I am approximately 13 days from my due date and every part of my body hurts. Walking is rough. Sitting down is even harder. I pee approximately six times in the night, which might seriously disrupt my sleep if I was actually getting any. And lying on the bed would be almost OK, if it didn't entail having to get up again. Yep, my third trimester has been uncomfortable. Yet funnily enough, my sex life during my third trimester has been quite extraordinary.
You might think that the sheer physical discomfort of cultivating new life would be a deterrent to my libido. I mean, when you can barely walk because your back is thrown out for the fourth time in a week, or when you have to physically pull your body out of the bed using a lamp or the wall because your legs just don't seem to work, "sexy" isn't exactly the word that comes to mind.
I feel disconnected from my body in more ways than one, simply because it isn't functioning the way it used to. But sex has become a prime source of relief from my discomfort. Sex has the power to take me out of my head, reconnect me with my sensuality, and remind me of all the beautiful sh*t my body is actually capable of — several nightly orgasms included.
Every part of my body feels different right now. I might complain about the aches and pains pretty religiously, but there's also a hell of a lot of increased sensitivity going on at the moment. Breast tenderness, for example, is known to be a major side effect of pregnancy, which often manifests itself in extremely sensitive nipples. And extremely sensitive nipples mean that the slightest graze or lick or fondle is enough to stir up some serious downstairs tingling. This might be somewhat awkward or confusing when my nips are touched as a result of getting dressed in the morning or being knocked against a car door, but for the most part, it's a wonderful perk of pregnancy that gets more intense with every passing day.
A large part of me wants to relish every moment we have left of being sexually carefree.
It would be easy to focus on the discomfort of pregnancy at all times. It would be easy to feel so disconnected from my body as to subsequently reject sex or intimacy altogether, as a way of hiding my "shame." After all, we are conditioned to believe that the changes our bodies go through during pregnancy are negatives, and that we should dream about our post-pregnancy figures with their smaller waists and slimmer legs and far less achy shoulders.
Instead of feeling ashamed of my new physique, however, I've chosen to embrace how different my body feels and allow myself to experience its new sensitivity at full throttle. Which can definitely translate to "sexy" under the right circumstances.
Besides the physical differences that stem from my body's increased sensitivity, there are also psychological aspects that make sex better during the third trimester. The reality is that my life and my partner's life are about to change drastically, and something tells me that the dynamic of our intimacy is just one of the many things that's about to get a revamp.
For six months, there's going to be a baby sleeping in our room. For years thereafter, there's going to be a baby, and then a toddler, and then a teenager only a wall or two away. Sex might not be the spontaneous, loud, no-holding-back experience it's been in our six years together thus far. And that means that a large part of me wants to relish every moment we have left of being sexually carefree.
I want to do it in the living room or kitchen or behind that one especially thick patch of trees outside, without worrying that a little face is going to appear from around the corner.
I don't want to say that I think sex after having a baby is somehow "worse" or "less than" pre-child sex, but I do assume that, logistically, it has to change. Until that moment, I want it to remain much the same. I want to do it in the living room or kitchen or behind that one especially thick patch of trees outside, without worrying that a little face is going to appear from around the corner. I want to raise my voice without growing concerned that the noise will slip through the baby monitor and wake up our kid after we've struggled for hours to get her to sleep. I want to have as much fun as possible.
Sometimes, I look at my partner and I can't believe what we're about to do. We trust each other enough to raise a baby together, which feels like one of the biggest commitments you can possibly make in this whirlwind of a life. We trust each other enough to assume that we won't seriously screw up this kid, but rather nurture and care for her instead. And we trust each other enough to put aside any fears of how our relationship might change or suffer in the coming months and years, and decide to look forward to it all instead.
Although tabloids and less-than-body-positive articles about pregnancy have told me that I'm supposed to hate my body right now, for me that's been entirely untrue. My pregnant body is just a physical manifestation of the decision we've made to be parents together. Of the love we have for one another. Of the amazing sex we've experienced together that got us here in the first place. Thinking about all this is enough to feel many, many feels — including, but not limited to, horniness.
It's true that the last three months of pregnancy can kind of suck. Every time I struggle to get out of the bed for a wee, every time my back cries out in agony, every time my swollen feet refuse to snuggle into my combat boots like they did once upon a time, I admittedly feel tempted to dish out some self-hate onto my body, put on a muumuu, and crawl under a duvet.
But every time I try to resist the feeling, I remember that something seriously exciting is happening inside me, and the discomfort is swapped for joy. And if I let it, the joy can manifest into desire and sexiness and a quest for adventure.
Plus, my nipples are super sensitive right now. So there's always that.