Pregnancy sends a woman's hormones into overdrive, and that can cause her libido to go through the roof for nine months. But not every woman has this experience, and Australian influencer Elise Knowles has started a conversation to normalize that.
On Tuesday, Knowles shared a topless selfie on Instagram, showing off her pregnant belly. The photo undoubtedly caught followers' eyes, but it was her caption that blew the lid off what pregnancy sex is really like for women like herself.
She and her husband enjoyed a "just about perfect" sex life before she found out she was expecting, wrote Knowles. Once pregnancy happened, changes set in—and not the kind of changes she expected.
Pregnancy sex "is often glamorised; you’ll have ground shaking orgasms, be horny & wanting to bang like a bunny, but the reality is that’s not always the case, definitely not for me,” she wrote. “When you’re nauseous & exhausted with tender boobs & some raging hormones, your libido is sure to take a hit.”
Knowles' experience lines up with what ob-gyns say, too. “Libido can change either way during pregnancy,” Adeeti Gupta, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn and founder of Walk In GYN Care in New York City, previously told Health.
Even when a pregnant woman notices that her libido is higher, symptoms like nausea, back pain, fatigue, abd Braxton Hicks contractions) can keep her from feeling in the mood. “Morning sickness in the first trimester can dampen an otherwise perfect hormonal and physical environment for an increased libido,” said Dr. Gupta.
Knowles shared that she tries to make an effort to keep romance and sex present in her relationship, because she believes it’s important to her connection to her husband.
“Sure you need to get creative with positions as you get bigger & you’ll need enough lubricant to fill a swimming pool, but sex during pregnancy can still be sexy & there are plenty of ways to keep that spark alight,” she offered.
“So here I am, 5 months pregnant & as much as it’s different to this time last year, I’m embracing the different, not putting too much pressure on myself but still focusing on finding my version of sexy, focusing on prioritising my sexuality & doing my best to keep that sexual spark alight, because personally I think it’s so important for our relationship.”
This isn't the first time that Knowles has opened up about her sex life during pregnancy. In April, the mom-of-three (soon to be four!) shared that she found it challenging to feel confident in her sexuality while being a mom.
"I feel like sometimes as mothers we worry we’ll be judged if we come across as too sexy, or too sexually confident," she said. "But it’s ok to embrace your sexy. It’s ok to say out loud that you enjoy having sex. I say it all the time at the moment because it’s a fact. I enjoy exploring my sexuality, I enjoy the act of sex & I shouldn’t feel any shame toward that just because I’m a mother."
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