Pleasure & Intimacy While Pregnant
Since becoming pregnant, I’ve grown more curious about my body—the way it’s changing, the bizarre sensations, the strange cravings, and even the nausea. It’s like when I was a teenager, and a rush of hormones brought an awareness that wasn’t there before; for the first time, I noticed my shape and curves. Being pregnant is a very similar experience as I rediscover my body and its wants and needs.
On a more intimate level, I find I’m yearning for a deeper connection with myself, and I desire self-pleasure more often. This has brought up many emotions, including curiosity, surprise, and even guilt. At times, I’ve felt guilty for not wanting to be with my partner in the same way. I haven’t craved this kind of intimacy—intimacy with myself—in a long time, and I didn’t expect to feel this way while pregnant.
I’m connecting to a deeper place of presence and pleasure in my pregnancy journey in connecting with my body.
Yet, I know that I’m connecting to a deeper place of presence and pleasure in my pregnancy journey in connecting with my body. It’s beautiful witnessing my body and all its changes while also honoring its needs. I’m relearning my shape and curves, but I’m also re-learning self-pleasure. And I’m welcoming this invitation to nurture my body while pregnant. Here’s how:
1. Release Self-Judgement
Sometimes we can feel guilty or judgmental during self-pleasure. Whenever this happens to me, I ask myself where these feelings are coming from. Usually, these negative thoughts are a result of subliminal messages from society. Inner work and learning to silence harmful thoughts also help.
“Inner work is the act of going inside ourselves, to explore our true feelings and parts of us that may have been rejected and labeled as ‘inappropriate’ or ‘too much’ by others,” writes Tiffany Trieu for Mind Body Green. In a piece about healing our inner child, she interviews Trish Phillips, Psy.D about the importance of inner work and exploring our feelings.
Anytime I hear judgmental thoughts, I release them and bring myself back to an awareness of wonder and curiosity.
“By allowing ourselves time to go within, we begin peeling back our everyday coping mechanisms (being avoidant, numbing of our feelings, etc.) and are able to fully accept and integrate our subconscious into consciousness,” Trieu writes.
This practice of integrating my consciousness with my subconscious has been helpful for finding a deeper connection with myself both mentally and physically. I listen to my thoughts and also what my body is asking of me. Anytime I hear those judgmental thoughts, I release them and bring myself back to an awareness of wonder and curiosity. Stepping into this awareness allows for more kindness and for pleasure to be experienced more freely. In self-pleasure, it may be a sense of wanting to explore and releasing into the joy of exploring my body with ease.
2. Use Reading and Research For Learning
It’s okay to need a refresh course for self-pleasure, especially as our bodies change and we get older. My body is new territory while pregnant, and instead of being fearful of the changes, I’m allowing myself to feel curious as I relearn the basics of self-touch. Reading and research have also been helpful for inspiration and direction.
For example, in an essay for Romper, Samantha Darby explains that it’s entirely normal to experience pleasure and orgasms differently while pregnant. “…The extra blood flow to your genitals while pregnant can make those orgasms of yours feel more sensitive and intense,” Darby writes.
When we remind ourselves that self-pleasure is normal and beautiful, we can relax and experience pleasure in new ways.
This article about touch and self-pleasure from NPR is also helpful. “Celebrating our bodies, and the pleasure they can give us, can be the starting point for an extraordinary relationship with ourselves and the world,” Simran Sethi writes. When we remind ourselves that self-pleasure is normal and beautiful, we can relax and experience pleasure in new ways.
3. Practice Mindfulness For Deeper Connection
Mindful self-pleasure is a powerful tool for connecting to our bodies. I’m always listening to what my body wants me to eat and when it wants me to sleep. In the same way, mindfulness during self-pleasure can be a helpful practice. It can also remove any limiting beliefs we may have surrounding intimacy.
To learn more about practicing self-pleasure in this way, check out this guide with tips and resources.
4. Embrace Pleasure In All Forms
Pleasure comes in many forms—self-touch isn’t the only way to care for our bodies. For me, pleasure can look like rest, going through a walk in the woods behind my house, and self-massages with coconut oil. I’ve found great pleasure in eating new foods and enjoying flavors I didn’t like before I was pregnant. Bagels are my new go-to, for example. They bring me and my body pleasure in this season!
Consider looking to pleasure as a roadmap for connecting to your body and baby during this season.
Allowing ourselves the freedom to feel pleasure in all its forms can be a learning process. Especially while pregnant, all the new sensations can make it challenging to know know what our bodies need. Yet pleasure during pregnancy can make us feel empowered and sexy—because pregnancy is sexy. It’s an observation of one’s strength, resilience, and ability to grow and create new life.
If you’re pregnant, consider looking to pleasure as a roadmap for connecting to your body and baby during this season. Whether that’s through intimacy or simply eating your favorite ice cream—embrace pleasure without judgment! Experience it with presence, love, and curiosity.
Courtney Jay is a writer at The Good Trade. She is also a yoga instructor, health enthusiast, and sustainable fashion advocate. She believes the most powerful way to nurture the planet is to nurture ourselves. You can find more of her writing and take one of her online yoga classes on her website Coincide.