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Sex, Orgasms & Masturbation
Q. I am 20 weeks pregnant and just start bleeding after I had intercourse for the first time. At first the blood was red, but then it turned to spotting in a brown color. It lasted a little while, then it just quit altogether. I have not had any more bleeding or spotting since. What does this mean?
A. Bleeding after intercourse during pregnancy is very common and quite normal. As the pregnancy progresses, the cervix becomes more and more engorged with blood and increasingly sensitive. It's very much like a piece of soft, ripe fruit. Getting bashed with the head of a penis during sex is bound to make it bleed a little. Don't worry. The cervix heals quickly. No harm done.
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Q. I'm 26 years old and six weeks pregnant with my first pregnancy. I notice that after orgasm I have light spotting (light brownish color dissolved in a clear or creamy discharge), which stops quickly. I have no cramps (except during the orgasm itself), and no pain. Should I be concerned?
A. Light spotting after sex during pregnancy is very normal. (See the other "spotting after sex" question for more details.)
Spotting after masturbation can also be normal. Even if you are not directly bumping the cervix with the head of a penis or dildo, the uterine contractions from orgasm alone can bring a little bleeding. If you are not cervix-bashing while masturbating and experience bright red bleeding or a large quantity of blood, I would hold off on the clitoral vibrator for a while.
Q. I am a little over seven weeks pregnant and last year I had a miscarriage at six weeks. When my husband and I have sex and I have an orgasm, I get these horrible cramps. It really scares me. Do you know what may be causing the cramps?
A. During pregnancy, uterine cramping after orgasm is quite common. It is more painful for some women than others. I, personally, didn't find it painful, just uncomfortable and weird. When I started to show, I suddenly noticed a strange transformation of my belly after sex. During and after an orgasm, the uterus contracts and stays contracted for several minutes. The large, loose, bowl-of-jelly stomach transforms into a tight, hard, football-like mass. It usually squashes downward and off to one side. Don't worry; this momentary pregnancy deformity doesn't harm the baby, although you may initially freak out over the appearance and feeling.
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Q. If you have sex while pregnant does it make the baby grow faster?
A. No. Having sex while pregnant does not make the baby grow faster, but if it's good sex, it might make the nine months go by faster.
Q. I'm seven and a half months pregnant with my first child. My husband recently told me sex for the last couple weeks was hurting his penis, like he was running into a wall. I've never heard anything like this – have you?
A. I suppose it is possible that your vaginal canal may seem shallower, especially if you are in the upright position, with the weight of your uterus pushing downward. In truth, though, your vaginal canal is actually expanding and becoming more elastic to eventually allow for the passage of the baby.
I suspect your husband's complaints are more psychological than physical. Many men have thoughts of bumping the baby with the heads of their penises during intercourse. This fear is bound to be distracting during the act, which could, in turn, make a man feel physically uncomfortable. Of course sex, even rough sex, will in no way harm or disturb the baby during a normal pregnancy. Talking about this with your husband may help. If he continues to complain of a hurt penis, you might try different positions, such as elevating your hips to pull the uterus away from his penis, or manual or oral sex.
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Q. On every web site I look at, women say "sex doesn't necessarily hurt, it's just uncomfortable." Well, it hurts for me, almost like my partner’s penis is hitting my cervix too hard. He's not huge, but about average. I've never had a problem with his size before. I have had the pain issue since before I was pregnant (probably around the times I was just about to start my period and just never paid any attention to the dates). Now that I'm pregnant again, it hurts all the time. I can't remember if it was like this with my son. How do I make it stop? We've tried every position, and we're into other kinds of sex play, but nothing can replace lovemaking.
A. Some women have a more sensitive cervix than others and do feel much more discomfort during pregnancy and times of hormonal surges, like your period. It's also possible for this sensitivity to increase with each pregnancy, making a pap smear or intercourse more painful than before.
To be on the safe side, you should mention your painful intercourse to your OB/GYN to rule out any trouble with your cervix.
If intercourse really hurts you no matter what position you try, maybe you should abstain until after the pregnancy. Oral and/or manual sex really isn't so bad!
