June, 1997 column

I find my wife's pregnant body beautiful and very sexy, but she usually feels fat and unattractive. How can I make her feel better and convey my ongoing attraction for her so that we can still have a great sex life?

The challenge is to make your wife see herself through your eyes. You'll have to seduce her, again and again -- until she really believes that she looks beautiful to you. One compliment won't do it. Set up a campaign to convince her of your feelings.
Start by setting aside some romantic evenings. Dress up, and take her out to dinner. Think of some new ways to show her you love being with her: go on walks together; make a fire and have a picnic in front of it; or rent a favorite romantic movie.
Begin sex with a lot of intimacy and admiration. Try more foreplay to help get her in the mood. Give her a massage to make her feel relaxed and desireable. Tell her exactly what it is that turns you on. Is it the quality of her skin? Her breasts? The look in her eyes when you touch her? Or the way she kisses you?
Remind her at other times, with little spontaneous acts of desire and intimate touches. Stroke her arm when she passes, kiss her when the thought occurs to you, pull her close to you when you can. If you keep making her feel desired during the day and outside of the bedroom, she will believe that you find her alluring. If you come to her only in bed, she may feel it is more need than desire.
The change in a pregnant woman's body sometimes seems so extreme to her that she may close down sexually. She might even get upset with your approaches and want to be left alone. Don't force the issue when you meet real resistance. Give her some space to consider that you really want and need her. If she says she just can't get into it, you'll have to back off for a while. But tell her how you feel: you know, and she should know, that it's important for both of you to maintain some sort of intimacy during this period.
Your continuing support will likely renew your wife's sexual interest and help her feel good about herself throughout as well as after preganancy. The romantic mood will not only help your sex life but also bring the two of you closer as you start this next phase of your marriage.

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