Q: Sex Positions for Pregnancy

We had someone write in and ask us for a list of favorable positions to use during pregnancy. I thought it was a great question so I pulled some of the positions from our Position of the Week feature that are likely to be comfortable, though some of them may require some slight alterations depending on what stage you are at and you and your husband’s body shapes. I haven’t included man on top positions because they are likely to be more uncomfortable although my husband and I did a version of a basic missionary position all the way up to the end of my pregnancies.

First is a list of woman on top positions where you are facing him:

Second is a list of positions where you are on top and facing away so your belly isn’t feeling squished:

Lastly I want to mention that if you have the option of making love underwater it can be very helpful in taking the weight off your belly so if it works in your situation there are some great underwater sex positions as well:

So I hope this list is helpful to our pregnant readers. :)

Birth Control: Right or Wrong

Debates regarding whether or not Christians ought to use birth control can be some of the most heated that I have seen. It is fairly common to transfer something that God has taught us personally as truth for everyone. While Christianity certainly does hold a lot of absolute truth, there is also a whole lot of grey mixed in there and that is why the life of God within us by His Spirit is so important.

In my journey with God I have found that this issue of birth control is one of those grey areas. I truly believe that it is entirely possible for God to lead one couple in the freedom to use birth control while guiding others to refrain from it. And for some couples, He leads differently for different seasons. What is most important is that in every step you are honoring the Lord as the creator of life and you are involving Him in your conversation as a couple and the ultimate end decision.

The reasons we come to hold the opinions we maintain are diverse and if it is your understanding that it is only the Catholic Church which does not approve of the use of birth control, there are actually many within the Protestant Church who also feel that any birth control at all is inappropriate and they are leaving the number of children they have completely up to the Lord. You can read more about this idea, commonly referred to as quiver full, here.

One of my friends was lead with her husband to refrain from using any birth control at all apart from Natural Family Planning and she has a large family now that has been both a challenge and a blessing to her. For them, God lead them to dedicate every sexual act to the possibility of life being created. Another of my friends has a household full of children because God lead them to use birth control AND to have many children. Her children, also, are a great blessing and a challenge at times. I know of another family who refrains from using birth control, but they have just one child. For them, having a quiver full, has meant having one child. Personally, after the birth of my last child, my husband and I both talked and prayed and over the course of a number of months eventually came to a place of freedom for my husband to have a vasectomy.

So how is it that God can lead us all to such different understandings. Primarily, I believe it is because HE KNOWS US. He knows were we are weak and where we are strong. He knows what we will do in His Kingdom. He knows the personalities of our children and what kind of family they would best fit into. He knows our desires for our family and our dreams for the future. He knows what resources are available to us both now and in the future, and I am not primarily talking about monetary resources, but also relational ones. He knows every detail of our lives from now until the end and he KNOWS what is best for us. Wrapping all those things together, it is unreasonable to me to assume that what is best for my husband and my family is also best for yours.

As I said earlier, the key in all of this is that you and your husband are listening to the Lord and honoring what he has told you about your fertility and child bearing. And as I mentioned on a previous article regarding Birth Control Options, if the Lord leads you in the decision to use birth control, your listening does not stop there. Then you need to be praying about which method is right for you. When I was praying about my options I remember asking the Lord about Mirena which seemed to me that it might be a good option, but He told me not to use it and the reason surprised me. I won’t share the reason because while it was truth for me, I am not convinced that it is truth for everyone. Still, do keep a listening ear towards the Lord as you determine which method you and your husband will be using.

So be encourage to embrace what the Lord has told you and your husband about this. He has good things for you and in whatever you decide just continue to maintain a humble heart towards the Lord and to honor Him as Creator.

Since this blog is not an appropriate platform for extensive debate, we ask that if you wish to participate in the comment section that you maintain a respectful approach and refrain from enticing debate. Keep in mind also that comments which present an opinion as though it is the only possible will of God will be subject to very high moderating standards. If you would like to share how you have come to the position you now hold feel free to do so in a kind manner. We can all benefit from hearing how others have processed this issue in their marriage.

