thought she was very attractive, but that had no bearing on how she felt. So sex was basically off the table. We didn’t think it was taboo, just awkward and not comfortable for her.”
That happens. The survey found that the month couples were most likely to comfortably and enjoyably get it on was the fourth month. That’s one month past the first trimester when things have settled down for a little temporary spate of smooth sailing. By month six, 57 percent of the couples in the survey who had still been sexually active had stopped boning altogether.
Not to induce panic, but after the sex stops, it can also take couples a long time to start it back up again, due to a mixture of recovery, hormones, healing, sleeplessness, and, of course, a small child.
“We still have not had sex, five months postpartum,” Jason continued. “My wife says she doesn’t feel into it and that her body went through something traumatic and it will take some time to get back to normal. Plus she is scared of squirting me with breast milk and also does not feel very attractive still. I don’t press the point and have resigned myself to the fact that sex is something that just is not going to be there for a while.”
Stories like this are unfortunate, entirely normal, and completely blameless. That said, this is all a case for taking advantage of the sex free-for-all that’s possible during sex. In a sense, pregnant sex theoretically promises all the freedom of vasectomy sex — great sex, no consequences — because the last sex you had already made a consequence baby. And one thing’s for sure: that baby is going to make sex way harder than nausea or fears.
As one Redditor put it, “Sex without worrying about baby = awesome stuff. And yes, young children kill your sex life.”