Q. I am 33 weeks along in my pregnancy. I have always enjoyed sex and even more since I got pregnant. My only problem is that I can only orgasm in the missionary position. My husband is having a problem having sex in this position because he feels that he will hurt the baby. I do not feel uncomfortable or in any pain in that position, though. Is it unsafe to have sex in the missionary position so far along into pregnancy?
A. As long as you are comfortable and your doctor does not advise against it, sex in any position is okay during pregnancy. (See the other sex and pregnancy questions for more details.)
Quite often, men have a fear that their "oh-so-large" penis bashing up against the woman’s cervix will hurt the baby. In reality, even in the last days of pregnancy the baby feels nothing more than a little nudge every now and then.
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Q. I am 14 weeks pregnant, and it's my first pregnancy. I've noticed that sometimes, especially when I am aroused, by inserting my fingers into my vagina I can feel my cervix and it feels hard and shaped like a nose. I think it will probably get in the way if my husband and I have intercourse. I've had no bleeding during my pregnancy and my cervix does not feel sensitive. Does this sound normal?
-Anonymous, New York
A. I don't think you need to worry about the sensitivity or shape of your cervix, or whether it will get in the way during intercourse. During pregnancy some women experience a much softer and more sensitive cervix while others have just the opposite. There's a lot of room for variation.
As for the worries about your cervix getting in the way during intercourse, this most likely won't be a problem. Vaginas are very elastic, especially during pregnancy, and can stretch enough to provide ample room for a penis and an enlarged cervix. Eventually the vagina can even stretch to accommodate a fully developed baby.
Q. On Monday I masturbated and had an orgasm. About an hour later I noticed some blood on the toilet paper. I also had sex that morning. When I called the doctor, she asked if I had sex recently. I told her about the intercourse, but didn't mention the masturbating. She told me to take it easy and the bleeding would stop. It didn't, and I called her on Tuesday and told her it was still happening. She sent me for some blood work and I go back this Thursday for more. It’s Wednesday and I'm still bleeding and having some cramping. Do you think I caused this by masturbating? I didn't have an orgasm during the sex, but I did with masturbation. I just don’t know what to think — if it’s a miscarriage or what is going on.
A. In early pregnancy, intercourse and masturbation can cause bleeding because the cervix is so tender. This type of bleeding is normal and harmless. Since your bleeding is continual, it's probably unrelated to the sex and masturbation. Although bleeding and cramping can be signs of miscarriage, they quite often happen for no good reason in early pregnancy. (See the other bleeding in early pregnancy questions for more details.)
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Q. My fiancé thinks it's a turn-off to make love to a pregnant woman! He says he won't be able to look past the big belly and the baby inside me. Do you think he will change? It is such a huge surprise because he is so very sweet to me. I thought making love to his pregnant wife would be a pleasure. Do you know of any other men feeling this way? Am I really looking at several months of no sex? I don't know how I'll survive. I know that his lack of desire will make me feel ugly. What can I do?
A. You'd be surprised how many men think this way. Some of them cannot get over the "Madonna complex" and view their pregnant wife as a mother, similar to their mother, which usually isn't a turn-on. Other men believe that sex with a pregnant woman may hurt the baby and they don't want to put the baby at risk. (Of course this is ridiculous. See the other sex and pregnancy questions for more details.) And, there are some men who are just not attracted to the physical aspects of a pregnant woman, such as the big belly, swollen vagina and ballooning breasts. On the other end of the spectrum, there are also men who are even more turned on by the body of a pregnant woman.
Men's views on pregnancy sex can stem from past relations with their mothers, what they've been taught as a child, or may be based on one pivotal incident. Whatever the cause, I'm sorry to say there's nothing you can do to change your man's feelings. The only way he will change is if he thinks he should investigate and possibly work on his feelings. You might try suggesting this, but I don't advise forcing the issue.
In the meantime, if he doesn't come around, there's always your trusty vibrator! And, don't worry, you will have your old body (maybe a little worse for the wear) back someday.
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