Intimacy After Miscarriage

Walking through a miscarriage is a very difficult process; one that effects each woman individually. It can influence both devistation and great faith even within the same woman.  I lost a baby in between the two children I have now. We didn’t have an easy time getting pregnant the first two times. For both our son and the baby we lost, we tried for a year to conceive so to lose our baby filled us with deep sorrow. At the same time, I also heard the Voice of my Lord loud and clear. My husband and I were part of creating a life that could worship Him for eternity and nothing could take that from us. Regardless of my circumstances, my spirit was drawn to worship Him because He had worked out a faith in me that had confidence in His goodness. I stood firm in His Word over me that He had something else for me to walk in. Our doctor told us to wait at least one cycle before trying again so we did and that very next month we conceived the daughter we have now. And I can’t imagine my life without her. That is my story, and if you have had to endure a miscarriage, I am sure you have your own story. Feel free to share it. It doesn’t need to sound like mine. In fact, I am sure that it won’t. Please be free to share honestly what you felt and experienced just as I have.

We received an email requesting an article about how miscarriage can effect a husband and wife’s sex life. This, too, is something that is influenced in a unique way depending on the couple. Some couples find that it draws them deeper into intimacy. For others it becomes something that developes into a wedge between them. Some couples are required to abstain from sex for physical reasons and some couples find that the emotional wounds result in sexual separation. Some women desire more sex, some women desire less. It can be very scary for both the husband and the wife to begin having sex again as it may be physically or emotionally painful. I want to offer a few things that helped my husband and I through these issues related to our miscarriage.

First, we discussed the physical aspects with our doctor and one another. We determined what was physically safe and made further sexual decisions with that in mind. Some couples are required to abstain for longer periods depending on the circumstances of the miscarriage. Now, having said that, just because a husband and wife are given the go ahead to start having sex again doesn’t mean things resume as they were before without some difficulty. On the other hand, for some women, it is less of a problem and they find themselves drawn to physical intimacy as much as they had before. Whichever category you may fit in, know that both are normal and can be worked through and result in deepening intimacy for you and your husband.

It is important that both the husband and the wife feel safe to share their emotions honestly. It’s also important for them to commit to empathizing with their spouse. A miscarriage can be devistating and part of the grieving will result in becoming very self focused. That is part of the grieving process and shouldn’t be discouraged. In order to grow in intimacy with the Lord and with your husband, though, we can not stay in that place. We must commit to walking through grief and not allowing our pain or regret to keep us stuck in it.

This brings me to the aspect of prayer. Staying connected to your relationship with the Lord through prayer will help so much in the healing process and the growth of a vibrant sex life after a miscarriage. It is through this lifeline with God that you will hear His truth about your situation. His voice is one of healing and will bring unity to you and your husband as you listen together and respond to Him. I look at painful experiences such as miscarriage as an opportunity. I see them as encountering a choice to use it to go deeper in intimacy with my husband and my God or to allow it to become a divisive wedge. This isn’t something I come up with in the moment. It is my over-arching perspective of life and is then put to the test when I am faced with something that is hard to walk in. It doesn’t make my responses perfect every time I encounter something hard, but I keep it as a value and endeavor to live according to it. Each of us is at a different place in our journey with God though so I can not transfer this to everyone’s situation and make a judgement that it should look this way for them. I can only share what has worked in my life. God is faithful and because of my history with Him, I do not shy away from things that will result in a more godly character. I don’t go looking for bad situations, but when I am faced with one, I pursue God for His perspective. After all these years with Him, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

There is no predetermined time frame for grieving. It will look different for each of us and won’t be expressed in a neat little package, but if a husband and wife turn towards one another and become a strength for the other they can often end up moving into a deeper intimacy and richer sex life.

A Discussion: Teaching Our Kids About Sex

I’d like to facilitate a discussion on how we teach our kids to develop a healthy attitude about sex. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What are some good tools we can use to open up communication with our kids? What books have you have found particularly helpful to read for yourself and to read with your kids? What about a movie you have seen that could be used to teach about God’s plan for sex? Ministries that specialize in teaching young people about sex? Are there Bible passages that speak to God’s truth about sex that our kids would benefit from?
  • What is appropriate information at different ages? What about younger kids who have the maturity to handle the information while their peers may not? How do we teach a toddler to view their body positively? How do we teach this to a teenager?
  • What happens when a younger child hears something sexual from an older or more informed child (rightly or wrongly)? Or from TV or a magazine cover? How do we answer these questions? Should we answer every question as it arises or is there a place for saying that you’ll save that discussion for another time?
  • How do we teach our daughters to embrace who God made them and to have a strong and positive body image? As we all know, a grown woman who doesn’t love her body, is less free to allow her husband to enjoy it. How do we balance this with teaching her to dress modestly? How do we teach her to choose well in relationships?
  • How do we teach our sons to control lustful thoughts? What do we teach him to value in the girls he eventually dates and then the one he marries? How do we give him the tools to have self control and remain guarded?
  • What about masturbation? What message do we want to send on that? What are the important points to be sure we communicate? What do we say to those young people who don’t feel compelled to engage in masturbation and what do we say to those who do?
  • How do we express to our kids that sex as God planned is amazing and worth protecting for marriage? How do we teach them to have the integrity to value their purity when the world disregards sexual purity as though it were a plague.
  • What should our overall message be? How do we go beyond “Just don’t do it”?
  • What do we say to a teenager who is in a serious dating relationship? How do we prepare them for all the aspects of that? How do we teach them to be prepared before they are in that moment of passion? What if they are contemplating having sex? What do we say in that case?

