Three weeks before the birth of my first daughter, when I was swollen, uncomfortable and horrified by my bloated body, distended fingers and inability to see my toes, my midwife suggested I have more sex.
"Seriously," she told me. "If you want her to come sooner, try having more sex."
If only it were that easy. I have always been comfortable with sex. I learned early to please myself and took that with me into relationships, often acting the part of the "male" who just wanted to get off as opposed to the "female," looking for love and transcendence through sex.
Since discovering that sex had a function beyond fun and feeling good, my mojo had lessened considerably. Every time my husband came near me, I worried about the baby—would all that jostling hurt her? I worried about the way my body looked—could I really seem attractive to anyone? And most of all, I worried about discomfort. What positions might work for someone who could not lay on their stomach, back, side or pretty much in any position that did not involve three propped pillows? My husband had similar concerns but was more inclined to go for it. Watch: Sex During Pregnancy
In spite of my reservations, I took her advice, contorting my unfamiliar body into positions it was not meant to access, sitting on my husband's lap, the fear—"death by crushing"—humming in my ears. The sex was good, albeit bizarre, but awkward as they were, those encounters achieved the desired results. We had an early birth. Our daughter emerged from my womb two weeks early, her birth a product of the same process that created her.
After she was out, we held her between us—our twosome suddenly interrupted by the arrival of a third. We admired the blending of our features: his forehead, my eyes, his lips, my nose. She was mine, his, ours—the personification of our union.
In the early weeks, this connection did not translate to the bedroom. I wanted to hug him, hold him, stroke his hair. But I had no interest in engaging in an act that now seemed so fraught with consequences.
When we first married we were like children, discovering each other's bodies, chasing one another around the house, canceling plans so we could stay home in bed kissing, touching, learning to find the spots that would become like home, but at the time were foreign and unexplored. The miracles of modern birth control guaranteed consequence-free pleasure.
As we changed, so did sex. Immersed in graduate school, in our careers and in the business of marriage—the house buying, decorating, merging of finances and caring for our pets—we let our sex life drift into low tide, the passion slowly slipping back from the shore, revealing the rocks that had been hidden from view, ignored beneath the surf.
We had sex, of course, but what was once new and exciting became almost rote, boring at times. A sense of obligation pervaded our encounters, and I longed for the time when things were new, fresh and exciting. Our trips to the sex toy shop—once frequent, fun little diversions—dwindled to almost none. My husband never admitted it, but I think he felt the same. The Best Sex Toys for Couples
After three years of this, the pregnancy came as a welcome surprise—not planned, but not maligned either. Sex was never going to be the same, something I realized almost immediately. It seemed my organs had shifted and suddenly no position was comfortable and my body felt foreign, invaded.
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