Giving Birth: The Pleasure Principle

In both sexual arousal and pregnancy, breasts enlarge and nipples become sensitive. There's also extra blood flow and lubrication in the vagina, and hormone production soars. And, according to sex researchers Masters and Johnson, among others, masturbation is common during pregnancy, even if never experienced before. However, not all pregnant women are hovering in a permanent state of sexual arousal. Many other influences--such as fatigue, nausea, and worry -- can affect a pregnant woman's sexual desires.

Your sexual interest during pregnancy probably fits one of the following four descriptions:
-- It doesn't change at all during pregnancy.
-- You feel tired and nauseated from day one. After the first few months, you don't feel as sick, but you're not much better. Though you need your partner to hold and comfort you, sexual intercourse is not a priority. In fact, you might prefer to do without it.
-- You may be sleepy and sometimes nauseated in the first trimester, but in the second trimester you marvel at your energy and you feel wonderful. Your desire to make love is greater than ever before.
-- You vibrate with good health throughout the pregnancy. Your senses are more acute than ever. Food is appetizing, and you've never had a moment's queasiness. Your desire to make love with your mate continues to increase right up to the time of birth.

Whichever description matches your experience, you're in good company--other women have felt the same. An unchanged sexual response is the least likely, while increased desire in the middle trimester is the most common. But whether you're turned on or turned off, want an orgasm or not, your feelings are normal, and may vary from pregnancy to pregnancy.

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