Shannon Cook, a journalist for CNN, recently re-watched footage of an Annie Lenox interview she conducted while pregnant—super pregnant. Re-visiting the clip didn't make the journalist shudder at the memory of waddling into a studio at 5 a.m. while in her third trimester. What it did make her think of was something that happened later, at the grocery store. As she stood in the vegetable aisle, massively pregnant and feeling up some avocados, a man seemed to...hit on her?
A man was attracted to her. Because she was pregnant.
I wasn't sure whether to start lobbing bell peppers and radishes at the guy, or just accept the chatter as that kindness from strangers only pregnancy evokes. My instincts told me there was more to it and when pregnant, your instincts are pretty darn noisy.
There was something behind his charming smile, his lingering and the urgent look in his eyes. This dude thought I was hot. But how could he? I mean, I looked like an upright hippopotamus. Was he merely homing in on the obviousness of my fertility? Did he have a thing for maternity jeans? How is it possible that when your pregnant self feels your stretched-out worst, you're able to attract random-dude-in-Tom-Ford in the fruit and veggie aisle?
Cook goes on to tackle the topic of preggo-chasers, talking to sex educators who tell her the whole thing is pretty normal — pregnant women are confident! They glow! What's not to love? And she chats with a neuropsychiatrist who suggests maybe men hit on pregnant women because they feel safe; they can flirt with you without fear of it leading somewhere since they assume you are taken. It's either that, the neuropsychologist says, or the fact that you are a walking billboard for fertility, advertising the fact that had sex that one time. (According to a pregnant friend, you are also a walking billboard for mood-swings and leakage, but whatevs.)
Cook entertains that a pregnancy fetish might be explained by the fetishist remembering Mom being pregnant, and she cites the results of 2011 questionnaire/study that found lactating/pregnancy fetishes are more common in older siblings. (Sounds like a bit of a stretch, but watch out for those Duggar boys.)
Yet for all the theorizing, the author didn't just ASK pregnancy fetishists what is so hot about baby-bumps. So we did.
"Ben," a 42-year-old veteran of the kink scene, admits that he is attracted to ladies with pregnant bellies. Why? He broke it down for us, bullet-points and all, over email:
- First, it's wrong. Pregnant women are meant to be mothers in training, chaste and committed to motherhood. So for them to be explicitly sexual is hot. It is dirty.
- Second, we know that being pregnant can sometimes bring a period of increased sexual interest, physically. And there is nothing we fetishists like more than an uncontrollably horny person.
- Third, being pregnant is a sign that you are taken- a pretty powerful one. If she is pregnant it represents HIS commitment, making her even more desirable. I don't like cheating. But I love people who are desirable to many people. This is something a lot of fetishists play with.
- Fourth, this is something I enjoyed with my ex wife, a pregnant woman's body changes often.
And it isn't just men. "Lea" is a 24-year-old with a pregnancy fetish. "She is fertile and has successfully created life. As a lesbian, I have the choice to become pregnant. This makes us, women, god like, powerful, rulers of life," she says. "That is sexy." And seriously, while it is sometimes downplayed in art and literature, giving birth is the human experience. Like by default. So maybe we can see where that might be worthy of some sort of worship, sexual or otherwise.
But the world of pregnancy fetish is also huge. There are breeding fetishes (basically where you role play during sex that said sex is going to knock you up — bonus fetish points if this is with someone is not your primary partner), lactation and milking fetishes (and let's remember that you don't necessarily need to be pregnant in order to lactate). There's also role-playing for pretending you're pregnant, male pregnancies, forced impregnation fantasies, gang-bang impregnation fantasies...
Okay, I'll stop. Maybe for some folks the turn-on really is just the glow. Really! I didn't mean to freak you out, Shannon Cook. I am sure that dude who was into your avocados was perfectly innocent.