It’s not quite bed rest, and not quite normal life — pelvic rest can mean different things depending on why you need it, but in general, your doctor isn’t going to want you to put anything inside your vagina (menstrual products, toys, lovers’ body parts — you get the picture). If you’re pregnant and your doctor has prescribed pelvic rest for you, you might be wondering what your intimacy options are now. Can you have an orgasm on pelvic rest, or should you just pretend your vagina doesn’t exist?
If you’re just hearing about pelvic rest for the first time, it’s kind of the new-and-improved version of bed rest. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has changed its recommendations about bed rest, stating that “bed rest is not effective for the prevention of preterm birth and should not be routinely recommended,” and experts say all that time in bed can be hard on a person’s overall health. Pelvic rest, on the other hand, means you can go about your routine as usual. The no-inserting-anything rule is meant to protect cervical tissues and just generally not disturb your growing baby. Your doctor might put you on pelvic rest if you have placenta previa, a short cervix, are pregnant with multiples, or have experienced some signs of preterm labor, says Dr. Jill Rabin, M.D., OB-GYN and urogynecologist at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
That said, we’re all adults here, and we know there are ways to have an orgasm without penetration. So, are any of those methods OK during pelvic rest?
Can you have an orgasm on pelvic rest?
Not all sex is penetration. Sometimes, it’s just some fancy vibrating panties and a good time. So, can you have an orgasm during pelvic rest? The short answer is no, even if you can achieve one without penetration.
“Pelvic rest is just kind of a euphemism for nothing in the vagina and nothing that’s going to stimulate the pelvic muscles. Any orgasm causes muscular contraction of the pelvis, whether it’s clitoral, vaginal, anal, or just reading a steamy novel. It doesn’t matter,” says Rabin.
The muscles of the pelvic floor are all interconnected, including those that support the uterus and cervix (there’s even some muscular tissue in the cervix itself), Rabin says. That means it’s not just penetrative sex that can disturb the cervix or uterus, but any form of orgasm.
While it’s obviously zero fun to hear you can’t orgasm at all until you’re postpartum — especially if you’ve managed to have a fun and active sex life while pregnant — it’s crucial to your baby’s health that you follow the rules while on pelvic rest.
So, put the toys back in the drawer. It sounds like if you’re on pelvic rest — hopefully for only a short period of time — you’re hanging up your orgasm shoes for a little while.
Dr. Jill Rabin, M.D., OB-GYN and urogynecologist at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, and author of Mind Over Bladder: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Continence
This article was originally published on