Dealing with the First Trimester Blues

As the first trimester comes to a close it’s sex: 0, pregnancy: 1.

The first trimester hasn’t been conducive to getting it on. There’s the wooziness in the morning that makes her have to jump out of bed and eat something, stat! And then there’s the fatigue in the evening, and sometimes the lingering headaches, and the digestive issues, none of which make her feel particularly sexy or interested in sex. Because she’s become super sensitive to smells and tastes she doesn’t want to kiss or fool around, and her overheated temperature means hands off! All in all pregnancy has waged a pretty steady assault on her libido.

For the most part we’ve taken this in stride, but this past weekend some tension flared. On Saturday night, I was heading out with some friends for drinks. My wife decided to stay home, mostly because the outing didn’t start until ten, by which point she planned on being asleep. “Go out, have fun,” she told me while we made dinner. “Have anal sex in the bathroom for all I care. Take care of your needs.”

“Wow,” I said in mock amazement. “Anal sex in a bar bathroom? Two fantasies taken care of in one night.”

We laughed, but later, while we were watching TV, she scooted up next to me, her eyes wide and dewy. “Don’t cheat on me, ok?”

“Uh… we were just joking before, right?”

But they say a little grain of truth lies at the heart of most jokes, and under this exchange was real guilt – she wishes she were feeling more sexual – and a real fear that I would stray. It’s not like we’re the most libidinous couple in the world, but we find that if we’ve had a stressful or busy week and haven’t found time for sex then we get snappy with one another. Sex helps ground us, it strengthens our sense of connection, it helps us get along, it makes us happy. So abstinence has been an adjustment.

I’ve coped in different ways. First, there’s been the sublimation method. Last week, for example, I threw myself into my school work and got a lot of material written for my next submission to my writing workshop. But honestly, most of the time I take care of my urges by getting back in touch with myself, if you get my drift. It’s been an opportunity for me to spend some quality time with me, to re-find the romance and ritual I felt as a teenager, when masturbation was new and exciting. I guess it’s like going back to an old lover – familiar and comfortable, but with distance and time giving the perspective to notice and appreciate new dimensions to the relationship.

I also wonder if the hormones at work in her body don’t also contribute to her feelings of guilt, because it’s popped up in other ways too. On Thursday night, she was talking to her mom while I prepared dinner. I heard her telling her mom what we were doing for Halloween. “We’re going to stay in, give out candy, and watch some scary movie – Friday the 13th, or no, Halloween.”

I stopped chopping onions and shot her an annoyed look. “Nightmare on Elm Street,” I whispered at her.

“Mom, I gotta go, I gotta go. I don’t know, I just screwed something up,” she said with a nervous edge to her voice.

“What’s wrong sweetie?” I asked after she hung up the phone. “I don’t really care if you can’t remember the name of the movie.”

“You’re not mad at me?”

I shook my head no and she burst into tears. “I know you told me the name of the movie a million times, and I know you hate it when I can’t remember things, and I keep forgetting things cause I’ve got so much on my mind, and I’m just standing there talking to my mom while you’re making dinner and you’re doing everything around here and I’m not doing anything because I’m so tired,” she started rambling on. I put the knife down and gave her a hug.

“Shhh, shhh,” I whispered, realizing that she wasn’t just upset because I played a mean trick on her. Then she told me I can’t joke around and pretend I’m mad at people when we have a kid because it’s not fair.

Besides that slip, I’ve been trying my best to encourage her and be positive. I think her biggest priority right now is to stay healthy and not push herself, even though that means not doing a lot of the things that she normally does, which makes her feel bad. But it’s just where she is right now.

In the past week, slowly but surely, we’ve noticed a slackening in first-trimester symptoms. She wants to be touched more – cuddling is back on, and we’re back to sleeping side-by-side in the same sheets. And over the weekend we even had one hot little moment of making out. I’m excited by the changes in her body and in need of touching, but I keep telling her that it’s not that bad. I can wait. I guess it’s a sign of adulthood, or maybe of changing priorities now that there’s a kid on the way, but I know that we’ll eventually have sexy time again. Of course I hope it comes soon (hee hee), but I’m much more concerned with her feeling healthy and the baby developing normally then I am with orgasms.

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