Of course, there had to be a chapter on sex. As I wrote earlier, sex is central to this whole baby thing. However, sex doesn't necessarily end now that the goal of sex--conception--has been achieved. That is to say, sex itself might end, but the male drive for sex probably doesn't.
  A lot of people seem to think that just about everyone stops having sex for at least the last three months of pregnancy. There are a ton of books and articles discussing how to have sex while the woman is pregnant: what positions to use, how to minimize discomfort, and--naturally--alternatives to sex in case none of the above works out. Often, these articles suggest cuddling.
  Allow me to explain something to you: Cuddling doesn't cut it. It is in no wise a replacement for sex. Cuddling can and often is involved in sex, and sex is often involved in cuddling, but the one is not an alternative to the other. Who writes these articles and books I can't imagine.
  It's apparent from the profusion of writing on the subject that many couples find sex problematic. Certainly, other couples we spoke to as we progressed in our pregnancy expressed displeasure. One couple we know didn't have sex for the last five months of their pregnancy, and then didn't have sex for another three months following the birth. No wonder he was so darn cranky.
  But sex during pregnancy is a good thing. For one thing, the contractions apparently seem to soothe the baby. Also, semen contains chemicals called prostaglandins which help to soften the cervix and prepare it for the baby's delivery. Artificial prostaglandins, in fact, are used sometimes to help ripen a woman's cervix if she's in labor but not dilating fast enough. And I read that in some aboriginal cultures, when the woman's labor is long and difficult, her husband will actually have sex with her while she's in labor to speed it along.
  I found this immeasurably useful information, because it meant that sex was now a duty I could perform to help the pregnancy along. It also meant I could say things like, ``Hey, babe, how about a hot prostaglandin injection?''
  Stimulating the nipples seems to be good, too. This helps with uterine contractions, and can also help prepare the nipples for breastfeeding. This was also good news, because now I could say, ``Hey, babe, how about some nippicular stimulation and a hot prostaglandin injection?''
  Our Bradley instructor told us about how she had lost all of her appetite for sex, but when her daughter was ten days overdue, she finally gave in. ``Let's have sex!'' she cried, ``Let's get this baby out!'' She went into labor that night.
  Other couples reported a loss of sexual drive as well. Some things I've read also cite a lack of drive in the male, because he finds his wife unattractive. Perhaps the women also find themselves unattractive, and certainly the size of a pregnant belly introduces logistical problems into the act.
  But it's important to note that not everyone has this problem. Some people have the opposite problem, namely that the woman's sex drive is actually increased. I have read no articles on this problem, I have seen no chapters in books on this trouble. I have heard no doctors discuss it and seen no public broadcasting shows devoted to it. But it happens. I know, because it happened to us.
  We had to sit in Bradley class as one couple or another would complain that one half or the other of them had lost interest in sex. We had to read through the sections in the pregnancy manuals about how to work around having sex. We had to hear from friends and family about their sexual difficulties. And all the time we had to wonder why we were so strange.
  Dawn's mother even mentioned it to us. During our ninth month, she said, ``If you're still having sex now, honey, you're doing great.''
  ``Just keep saying to yourself,'' I instructed Dawn, `` `I am not having this conversation. I am not having this conversation.' ''
  We rather hate to admit it, but we had sex all the way through, right up until the end. And we really didn't have a problem.
  What's wrong with us?
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