Ask Professor Foxy: How Does Pregnancy Impact My Sex Drive and Desires?

This weekly Saturday column “Ask Professor Foxy” will regularly contain sexually explicit material. This material is likely not safe for work viewing. The title of the column will include the major topic of the post, so please read the topic when deciding whether or not to read the entire column.
Dear Professor Foxy,
I am six months pregnant, living with the father and very happy. We have a wonderful sex life and I feel very lucky to have the relationship and life I have. However, lately I have been puzzled by my lustful desires. When we have sex, it is no longer a romantic, intimate, drawn out affair. Before I became pregnant, we would switch sex tempos regularly. Long romantic love making on Monday and by Wednesday I would be craving being thrown against the wall, digging my nails into his back.
However, since I have become pregnant, long romantic nights of love making no longer happen due to my desire to have rough sex. I do want a romantic scene sometimes but more often than not, it’s a wild, intense, passionate fuck. We have sex more often and when we do, I am on top (due to how fabulous being on top is and my large belly) and we both get into an intense, wild frenzy of naugthy talk, pulling and many quick orgasms instead of one large one. Furthermore, while my partner satisfies me very well in the bedroom, I masturbate more often then on average, even after we have sex. I know that many women who are pregnant desire sex more but I am on a trip that I feel has no end in sight. I do miss our long romantic love making sessions but these hard ramps are giving me my fix. Is this something that will pass or am I in for the long haul? Is my pregnancy causing this desire and need for rough hanky panky or am I entering a new phase of my sexuality? If there is any advice you can give me I would greatly appreciate it.
Thanks
Sexy Sue Who

Hello Sexy Sue Who -
A dear friend of mine and I were talking about what sex felt like while she was pregnant. One of her thoughts sticks out at me: “Honey, when you are pregnant, you just want to and need to fuck. Your desire is sooo strong.” And my friend is not a woman with a low sex drive. Good for you for being able to be sexual and pregnant.
Hormones impact our bodies and our desires and our sex drives. Pregnant women have stronger hormones, so a stronger desire for sex and a particular kind of sex, should not surprise us. Unfortunately in our society, pregnant women are too often seen as either asexual or sick for having sexual desires.
When a woman stops being pregnant, those hormones dive down (often one of the reasons for post partum depression) and then go back to where they were pre-pregnancy. Your sex drive and desires may very well go back as well. There is really no predictive factor. All you can do is ride it out and see where your body and desires end up.
Best,
Professor Foxy
If you have a question for Professor Foxy, send it to ProfessorFoxyATfeministingDOTcom.

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26 Comments

  1. MiriamCT1
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    I loved the crazy sex dreams I had when I was pregnant. In one memorable one, I walked up to a mini-van (ah, the car symbol of being a mother if there ever was one) and I open the siding side door and inside was a huge group of people, women and men, all having crazy sex! It was awesome.
    And remember, at the end of pregnancy, sex can help start labor. It worked for me when I had my baby this past May!

  2. allegra
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Wow. This almost makes me excited to get pregnant. Almost.

  3. allegra
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    Hormones impact our bodies and our desires and our sex drives. Pregnant women have stronger hormones, so a stronger desire for sex and a particular kind of sex, should not surprise us.
    Why is everyone always talking about testosterone as the “sexy” hormone when I’m going to guess pregnant women have very high levels of estrogen and progestin, so these must act as sexy hormones too. I have a stronger sex drive just before my period. So what’s up with the testosterone shit?

  4. Cate
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I think this answer is a little oversimplified, and falls into the “I heard from a friend” trap. Do some women have much higher sex drives during pregnancy? Yes. Do some women have much lower sex drives during pregnancy? Yes. It really depends. My mom said her sex drive was much, much higher during pregnancy, whereas when I was pregnant, my sex drive was practically zilch. Hormones don’t necessarily affect every woman the same way–for example, why do hormones cause some women (like me) to have terrible morning sickness, but others (like my mom) to have none at all? We definitely shouldn’t be looking at pregnant women like they’re too sick or delicate or asexual to want sex, but we also shouldn’t be looking at pregnant women who DON’T have a high sex drive as abnormal.

  5. rissa523
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the original questioner. I wanted a very active sex life during pregnancy.

  6. Kathleen6674
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I also get almost unbearably horny the week before my period.

  7. gothhenge
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    “Ride it out.” Nice. :)

  8. Kurumi & Cheese
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    My mom told me (in one of her many “TMI” moments when I didn’t really care to know) that when she was pregnant, the pressure of the fetus against her everything made her want to masturbate more. I guess that would make some kind of sense. If a fetus is squeezing down on your bladder, surely it’s squeezing down on everything else too.
    But I still didn’t need to know. I think I was about 13 when she told me. o__o For no good reason. Hurray, TMI moms.