I find it so sad that so much of the world’s teaching about sex towards teenagers is that they are going to do it anyway so teach them how to do it right. I’d rather come from the position that I want to teach them how to do it right and well and to know that my kids have the integrity and character to save sex for the right circumstances; that is choosing someone to marry who also has integrity and character who they can experience the full freedom of sex with. We’d never approve of them cutting themselves or abusing their body with drugs (even though that is terribly prevalent), and yet there is this green light to go ahead and have sex as long as they feel ready. It doesn’t make sense.

So please join in and share your thoughts in the comment section on any of these questions and feel free to share questions that you are wondering about as well.

Birth Control Options

A reader recently asked us to address the issue of birth control because it is an important part of a couples sex life. It is my hope to present a non-biased approach to sharing what I have found in my research of different birth control methods. Please discuss these options with your OBGYN to determine which method will be best for you.

My husband and I found that it was very difficult to decide on birth control methods over the years. Nothing seemed to really be perfect and we just made due with the best possible option at the time.

There are a variety of different forms of birth control and so many variables to consider when deciding on the one that is right for you. I wish to overview a variety of popular methods with a description of each one. For more detailed information on these methods you may find these websites helpful:

Please keep the following in mind:

I do not promote or encourage any form of “emergency contraception” as I believe that the moment an egg is fertilized that a life has started. Apart from my moral conviction, I also believe it is very unhealthy to interrupt a pregnancy. Therefore I will not make mention of them in this article. However, keep in mind that most hormonal methods would pose some risk to an embryo if an unexpected pregnancy were to occur.

I am not promoting one of these methods over another. The best idea is to pray about which option is right for you and keep in mind that God may lead you and your husband the change methods over time. God surprised me with some of the things He told me when I prayed about the options so I’m really glad I took the time to ask Him.

Educate yourself extensively on the methods you are considering so that you can make a well informed decision. You can not always go by what other women have experience as our bodies can respond differently to the hormonal methods and we all have different preferences, but do take the time to talk to other women as well, if you can.

Hormonal Methods

Birth Control Pills ~ a pill is taken orally each day (sometimes with the option of skipping the week of your period) which you can get that either contains both estrogen and progesterone or progesterone only and primarily functions to keep a woman from ovulating.

Birth Control Patch ~ works similarly to birth control pills, but a patch is worn on the abdomen, buttocks or upper body rather than taking a pill daily. The patch is changed once a week and kept off the week of menstruation.

Depo-Provera ~ an injection of progestin that prevents ovulation in a similar way to the way progesterone would.

Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD) ~ The Mirena IUD is different from other IUDs because it actually contains a hormone that is highly effective in preventing pregnancy as it blocks sperm from reaching your egg and makes the lining of your uterus thin (this may also result in benefits like less menstrual bleeding over time). Unlike other IUDs, this device is not primarily intended to keep a fertilized egg from implanting. For more details about Mirena, you can visit their website.

NuvaRing ~ it is inserted once a month for a three week duration. It contains estrogen and progestin which will result in preventing the ovaries from developing mature eggs. For more details about NuvaRing, you can visit their website.

Implants ~ no longer available. If you are currently using this method, you will need to consider your other options once it expires.

Barrier Methods

Male or Female Condom (option of adding spermicide for increased effectiveness) ~ a sheath is placed over the penis or in the vagina to contain the ejaculate and prevent sperm from remaining in the vagina.

Cervical Cap, Shield or Diaphragm (option of adding spermicide for increased effectiveness) ~ a dome-shaped device is used to cover the entrance to the cervix. Most of these methods require that the device be inserted hours before intercourse and remain in place for hours afterwards.

