I’m feeling so turned on and want to masturbate all the time. But when I do, I’m consumed with shame because I’m so aware of my baby being right there. Is there a way to stop the shame? Or should I just hold off on masturbation until after childbirth?

Excerpt from Asking for a Pregnant Friend: 101 Answers to Questions Women Are Too Embarrassed to Ask about Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

Do not, I repeat, do not deprive yourself of the deliciousness of masturbation during pregnancy. Because of the increased blood flow to the vagina I keep talking about, the surge of progesterone and estrogen upping your vaginal secretions, and uber sensitive breasts and nipples, your body is ripe for the pleasuring. Beyond being a totally normal activity during pregnancy, masturbation can actually elevate your health by soothing stress through a release of endorphins, improving blood flow, minimizing pregnancy pains, and helping you slip into a restful sleep. Baby also reaps rewards, as they can be comforted by the rhythmic uterine contractions triggered by orgasm.

It’s important to remember that growing a baby does not cancel out your sexuality. You’re still a sexual being who needs and deserves various forms of pleasure. However, as you explore your sexuality during pregnancy, you might find that different things turn you on. For example, I have a heterosexual friend who told me in whispers that one of the only things that turned her on during pregnancy were erotic stories about lesbian encounters. She said she wasn’t attracted to women but found the stories so sexy during pregnancy. After she had the baby, I asked if the stories were still her thing. “Not really,” she said. “I finally like my husband’s penis again!”

If you prefer sex to masturbation but find that intercourse is uncomfortable, or have a partner who can’t get over being so close to baby’s temporary home, consider mutual masturbation. This allows you to share intimacy with your partner while bypassing everyone’s discomfort.

Fun Fact: The beloved G-spot often becomes more accessible during pregnancy. And did you know you also have an A-spot and a U-spot? The A-spot is located above the cervix (so don’t go there during pregnancy), and the U-spot encircles the urethral opening (go there).

In regard to baby being right there while the deed is being done, know that they have no idea what you’re doing. They’re busy floating in a warm waterbed and breathing in amniotic fluid. They couldn’t care less what you’re doing.

What to do

Masturbate! Find a comfortable, private space, pull out your inspiration materials or tools of choice, and go to town — downtown.

  • If you have a hard time reaching that special spot, invest in a vibrator or dildo — just make sure they’re clean before use by washing them with soap and water.
  • Don’t be shy about exploring various areas of your body — for example, those plump breasts.
  • Before you begin the fun, minimize the chance of scratches during fervent rubbing by cutting and filing your nails.

If thoughts of baby triggering a flood of shame come up during masturbation, remind yourself that you’re doing nothing wrong. It’s healthy and natural. You can also close your eyes and envision floating away to another realm where only you exist — we’ll call it Pleasure Town.

Note: If you have special circumstances, such as a risk of preterm labor, placenta previa, or uterine infections, confirm with your care provider that masturbation is a safe choice. And if you’re embarrassed asking about this, know that they’ll likely be relieved you trust them enough to ask this personal question, and that this is likely far from the strangest question they’ve received.

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