  9. Kurumi & Cheese
    Posted October 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    My mom told me (in one of her many “TMI” moments when I didn’t really care to know) that when she was pregnant, the pressure of the fetus against her everything made her want to masturbate more. I guess that would make some kind of sense. If a fetus is squeezing down on your bladder, surely it’s squeezing down on everything else too.
    But I still didn’t need to know. I think I was about 13 when she told me. o__o For no good reason. Hurray, TMI moms.

  10. The_Great_Indoors
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    I think it’s a kind of a roll of the dice as to what pregnancy does to a sex drive. First of all, it’s a physiological roller coaster – during a pregnancy a woman’s body changes more and more rapidly than at any other time in her life, except when she was in the womb herself. On top of that comes the mental roller coaster – all the sociological baggage about what is and isn’t acceptable for a pregnant woman to feel/think/do. You should also not expect to bounce right back to whatever kind of sexuality you had before you got pregnant. When we first got married, my wife had an extremely high sex drive, and it stayed high during her first pregnancy. Afterwords, her physical desire absolutely flat-lined then slowly recovered over the course of a couple years, tho it never reached the same heights as before. It bottomed out again after her second pregnancy, and is just starting to climb more than 2 years after the fact. I guess what I’m trying to say is be ready for anything, roll with it as best as you can, and hope your partner can roll with you. As with all things sexual, how you feel and what you desire is never “wrong.”

  11. SociologicalMe
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    When I was pregnant I was too physically uncomfortable to want sex that often, but thanks to the hormones I started having erotic dreams with (for the first time in my life) actual orgasms at the end.
    I don’t think it’s fair to call Foxy’s answer hearsay, either. We know some medical facts about pregnancy, but the best way to understand a lot of it is to hear the wide range of personal experiences of real women out there. There are a few things that should send up flags and warrant a trip to the OB/GYN, but most pregnancy changes just fall somewhere within the wide range of healthy, normal experience. But if you don’t realize how wide that range is, you can pretty easily end up feeling like a freak.

  12. SociologicalMe
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    P.S. wide range. Wide range wide range. I haven’t been awake too long, didn’t realize I was so repetitive, sorry.

  13. Icy Bear
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Maybe this is overly psychoanalysis-y, but what first occurred to me when I read this post is that rough sex is basically the opposite of what our culture tends to associate with motherhood (not that that’s right or how it should be, just that that’s the predominant sentiment I’ve noticed)… so maybe desire for rough sex is part of Sexy Sue Who’s way of dealing with the new role she is about to play, the result of an increased sexual drive mixed with her mind working through some of the cultural expectations of motherhood? Obviously there is no way to know, but there may be more than just hormones at work here.

  14. Sweet Pea
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I’m 5 months pregnant and I have zero sex drive. I don’t even like my husband to touch me (we haven’t hugged or kissed in months) and the thought of sex disgusts me. ):

  15. RsubC
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    estrogen requires testosterone to be produced. higher levels of estrogen = a surge of testosterone. estrogen during pregnancy is produced in the placenta, but still requires testosterone/adrenal hormones to produce. during the menstrual cycle, testosterone peaks right before ovulation, which both encourages an estrogen spike and is thought to promote sexual desire at the most likely time to get pregnant. if you’re horniest during peak progesterone time (about a week after ovulation) – which i am – it might be a last-ditch attempt on your bodies part? no clue, not a doctor, just taken a lot of women’s health classes

  16. frugalurban.wordpress.com
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Besides varying woman-to-woman, it can vary from pregnancy to pregnancy. With my first pregnancy, my sex drive was really low, but with my recent second one, I wanted much more sex, and masturbated a lot. The pregnancies were very similar in many other ways, except that with number 2 I am older, closer to that “mid-thirties” time when we’re told a woman’s sex drive peaks.

  17. uberhausfrau
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    dood! the pregnancy sex dreams rock!! definitely one of the highlights of pregnancy. the first one i had blew my mind – it was shortly after i had seen “saved” and it was with jena malone. double the crazy pregnancy sex! i was highly disappointed when i woke up next to my husband.

  18. sarah
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    Why do people say that a woman’s sex drive peaks at that age?

  19. Honeybee
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    From scientific studies we know men peak sexually around 18 years old and women in their early 30s.

