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Here's How Often Real Couples *Actually* Have Sex While Pregnant

There are a lot of interesting side effects that occur when you get pregnant. Some of them are kinda not the best, like the crippling exhaustion, endless morning sickness, and maybe not-so-cute flatulence. But! For a few lucky folks, positive side-effects like fabulous hair, big boobs, and a raging libido that puts you back at high school-level horny are a thing. If pregnancy apps have taught me anything, it’s that folks are fucking like rabbits when they’re knocked up

The good news is that, yes, it’s typically okay to have sex when you’re ~with child.~ “Penetrative sex and oral sex are both generally considered safe while pregnant,” board-certified OB/GYN and founder of Sterling Parents, Christine Noa Sterling, M.D., FACOG, tells Betches. There are certain conditions where your doctor might put you on pelvic rest (such as if you have placenta previa), she explains, but unless you’ve specifically been told to refrain from intercourse or orgasming, you should be good.

After talking to a bunch of moms, though, it turns out not every person wakes up with a thirst for dick/vag upon getting a positive pregnancy test. And even if they do want to have sex, one of the most common reasons knocked-up folks avoid it is fear — especially of those post-orgasm cramps. “When you orgasm, you release oxytocin, which can cause uterine contractions,” Dr. Sterling explains. For the most part? Those contractions are totally normal (despite being uncomfy and kinda scary). In fact, it wasn’t until I had several awkward conversations with my own OB/GYN, who definitely considered blocking me on my patient portal, that I started to open my mind—and my legs—to the idea of boning while baby-growing.

Whether you’re team Take Me Now or Don’t Fucking Touch Me, there’s no right or wrong. But, because there’s nothing we love more than knowing the intimate details of other people’s lives, I spoke to 24 parents on how often they had sex during pregnancy. It turns out our apps think we have much more exciting sex lives than we actually do.