Contraceptive Sponge ~ the Today Sponge is primarily a barrier method, but also contains a spermicide.

Natural Methods

Fertility Awareness Method ~ charting your basal body temperature, cervical fluid and position of cervix, and typical menstrual cycling in order to prevent or encourage pregnancy. Abstinence or a barrier method is used on fertile days. A great reference for this method can be found in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

Withdrawal ~ the man withdraws his penis just before ejaculating. Be aware that the pre-ejaculate liquid can contain semen and there can be a higher risk of failure in using this method, especially if the man is not fully committed to the method or if he is not well aware of his sexual function. i.e. he doesn’t know when he is about to ejaculate.

Breastfeeding ~ exclusive breastfeeding can help to prevent pregnancy if the baby is not receiving any formula and feeds every few hours, but does pose a higher risk of failure as some women will begin ovulating after only a few months even with exclusive breastfeeding. Thoroughly research and understand this method if you wish to incorporate it. You can also combine breastfeeding with the mini pill which contains progestin only.

No effort made to prevent pregnancy ~ continuing with usual sexual involvement without any attempt to avert conception.

Total Abstinence ~ refraining from intercourse completely (not a method I recommend in marriage under normal circumstances).

Permanent Methods

Vasectomy (Male sterilization) ~ Cutting, tying or sealing the vas in a male’s testicles so that sperm can not transfer through the penis with the ejaculate.

Tubal Ligation (Female sterilization) ~ Severing and sealing a woman’s fallopian tube so that the egg and sperm can not meet, thereby preventing conception.

Essure System (Female sterilization) ~ a metallic implant is inserted in the woman’s fallopian tube resulting in scarring that blocks the tube, again, preventing conception.

Enjoying Sex During Pregnancy

Sugar & Spice wrote a great article on embracing that beautiful belly and your sexy self while you are pregnant, so I wanted to offer you some information on the physical side of enjoying your sex life while pregnant.

I really loved being pregnant and found that I felt sexy during those seasons. It was probably the season I had the highest drive, although it did come and go a bit, before I had my awakening. It helped that my husband adored my pregnant body as well. However, pregnancy is met with a lot of questions about how to incorporate your sex life into your changing body.

Is it safe to have sex while pregnant? Will it hurt the baby? What positions work in each trimester? Normally we enjoy breast play so when will my breasts stop hurting so we can enjoy that again? How do I feel sexy when I feel sick all the time? Why is my libido so low? How can I please my husband sexually and maintain a good attitude about it when I feel so tired?

As with every other issue surrounding marriage and sex, good communication and an attitude of generosity will help both you and your husband to ride the waves that come in and out over the 40 weeks of pregnancy. Talk about your expectations and feelings. If your once C cup breasts are now a DD and your husband wants to enjoy them, but it is painful for you, tell him. Tell him that they are sore now, but they won’t always be. The tenderness will subside, but the fullness will stick around. As long as he knows that he can not touch them, consider doing a little strip show for him to enjoy followed by intercourse that is comfortable for you.

If you are concerned about whether sex would be harmful at all to the safety of the pregnancy, the information I repeatedly received from my obstetrician and all the other research I did on my own was that unless your doctor has given you instructions to refrain from engaging in sexual intercourse because of a high risk pregnancy, there is no reason to abstain while you are pregnant. In fact in those last weeks of pregnancy sex may help to induce a pregnancy that you are eager to be over with, though I never had any success with it, and not for lack of trying believe me. My husband and I said we were getting our last bit of sex in as much as we could before we would have to refrain during the postpartum period.

The reason why sex may induce labor is that semen contains a hormone called prostaglandin and it works to help dilate and thin your cervix. As well, nipple stimulation releases the hormone oxytocin which causes the uterus to contract. Once you have your baby and you are nursing this will aid in causing your uterus to return to its proper, non-pregnant size more quickly. Isn’t God brilliant the way he designed our bodies!!!

Once your belly is getting bigger, you may find that certain positions you have enjoyed in the past become harder to do successfully, but we found that nearly all of them can be altered slightly to allow room for the baby. The bigger issue is that as your baby gets bigger it will affect the usual position of your cervix and the angle of the penetration may change and be uncomfortable. It’s a little bit of trial and error in learning which positions are going to work for you. Woman on top can be used pretty much as you always use it and we found that scissors or spooning could be used with quite a bit of success. We didn’t use the missionary position once I was large enough that the weight of the baby pushed on my lungs when I was lying on my back, making it difficult to breathe and causing me to become light headed. However, thinking about it now, if there was a way to prop me up more and maybe have my husband enter me from standing beside the bed that might have worked well, but I was less creative then.

