Q: Is it possible to have a healthy open relationship once a baby enters the picture? My boyfriend and I are newly pregnant, and elated about it. Prior to this, we’d been talking about trying non-monogamy. Now that I’m knocked up, I’m not so hot on the idea, while he seems to be hotter than ever on it. Our sex life has suffered a lot in the past year of trying to conceive, and now it’s virtually nonexistent. He’s got a very high libido, higher than mine, and also issues with severely delayed ejaculation, which he attributes to a lack of sensation in his penis, post-circumcision. So basically he’s horny nearly all of the time, because he so rarely fully gets off. (I’ve tried my best to help, believe me!) He masturbates regularly and has quite the collection of tools and toys, and he swears sex with others would simply be like going to the gym; he just needs more quantity and variety. I empathize with his continuing sexual frustration, but I’m scared of having him jump in bed with other women right now. I want his full attention and adoration now more than ever. Am I being an old-fashioned prude?
A: You’re not being a prude. Your sex life was already on shaky ground before you got pregnant, and now things have only gotten worse. You’re also particularly vulnerable right now. Your hormones are all over the board —you might cackle like a hyena at a yogurt commercial then explode into tears at the realization that you do not currently have any yogurt of your own. Those hormonal fluctuations tend to mellow out halfway through term, but you’ve still got random fatigue and blood-sugar nosedives to screw up your days.
If you haven’t noticed a shift in your libido yet, hold on. Some women don’t like to be touched throughout their pregnancy, but many just can’t get banged enough. The sting of being repeatedly rejected by your boyfriend and his wandering eye is going to hurt a lot more if you’re hormonal and hot to trot.
It’s not unusual for men to avoid sex with their pregnant partners. Often they’re afraid they’re going to somehow injure you or the baby. Sometimes they don’t like the idea of an audience, even though a fetus is incapable of comprehending the situation. Some guys only see their partners as maternal figures during pregnancy, while others are simply turned off at the bodily changes and would just rather not mess with it. Heck, I’m a little weirded out by pregnant chicks and I’m a female writing about reproductive organs. Kind of like the notion that space is infinite, the phenomenon of reproduction is so inherently simple that it’s mind-blowing. Getting off equals baby? Whoa.
Your man, however, is blaming a decreased interest in sex with you on a physical condition. I get it; circumcised men can have decreased sensitivity and a greater difficulty reaching orgasm. It’s a physiological problem, not a psychological one, right? His solution is not to change the frequency or method of stimulation but to expand variety solely in the vagina department. The gaping hole in his logic (sorry, bad pun) is that changing partners is not going to change his physical condition. The fact is that you planted the seed about an open relationship and your boyfriend still wants to bring it to fruition. He’s fantasizing about a carte blanche weekend in Miami while you’re eyeing three-bedrooms in a better school district.
You two have to get on the same page before baby comes, because adding this argument to the stress of parenthood has the potential to rip your new family apart. Sex with other people is off the table until baby routines are established, you no longer cry at commercials and you’ve taken back possession of your body. Until then, you’re 100 percent there for each other, because you’re in this thing together.