Hello, class. Before we begin today's lesson on the benefits of having an orgasm during pregnancy, I would first like to tell you that I fully understand sex may in fact be the last thing on your mind whilst pregnant, and that is totally fine. As far as I'm concerned, when you are swollen, nauseous, exhausted, and advised not to lie on your back, you should also be freed from any and all pressure to get your proverbial freak on. That's why this article is not about sex. It's about pleasure. Your pleasure. And I'm here to tell you that pregnancy may in fact be the best time to focus on and explore your pleasure in order to achieve orgasm.
Why? Well, I'm really glad you asked. After talking to three experts in the field of women's health and sexuality, what I discovered was that orgasm and pregnancy may be more closely linked than many people realize. And while I hesitate to generalize anything when it comes to pregnancy and a woman's individual journey with it, one thing is for sure: People are not talking about pregnancy and pleasure enough. It's as if the thing that enabled most of us to become pregnant suddenly then becomes taboo once we are with child.
Just because you are pregnant does not mean you can't, or shouldn't, feel pleasure. In fact, many women even feel sexier when they're pregnant. But if you're having trouble tapping into your pregnancy pleasure mojo, fear not. The list below will hopefully provide you with all the insight, motivation and tools you need in order to experience orgasms as big as that growing bump of yours.
1. It May Be Easier To Achieve
There aren't many things that actually become easier when you're pregnant, but it turns out orgasm might be one of them. Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones, a Charlotte-based gynecologist passionate about helping women have more fulfilling sex lives says that thanks to the "buckets and buckets of hormones created during pregnancy, it's actually the best hormonal environment you can have" when trying to climax. Increased blood flow in that area means everything is more sensitive, which may also be the reason why some people worry about having sex when pregnant.
She states, "Because the cervix has more blood vessels, it can cause bleeding, and then everyone freaks out." Most of the time, she says, this can be prevented by changing positions or not going as deep, but if you are bleeding during sex (especially during the first trimester), you should check in with your doctor. If they advise "pelvic rest" (aka no sex) just be sure to also ask about whether that includes orgasm/self-pleasure as well. Which leads me to the next benefit...
2. It's A Great Time To Try A New Toy
Research suggests that nearly 75 percent of women are not able to achieve orgasm through intercourse alone. Read that again: 75 percent! So even though your body may be primed for orgasm during pregnancy, that doesn't mean you aren't going to have to do some work to figure out what makes you climax. Brooke Christian, founder of Flirty Girl, a sex empowerment platform for moms, loves the idea of exploring sex toys during pregnancy. Acknowledging that during her own second pregnancy there was "nothing sexual" about how she felt, she was jealous of other women who spoke about better orgasms during pregnancy. As such, she's a big advocate of "sex by yourself" when you're pregnant.
Lucky for us, she's recommending her favorite sex toys for pregnant women to try.
Brooke says this is by far her most-requested toy. She claims it's "especially good for pregnant ladies whose clitoris may be too sensitive to the banging function of most vibrators. The suction, while very intense, is gentler on the clitoris."
3. It Can Bond You To Your Partner
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time for you and your partner, but it can also be challenging as you both navigate the huge unknowns of becoming parents. If you have a male partner, it's impossible for him to understand the hormonal and bodily changes you're experiencing, and that can be frustrating for both parties. Because of the hormones released during orgasm, Dr. Kelly-Jones believes orgasming is an important way for pregnant women to bond with their partners. And, she states, "orgasming helps to improve your mood and overall sense of well-being," which is key when your partner doesn't understand why you need chocolate-covered pretzels with a side of ranch dressing at 2 a.m.
4. It Can Help You During Delivery
If you haven't heard the term "orgasmic birth," don't worry, you're not alone. Until I spoke with the woman at the forefront of the movement, Debra Pascali-Bonaro (doula trainer, Lamaze educator, director of Orgasmic Birth, and more), I hadn't either. But after our conversation I was left feeling pretty disappointed I didn't know about it before the birth of my two sons. The idea here is that "the same hormones you produce during orgasm are produced during birth." We have this idea that childbirth is a horribly painful experience full of cursing and screaming, but Debra is trying to shift that narrative and show women that "birth is part of sexuality. When you bring your sexuality to birth you provide more comfort and pleasure."
She thinks it's crucial not to ignore this connection, since oxytocin, which is also produced during orgasm and childbirth, is a "huge pain reliever." She notes that many women she's worked with not only orgasm during pregnancy for the first time, but also masturbate during delivery in order to make the experience less painful and more pleasurable.
5. It Can Heal Painful Wounds
Pascali-Bonaro also feels a very important part of the discussion with orgasm and pregnancy should center on healing from past sexual trauma. Statistics show that one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. With the rise of the Me Too Movement, we've seen more than every before just how many women (and men) have been suffering in silence. As Pascali-Bonaro notes, "pregnancy is an important time to dive deeper into healing." She points to the fact that for some women, birth, because it is a sexual act, can bring people back into trauma. To avoid this, she emphasizes the importance of trying to heal those wounds and reclaim their sexuality. The key here, she states, "is to feel really safe, find privacy - which can exist with a partner or not - and feel unobserved." Which, she notes, can include your own observations of yourself.
The more women can let go of any expectations when it comes to pleasure and orgasm, during pregnancy and beyond, the more, she feels, they are able to really explore themselves. And her final tip, to "give yourself 20 minutes or more of time to try and orgasm," means you have permission to cancel your afternoon plans and focus on you, and your pleasure. Because trust and believe, once that baby comes, getting 20 minutes to yourself will likely be a thing of the past.