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How To Have Kinky Sex During Pregnancy, According To An Expert

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When we talk about sexuality during pregnancy — when we talk about it — we do so in a very particular way. Unlike morning sickness or weird cravings, it hasn't been incorporated into the general discussion of having a baby, so it's always a kind of sidebar. It's also almost always general, heteronormative, and quite vanilla. But what about kink during pregnancy? Can we, in 2019, stop pretending that women lose their pre-existing interest in BDSM, rope-play, and other "off-the-beaten path" interests just because it doesn't mesh with our extremely limited view of what it means to be pregnant? (Or that a surge of pregnancy hormones might pique their curiosity?)

Romper spoke with Madison Young, sex educator, mother, parenting podcaster, and author of The Ultimate Guide to Sex through Pregnancy and Motherhood about how to embrace kink while pregnant, how to talk about it, and how to enjoy safely.

"As a society, we hold a lot of stigmas still around sex and bodies," Young says. "So many of us ...[are] working toward unraveling this massive tangle of stigma and shame that was put upon us from birth."

Courtesy of Erika Lust Films.

Young recently took part in Pregnancy Sex Doc, an explicit documentary tackling this stigma. Director Erika Lust, an indie adult-filmmaker and mother of two, was inspired to make the documentary after she struggled to find positive erotic images of other pregnant women to relate to during her own pregnancy, noting that sexuality in pregnancy is usually either condemned or fetishized.

For reasons inveterate but unclear, it seems that society cannot reconcile the idea that a mother (or mother-to-be) can be sexual, and certainly not overtly or subversively sexual. But just because something is difficult for people to wrap their heads around doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Sexuality during pregnancy can be just as varied, nuanced, important, and yes, kinky, as it is at any other time in our sexual lives.

Pregnant bodies are sexual bodies if they choose to be, however they choose to be.

If you already know you're into kink, you probably have a pretty clear idea of what it is. But if you're unsure, Young points out that kink is "expansive."

"Kink is simply another way that we gift energy, affection, and connection," Young tells me. "Kink could be the pregnant individual putting on a strap on and penetrating their husband, or masturbating in public at a play party, or slipping on a leather collar and [having] your partner lovingly washing their submissive. Kink can look like a million different things and doesn’t have to be challenging to bring into or to start exploring during one’s pregnancy."

Courtesy of Erika Lust Films.

As with anything involving a pregnant body, chances are you are going to have to make some modifications and adjustments based on what makes you comfortable. "Being present and listening to your body and exploring what feels good and nurturing to you is the best advice that I not only give others while they are pregnant, but is also the mantra I followed during my own pregnancies," Young tells Romper.

Young says pregnant people should also be extra aware of avoiding impact on the belly or lower back, and remembering that their sense of balance might be a bit off during pregnancy. Of course, when in doubt, it's best to talk with a health care provider. "Have a trusted, sex-positive practitioner you can talk to and to listen to your intuition and what your body is asking for," she tells me.

Of course, doctors and midwives grew up in the same sex-negative environment as the rest of us, so how do you find one you can trust to be kink-friendly? Young concedes that finding a sex-positive care providers may take some work. "If you feel like information [from your care provider] might be biased, it very well could be," she says. "Most doctors receive very minimal sex education." She encourages pregnant people to seek research from multiple sources and to ask your doctor to cite where they got their information from. For example, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom website offers a list of "kink-friendly" health care providers who can answer your questions. Young also notes that some midwives and doulas will specifically note on their websites that they are sex positive.

Our sexuality is an ongoing conversation we have with ourselves, our bodies, and our partners.

This kind of open and honest dialogue, as always, is going to be absolutely crucial with your partner as well. Indeed, kink may have an expansive definition, but a common thread throughout all of it is ongoing communication, negotiation, adjustments, and readjustments to ensure that everyone is enjoying themselves. And, again, a pregnant body may need some more of that than usual.

"Something might feel good at the beginning of the scene, but then you lose feeling in your legs from kneeling on them so long because of the wacky changes in circulation during pregnancy," Young points out. "[If your partner is pregnant] ... check in throughout the scene to accommodate [them]." And don't worry about spoiling the mood. "There are many super sexy ways to communicate throughout a kink or sex scene that add to the intimacy, trust and heat of a scene."

Seriously: name something sexier than communicating so that everyone gets what they want and need. I'll wait.

Courtesy of Erika Lust Films.

Under typical circumstances, women have a difficult time reconciling their sexuality with society's ideas of what our sexuality should be, and that becomes even more complicated when we are pregnant. But the only way to win that game is not to play. Our sexuality is an ongoing conversation we have with ourselves, our bodies, and our partners. Pregnant bodies are sexual bodies if they choose to be, however they choose to be. That fact might make some people uncomfortable, but we are under no obligation to accommodate anyone's comfort but our own or our partner's.