No daily subject matter was omitted in the images of shunga, so pregnant women having sex with their spouses should not be missing from the artist’s idiom. The woman depicted during their pregnancy attract attention not only by their swollen belly but also by a piece of clothing called haramaki (lit. “bellyband”), that was worn around the abdomen.
When shown having sex, pregnant women are frequently on top. The rare depiction of childbirth (mainly late Edo period), were most probably added to demonstrate the consequence of making love but also as hilarious subject matter with a baby (Fig.9) being born during love-making.
Many of these images are realistic depictions and have the same purpose as educational books found today. Clearly, they were not created with any idea of stimulating desire – further evidence that shunga was not created as pornography.
Below you can find some exciting examples…
A samurai making love to his pregnant lover sideways. The sword he is carrying on his back is partly visible.
In this magnificent image a pregnant woman is having intercourse with her husband while sitting on his lap. The man holds on tight to her swollen belly.
In the privacy of their living room a married couple experiences an ecstatic moment.
A pregnant wife, a sash wound her belly, rests on her arms to allow her husband to penetrate her carefully from behind.
During the course of their threesome lovemaking the man is handed a cup of sake by a pregnant participant.
A compelling scene with a pregnant woman taken from behind by her imperturbable lover (look at his ecstatic facial expression !)
A pregnant woman with a voracious sexual appetite (look for the used tissues surrounding them!). Striking is her bent neck which expresses her total ecstasy.
A very unusual abortion scene with a young pregnant woman at the point of giving birth (the tiny forehead already coming out) holding on tightly to an occasional table while being supported by an old woman. Erotic signifiers enhance the scene for example in the visibility of the aged woman’s genitalia adding a lesbian undertone and the stream depicted on the folding screen in the background which evokes woman’s sexuality.
Hilarious design featuring a newborn who is interrupting the sexual activities of his parents.
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