Soft focus. Pregnant woman, man and dog lying on a bed near the window. Attractive couple look to each other and smiling. Natural light, terracotta bed linen. close up shot.
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  1. I was super horny, but orgasms hurt. Even though my sex drive was through the roof, I’d get painful cramps afterward that totally killed the vibe. Mutual masturbation, though, was a saving grace.” — Katelyn L. 28
  2. “Not often… My husband was super concerned about hurting the baby or hurting me because we just weren’t sure what could happen. My mind wasn’t really in it because I’d be thinking of a million things that could happen, which completely ruined the mood. After having sex at 10 to 12 weeks (and not being a fan), we both agreed that consistent penetrative sex wasn’t it.” — Stacey T., 31
  3. Like… one to two times a month. I was exhausted, not in the mood, and didn’t feel sexy. My husband was respectful, so he’d leave the sex initiation up to me. While the right move, it would sometimes make me feel undesired, which didn’t help things either (lol).” — Allison F., 32
  4. Literally one time. I had sex once at, like, 20 weeks. The cramping afterward was too stressful for me, and honestly? I didn’t think a little penetration was worth being anxious about my baby’s welfare. Don’t worry — I still gave plenty of blowjobs during pregnancy. Lucky guy, right?” — Annie H., 31
  5. We averaged once every couple of weeks. After a certain point in pregnancy, my belly was too big for a lot of sex positions, even the ‘pregnancy-friendly’ ones. Even though my partner has the higher libido in our relationship, they didn’t mind the dip in frequency — or at least those thoughts were (wisely) kept to themselves.” — Erin V., 33 
  6. We had sex maybeeee twice a month on average. While my husband was really into me being pregnant, I felt like garbage, especially towards the end. I had rhinitis and gestational diabetes and did not love how I felt or looked in my pregnant body. He was understanding, but I could tell he was also frustrated by the lack of physical intimacy.” — Jen G., 34 
  7. “I got pregnant with my first during Covid lockdowns, and I’d say we’d have sex two to four times a week. High sex drive and free time definitely came into play. With my second pregnancy, I was tired from chasing my first kid and touched out because I was still breastfeeding. My partner would have been up for more, but was understanding with an average of, like, every other week.” — Amanda C., 32
  8. Often during the second trimester and… that’s about it. Having sex while pregnant otherwise just seemed like a frivolous spending of energy that I did NOT have to spare. The times we did do it were those random days I felt glowy and majestic and were enthusiastically initiated by me. It was something that brought me closer to my husband because he really followed my lead and never made it about him no matter how blue his balls may have gotten.” — Kaitlynn H., 33
  9. “A normal amount at first, but then I was basically attacking my husband daily toward the end of my pregnancy to try to induce labor. Clearly, it didn’t work because I had a failed induction that ended with a c-section.” — Vanessa Z., 31 
  10. “It was pretty much business as usual, and we stuck to our usual frequency (twice to three times a week) until later in the third trimester when I was too uncomfortable. We did have sex once or twice in the final week to try to induce labor, with no success at all.” — Cassandra S., 33
  11. We had sex about twice a month during pregnancy. I was so ill, but I knew my husband wanted to, so I tried to keep some consistency. It kind of made me feel normal to have sex, even when I didn’t feel like myself. It almost grounded me?” — Joy A., 31
  12. “About two to three times a week at least, but sometimes four to five, especially in the second and early third trimester. Hormones drove the frequency of sex, and the hardest part was learning my body and knowing my limitations.” — Hannah E., 23
  13. “Maybe once a month to try to fulfill my wifely duties. I had no desire to have sex and felt so uncomfortable during it. Maybe it was the hormones or the fact that I was the size of a house. My husband was understanding but definitely didn’t love the change in our sex life.” — Werlaine R., 32
  14. “I’m not sure of the exact number, but it was definitely more than usual because I was already pregnant. I was raised Catholic, so I tried the whole “natural family planning” thing. We spent most of our early married years trying to avoid pregnancy, so once I was already knocked up, there was freedom with sex. Plus? I definitely felt more turned on, so we got it on a lot.” — Maria S., 43
  15. Never, lol. My husband and I were cautious of everything. I didn’t eat any of the off-limit foods, I barely exercised for fear of over-exertion, and sex was just weird to think about while we were so careful with everything else.” — Brittany L., 30
  16. “We had sex about the same amount, sometimes because I wanted to and sometimes because I felt like I *should.* When I actually wanted to have sex frequently, it was def a hormonal thing. When I didn’t want to have sex because I was uncomfortable or just tired (I usually did it anyway because I felt guilty). My husband’s drive is WAY higher than mine, and he definitely feels loved when he’s getting physical affection. Essentially, our frequency during pregnancy didn’t change because I usually put other people’s feelings above my own.” — Lucy J., 33 
  17. “I’d say about twice a week. I felt like trash during my first trimester— nauseous, bloated, and incredibly anxious because of a loss last year. I knew sex was an important part of our relationship, though, so I tried my best to get in the mood. My husband definitely struggled with having less sex than normal, but luckily, he’s not a garbage person and understood that I didn’t love him any less.” — Meg B., 31
  18. I was constantly horny while I was pregnant. I would wake up in the mornings thinking about sex. I’m assuming it was all the hormones; I just wanted my husband all the time. I felt like the female hormone monster from Big Mouth. I was even willing to try new sexual things I normally wasn’t into. My husband was thrilled, even if it took some convincing that I was feeling okay and the baby was fine and ignorant of what was going on.” — Kay S., 39
  19. “We really only had sex one to two times when I was in my first trimester, mostly because I was so unbelievably nauseous that the thought of anything physical was a hard pass. Once I got to about week 14 and my symptoms calmed down a bit, we aimed for once a week if I felt up to it.” — Jillian P., 32
  20. “Penetrative sex? Hardly ever. Oral sex? Often. Secretly using my vibrator in bed while my husband played video games in the other room? Constantly.” — Tina B., 29
  21. “We probably had sex two-ish times a week during the first trimester and three to four times per week the rest of the pregnancy. My husband was a big fan of the extra boobs during pregnancy, which overrode any nerves he had about the concept of sex while pregnant. I was often the limiting factor because of fatigue, which was my main pregnancy side effect, especially in the first trimester.” — Caitlin P., 32
  22. About once a week. The frequency would definitely depend on how tired or anxious I was. When you can’t see your own vagina anymore, it can be hard to want to have sex at times. On the flip side, as someone with body dysmorphia, being pregnant enough to where my belly was noticeable, and I could look down and be like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m pregnant, not fat,’ sometimes made me feel sexy.” — Kayla G., 33
  23. “Honestly, like once a monthEvery trimester kind of gave me a new reason NOT to want to have sex. The first trimester hormones made me want nothing to do with anyone touching me. The second I started showing the big belly of it all, it really made me feel super unsexy. The later I got into my pregnancy, the more of a pain it was to even get into a position to have sex (literally and figuratively). I literally started scheduling sex because it’s important to me and my relationship with my partner. We’d aim for once a week, but he usually understood if I wasn’t feeling it, or we’d do something else. I actually think he was slightly relieved because later on, I think he was so afraid to hurt me that he couldn’t focus on anything else anyway.” — Emma C., 30 
  24. “The first trimester was basically a wash because I was puking all the time. The second trimester was the golden spot, and by the third trimester, our positions to have sex were limited. Plus, my husband felt like the baby was “in the room with us.” Sometimes, I felt so feminine and sexy, and other times, I felt like an alien in my own skin. All in all, I probably wanted to have sex more often when pregnant, but I felt impeded by my own body and its restrictions the farther along I got. Just because we’re pregnant doesn’t mean we don’t want to get laid — in fact, we probably need it even more.” — Serena U., 32 
Rachel Varina
Rachel Varina
Formerly one of the HBICs at Total Sorority Move (RIP), Rachel Varina has a long history of writing about things that make her parents ashamed. She's an avid lover of holding grudges, sitting down, and buffalo chicken dip. Currently, she lives in Tampa, Florida, but did not feed her husband to tigers. And even though she's married (with a *gasp* baby), she doesn't suck. Promise. PROMISE! Follow her on Instagram and Twitter (@rachelvarina) so she gets more followers than that influencer her husband dated in high school.