  20. aletheia_shortwave
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    Allegra,
    Have you ever read Natalie Angier’s book “Woman: An Intimate Geography” ?? I can’t recommend it more highly, especially if you’re interested in topics like these.
    She basically takes every level of false consensus that has been reached on biological issues in gender (for example, testosterone = aggression), and not only calls them into question from a political feminist perspective, but actually calls out the biologists on bad biology.
    It was incredibly heartening to know that my opposition to “evolutionary psychology” accounts of why women with small waists or big breasts are attractive, or say, some idiotic scientific research that has proved that men want an attractive woman and women want a wealthy man — are not just opposition to bad politics but also to bad science.
    Not to mention Natalie is an absolutely fantastic writer.
    When people make generalizations like the one about testosterone and sex drive they are invariably just that — generalizations.
    Hope this helps!

  21. Devoted_Toucan
    Posted October 18, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re just over-analysing and reading between the lines when there’s nothing extra to read.
    When discussing issues, a lot of people bring their own experiences into their voiced opinions. Not only their personal, first-hand experiences (meaning, in this case, the opinion of a woman who’s been through pregnancy herself – which presumably Professor Foxy hasn’t), but what they’ve learnt from others. Essentially, the majority of what we learn and believe is taught, or at least influenced by, other people and our past (direct or non-direct) experiences. Professor Foxy didn’t say “My friend said…and this is true for all women”; they just implied that this woman’s letter reminded them of the conversation with their friend, and that they were pleased that this woman, like their (Professor Foxy’s) friend, still had a high sex drive. In fact, the “Good for you for being able to be sexual and pregnant” shows (in my opinion) the acknowledgement that not all women are able to sexual whilst pregnant. (Plus, surely Professor Foxy should be given the credit of knowing this anyway.) Also, in my own experiences of talking to someone about problems they’re having, or something they’re curious about, I find it’s often good to show or remind them that they’re not alone by relating it to my own experiences and/or the experiences of others I know.
    Nor did Professor Foxy say that hormones will definitely increase sex drive during pregnancy (they said that pregnant women have stronger hormones, and therefore it “should not surprise us” if the sex drive is higher)…nor did they say the person’s sex drive would definitely return to its original, ‘normal’ state (“may very well go back…”).
    I like the answer P.F. gave.

  22. Kathleen6674
    Posted October 19, 2009 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    I may be remembering this incorrectly, but the ‘peak’ being referenced refers to frequency of orgasms – not just during partnered sex, but any and all orgasms.
    I’m 35 and I’m just as horny as I was when I was a teenager, and I’m way more easily orgasmic – I know how my body works and what I want in a way I didn’t when I was younger.

  23. Gopher
    Posted October 19, 2009 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    I was going to say the same thing about Natalie Angier. I remember reading that she said sex drive may be related to a different hormone and that both men and women have the same amount of it. Progesterone maybe? It doesnt make sense that they say that testosterone is the sex hormone because that would mean that all guys have a bigger sex drive than all women since they have more testosterone in their systems. But thats not the case, so I’m going with some other hormone.

  24. Gopher
    Posted October 19, 2009 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I’ve heard of that claim being disputed for a variety of reasons. I think it came from Kinsey.

  25. drfantastic
    Posted October 19, 2009 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    @ Cate: “I think this answer is a little oversimplified, and falls into the “I heard from a friend” trap.”
    Yes – and this is just one more time that I wish that Feministing had (even just one) woman who was a mother working here. As I’ve posted before, I certainly don’t think one or three or whatever mothers would speak for all, but it would be a step in the right direction.
    It was pretty dispiriting to me to have to read P.F.’s “I asked a friend post” about such an important question. Can you imagine any other identity category for which that would be tolerated on this blog?

  26. mysticapple
    Posted October 19, 2009 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I wish the answer given here had been a little more on the factual side as it’s a part of pregnancy that rarely gets given much attention.
    Generally, women experience a higher sex drive in pregnancy. The reason for this is because there is a much increased blood supply to her genitals which therefore makes them more sensitive. Vaginal lubrication is also increased. All of this adds up to make her feel more “in the mood”.
    For women who are generally comfortable with their sexuality, this might also open them up to enjoying more creative sex life. The physiological changes also increase enjoyment of sex for many women, and it often doesn’t take very long to have an orgasm and they can even go on to have more than one.
    Obviously it’s not all based on physiological changes, hormones play a part and so do physiological aspects of it.
    I’d say that the experimentation might lead a couple to discover new things that they enjoy that could either be enjoyed after the baby is born, or it may just be a phase. You would need to see how things feel once your body has gone back to it’s normal state.
    I’m and Doula with some midwifery training, and also a mother. I personally think the asker should really make the most of it – or “make hay while the sun shines” as my partner liked to say! ;-)

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