Feeling exhausted, queasy, and uncomfortable in your ever-changing body isn't exactly a recipe for romance. ("Not tonight, honey, I've got to throw up!") But the physical changes of pregnancy can also set the stage for amazing sex. Increased blood flow can give you a spectacular sensitivity in all your erogenous zones. "Just about everything is more sensitive -- lips, vagina, clitoris, and breasts," says sex educator Lou Paget, author of Hot Mamas: The Ultimate Guide To Staying Sexy Throughout Your Pregnancy And The Months Beyond. Here's how to take advantage of everything pregnancy has to offer in the bedroom.
The perk: Heightened skin sensitivityTake advantage: Touching has never been more erotic! But instead of going right for the gold, have your partner start with -- what else? -- foreplay: gentle stroking of your ears, your neck, and even the backs of your knees. Use a feather to add novelty. Try different types of stimulation -- tickling, kissing, and nibbling. "A foot massage can really do wonders for a pregnant woman's attitude towards her loving partner," says Ari Brown, M.D., co-author of Expecting 411: The Insider's Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth
The perk: Bigger breasts and a curvier bodyTake advantage: Whether you went from a C to a DD or just have cleavage for the first time, bigger breasts are a major man magnet, and can make you feel sexier, too. Play up your assets with a frilly or lacy bra -- even if you end up wearing it only a few times, or trot out a plunging neckline and watch your partner's eyes gravitate straight to your enhanced décolletage. Revel in your new role as a goddess of fertility by posing for a sexy pregnancy portrait -- with a professional photographer or just your partner. You'll have an amazing memento from your pregnancy (and it might help you get in the mood!)
The perk: Surging hormonesTake advantage: "At least a third of women have a tremendous increase in libido when pregnant," Paget says, thanks to spikes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone. And don't forget that your brain is your most powerful sex organ. Engage it fully by asking your partner to share his favorite sex scenarios in rich, colorful detail -- and then return the favor. It will likely be a huge turn-on, and a fuller sensory experience to boot.
The perk: Your bondTake advantage: A study in the Journal of Sex Research showed that married couples have more sex during periods of greater intimacy. "Intimacy in pregnancy can feel extra special since having your partner's baby is a big 'I love you' in all sorts of ways," says Loralei Thornburg, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology and a specialist in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Even if you'd rather fold laundry than get naked and sweaty, make an effort to hold hands, lock eyes, snuggle, and hug. For most women, feeling connected is a prerequisite for sex. So when you feel close emotionally, you'll feel freer to pursue what truly feels good, whether it's conventional or not.
"Remember, there is a baby coming," Thornburg adds. "It's likely one of the last few times you'll get to be in your bed alone together with both of you awake. Seriously."
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