It can be hard to balance a pregnant woman’s fatigue, discomfort and pregnancy sickness with a husband’s drive that has not changed at all. Again here, communication and a generous attitude is the key. Your husband will still want and need to have sexual release with you and both of you are going to need to talk about your expectations and serve each other as best you can. I urge you not to allow pregnancy to become an excuse not to have sex with your husband as I also urge your husbands to extend grace to you as your body deals with housing the creation of a human being. This season will require a lot of give and take. That is why God put families together as he did.

Often the second trimester is a great time to enjoy sex with your husband. For most people, pregnancy sickness has passed and you are feeling good about yourself. Not to mention the benefit of a really great orgasm to your psyche. This is the time to plan a romantic getaway together if you can and focus on connecting as a couple.

Before you know it your sweet baby will be here and this time will be behind you. Enjoy it as much as you can. Get lots of support from whomever you can. Don’t allow the negative people around you to effect your mood. I pray that all of you pregnant Christian nymphos will have a blessed and meaningful pregnancy.

Q: How do I make myself feel sexy again with a growing belly?

(This article was inspired by a question left on an article previously written by Spicy Nutmeg.)

Pregnancy is full of bumps. I remember morning sickness… except for me it was 24/7 sickness for the first four months. I remember the excitement of feeling the first tiny movement which soon escalates into feeling like my child was going to be the next professional soccer star. I remember feeling like I could never get enough sleep and then when 9:00 pm hit, I wanted to deep clean the house, fold four loads of laundry and make a gourmet dessert… all at once! No matter what your story may be, one prominent bump that all of us women have in common during pregnancy is that baby bump! We have to buy new clothes to accommodate it. Things that we took for granted like seat-belts, booths in restaurants and picking things up off the floor all of a sudden feel somewhat foreign. There are so many situations for us and our husbands to adapt to and sex and feeling sexy is not excluded from the list.

The first thing that I would suggest is to embrace that changing body of yours. I loved my pregnant belly. The bigger it got, the more I liked it! It more than likely had to do with the bundle inside, but it was also a time when my tummy was hard without having to do aerobics five times a week, run a couple miles, lift weights and diet to get it that way! Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean that you can’t be fashionable. Maternity clothes have grown strides in the recent past. In any price range that you can afford, there are cute things for you to wear. One of the best things that I purchased during my last pregnancy was a mix-n-match 5 piece outfit for $100. It had pants, two shirts and two skirts all in neutral colors for the basic wardrobe. It was a life saver!

And now that I’m done having kids, I’ve discovered that manufacturers are making maternity lingerie! And I’m not just talking panties and nursing bras, but the sexy stuff. Buy some! And if you don’t want to fork out the cash on maternity lingerie, then I’d suggest buying the fly-away baby doll type of lingerie which would leave ample room for a growing belly. Also, make sure you keep up with your beauty routines or pamper yourself from time to time. Some spas give special maternity massages, and even if you can’t find one that does so, you can still relax by getting your nails done, a pedicure or getting a long scalp massage the next time you’re getting a shampoo during a hair cut.

Along with hormone fluctuations and different degrees of fatigue, take advantage of the times when you do feel as if you have a lot of energy. As I mentioned before, my big bouts of energy always came in the late evening, so whenever yours arrive, do your best to take some alone time with your husband. You may need to experiment with different positions during pregnancy to find something that’s more comfortable. The “woman on top” position was always great for us. Sit up and allow your husband to familiarize himself with your growing belly and breasts during sex.

It also helped immensely that my husband was not shy about telling me how much he adored my pregnant form. So… guys who read this blog… pay attention! Your wife may need some extra encouragement during this time in her life and you can play a key role in helping her feel beautiful and sexy while she is pregnant. Encourage her through touch and verbal affirmations. Or, give her a special “Mommy to be” gift by setting aside a time where she can focus on herself rather than the upcoming changes that you’ll both be facing.

In the grand scheme of things, gestation really doesn’t last that long, but it can be life altering, even if some of the situations we encounter are temporary. God honored us by giving us charge over our unborn children, so remember to treat yourself like the privileged vessel that you are.

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