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Sexual Distress During Pregnancy

Sexual Distress During Pregnancy

It’s not unusual for women to experience sexual challenges during pregnancy. With the physical changes and the emotions that come with becoming a parent, many pregnant women feel less desire for sex, have trouble with vaginal lubrication, or might not reach orgasm as much as they used to. And for some women, these issues lead to sexual distress.

In fact, a recent Journal of Sexual Medicine study of 261 pregnant women found that 42% felt sexual distress. But feeling sexual distress isn’t quite the same as having a sexual problem. Some women have sexual issues, but don’t feel bothered by them. Others feel negatively about their sex life, expressing guilt, frustration, and worry. It’s also possible to feel sexual distress without having a specific sexual problem.

The researchers also found that women who felt sexual distress also tended to have lower sexual and relationship satisfaction, suggesting that distress can disrupt intimacy between partners and, eventually, cause stress in the relationship.

If you are feeling sexual distress during pregnancy, know that you are not alone. Your doctor might not cover sexuality in depth during your office visits, but the doesn’t mean you can’t bring it up yourself. Be open about how you’re feeling, with your partner and your healthcare provider.

To learn more about pregnancy and sexuality, check out the following articles:

·         Sex During Pregnancy discusses the safety of sexual activity while a woman is expecting.

·         Sexual Functioning of Pregnant Women addresses the adjustments expecting couples may need to make.


The Journal of Sexual Medicine

Vannier, Sarah A. PhD and Natalie O. Rosen, PhD

“Sexual Distress and Sexual Problems During Pregnancy: Associations With Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction”

(Full-text. Published online:  January 28, 2017)