Karl is an IT-consultant and Rita is a teacher. They live in Lagos.
Karl and Rita have had a happy married life for five years. 'Amongst our circle of friends and family, Karl and I are known as "the couple to be." And it’s pretty true. We love each other more and more each day and I couldn’t imagine having a better partner. We share every aspect of life and making love is one of the most important ways in which we express our feelings for one another,' says Rita.
Pregnancy seemed like the ultimate celebration of their love. Nothing could bring them closer than having a baby together! Karl was prepared for everything – the midnight food cravings, the insane mood swings, doctor’s appointments – and he felt he’d planned for all.
They read up on every aspect of being pregnant, researched online, talked to friends and family.
No more sex
But there was one drastic change – they stopped making love. Rita had already gone through two miscarriages and the doctor termed this pregnancy as high-risk. This meant being extra careful with her diet, not being stressed, and not exerting herself. The doctor also advised them to refrain from sex until the first trimester was over. As a precaution, he said it was also best to avoid anal sex or blowing air into the vagina during oral sex.
'The first couple of weeks were easy when it came to not having sex. Besides being scared, we were so excited about getting pregnant and planning for the baby that making love had taken a backseat. But as the feeling of being pregnant settled in, we began missing each other and soon an irritation set in.'
We spent so much energy trying not to get turned on that we ended up thinking about it all the time. Even when the doctor said it was fine for us to have ‘gentle sex’ we just didn’t dare.
'I mean, the baby bump was visible now. And even though I knew it wasn’t possible, I kept imagining that my penis could touch our baby’s head or something!
'We tried making out, just kissing and fondling but as soon as we’d get into the groove, Karl would get a hard-on and then he’d go to the bathroom to masturbate. So I’d feel unsatisfied and I know Karl felt bad, too. It got so uncomfortable that we’d switch off the TV if there were a steamy scene on screen.
'Something we enjoyed so much suddenly became difficult to talk about. We were happy but this underlying frustration of not making love was making us drift apart. No more naughty teasing, whispering sexually explicit scenarios into each other’s ears or post-sex cuddles!' says Rita.
Feeling pleasure again
Rita shared her intimacy problems with her sister. She said 'Take it slow. Start with giving him oral sex and he can pleasure you by using his hands and fingers. Plan how you’ll pleasure each other once the baby comes. Go out on dates, cuddle in bed, essentially do things you might not get time for once the baby arrives.'
Karl confides, 'We took her advice and ran with it. Pleasuring each other was safe and satisfying and after a few weeks, we were confident enough to make love, gentle and slow. It was amazing! Instead of rushing through and being wild we were feeling and enjoying every movement. It was one of our best sexual experiences ever! All the problems of the last few months just melted away. We were back to being our old selves. And now I joke with Rita that she should stay pregnant for longer!