Sex in pregnancy and postpartum (the weeks and months after giving birth) can feel intimidating, awkward, and sometimes scary. There's no one or "right" way to approach or feel about sex during around the time of pregnancy and after birth. Some people are very interested in engaging in sex during pregnancy and/or postpartum and some people have zero or very little interest; most fall somewhere in between.
There is a ton of information available online when it comes to sex during pregnancy and beyond. Today, I'm sharing one vital tip that may just be the most important and helpful advice for sexual experiences throughout life, and especially during pregnancy and postpartum:
- Check in & communicate frequently with your partner, before, during, and after sexual experiences.
What is a "check in" during sex? A check in is an intentional moment in which you check on you partner's feelings about the experience. It doesn't have to be a production or last long -- it can be as simple as, "Is this ok with you?" and/or "Are you still enjoying this?" Check ins should also include questions like, "Would you like me to continue?" and/or "Would you like me to try something different?" or "May I try _____?" You can also ask things like, "Do you want me to stop?" or "Does this feel good?" or "Does this hurt?" and so on.
With in-the-moment feedback, you can be more assured that what you're doing together feels good to your partner and they're enjoying and want to continue the experience. This consent-based approach to sexual experiences is extra important during pregnancy and postpartum when your body and emotions may react differently and be more sensitive to experiences and sensations, and it is an approach that people should be practicing all the time, with all partners, whether in a new or long-term relationship.
For many people, sex can be filled with loaded and varied emotions and a personal history that may contain trauma and/or unpleasant or unsatisfying experiences. Your relationship to sexual experiences can make it difficult to speak up about what you want and don't want or if you want to stop. It's not uncommon for people to have sex out of a sense of obligation or guilt, as well as not speak up out of fear of hurting their partner's feelings or out of fear of voicing feelings and desires. Using the check-in strategy as a matter of course can help alleviate some of these issues.
When you and your partner regularly check in with each other during sex, it's clear if the experience is mutually enjoyed, and if it's not, what can be done differently to help, or if it needs to be stopped. No matter how how long you've been in a relationship or how "good" at sex you think you are, you cannot read your partner's mind. Never assume they're enjoying the experience. Checking in is a sign of respect and care for their pleasure, as well as your own.
If you don't already practice this in your relationship, sit down with your partner -- long before you begin a sexual experience -- and discuss starting to check in with each other during sex. If you've never done this before, it will feel awkward at first. The more you practice, the more natural it will feel, and the payoff for your relationship is huge.
TagsPregnancy Sex During Pregnancy Sex During Postpartum