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    Pregnant Passions: Keep Intimacy Alive

    If pregnancy has caused you and your partner to lose that lovin' feeling, don't despair; reviving intimacy may be easier than you think.

    When Momma Is Hot and Daddy Is Not continued...

    And, in fact, many experts agree that part of what can keep intimacy alive is for both partners to continue the sexual bond they previously established, and to try to continue to satisfy each other's physical needs as they arise.

    "For the man, this might mean giving her that sensuous foot rub -- and not going above the ankles if that's what she wants at the moment; for the woman it may mean recognizing her partner's need for orgasm and helping him achieve that in whatever way she can manage to do so -- even if it does not involve intercourse," says Sugrue.

    It's not about forcing yourself to do what you don't want to do, he says, it's about honoring the needs of someone you love to the best of your ability.

    Perhaps most important, is the recognition that coupling is also about partnership -- and realizing a good partnership has many components that need to be honored to keep intimacy alive.

    "Somehow our culture is not teaching us that marriage is more than just a romantic liaison, and not emphasizing the life-partnership aspect. Because in truth, when you build a life with someone, there are many equally important components that go into the mix," says Lauren Howard, CSW, a psychotherapist in private practice in New York.

    At the end of the day, Howard says keeping the intimacy alive is all about compromising, without losing yourself. "You don't want to give more than you can afford, but you better be giving something to each other, says Howard.

    7 Ways To Keep Intimacy in Your Pregnancy

    To help keep the romance and the intimacy in your relationship, our experts offer these additional suggestions for pregnancy -- and beyond!

    1. Don't take each other -- or sex -- for granted.
      " When you first start dating there isn't the expectation that sex is going to be there every time -- only hopes -- so you treat the person in a way to make those hopes come true," says Shapiro. As in dating, so should it go in pregnancy, he says, and treat your partner accordingly.

    2. Revive the art of flirting.
      "Marriage is multitasking -- as the marriage builds and practical issues of life come up you tend to let go of the things that started the whole thing -- the flattery, the courtship, the flirting," says Howard. To keep intimacy alive, she says, revive all the things you did to win each other over before marriage -- and flirt with each other like mad!

    3. Have a "date night" at least once a week -- with no talk of painting the nursery or what to name the baby.
      "Couples must carve out a time for being together that focuses exclusively on each other, something which is important to continue to do after baby is born," says Lusskin.

    4. Add some mystery to your relationship and surprise your partner now and again.
      "Introduce your partner to something they didn't know anything about -- or didn't know you knew anything about. Or just do something that he or she might not expect -- like renting an erotic movie, or arranging a candlelit bath together. Choose something that is pleasurable to you both, and make it a surprise," says Howard.

    5. For Men: Court your pregnant wife!
      "Treat her with the same kind of sensitivity you had when you first started to date. It's not going to make a big difference for you, but it's going to make a huge difference for her, and help you both to stay close," says Shapiro.

    6. For Women: Keep him a part of your pregnancy.
      "Despite the fact that your best girlfriend or your mom may be more fun to talk to right now, it's important to share what's going on with the pregnancy with your partner," says Lusskin. Bring him to your doctor's appointments, have him view the ultrasound, and if there is a medical reason why you can't have intercourse, consider bringing your doctor into the situation to help explain to your partner what is going on and why.

    7. For both of you: Remain proactive about keeping intimacy alive.
      "Don't let your relationship slide, even a little bit; if you feel the closeness slipping away do something about it -- if you have something of value, you want to take good care of it -and each other," says Sugrue.

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    Reviewed on March 14, 2007

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