When Fertility Gets in the Way of Pleasure
Four Tips for Conception-Friendly (and Fun) Sex
Now that you have stopped using birth control and want to conceive, lo and behold, it is sometimes not nearly as easy as you were taught in high school health class. It may take a year or more of unprotected sex to conceive. And it may take longer for second and third pregnancies than the first. By month four the excitement has waned and the stress and challenges to conceive have taken over your libido and your sexual pleasure. How do you reclaim the pleasures of sex?
Letting Go of the Goal:
The Stress of Performance
Stress and orgasm are not happy bedfellows for men or women. Stress takes away blood flow to our erectile tissues, which means that we don’t get erect, lubricate, or orgasm as easily, if at all. Research has demonstrated that the couples who drop their expectations to conceive are actually more likely to get pregnant. How often have you heard of people who have given up after years of trying only to get pregnant shortly thereafter?
Focus on being present to your connection with each other. Try looking into each other’s eyes and breathing together in tandem or in alternating rhythms. This is a great way to connect, refocus away from the pressure and get the fires burning. Alternatively, start with a massage or sharing a bath together. Another option is for each of you to state one quality that you find hot about the other, one activity you would like during this lovemaking time, and what kind of connection you would like. Do your best to focus on the connection between the two of you rather than the goal of the baby. Enjoy the journey!
Make sure that you have a lubricant that works with you and not against you. Many women naturally need a little extra slipperiness and the stress of trying to conceive can dry up our natural lubrication even further, so some extra lube can help us feel the pleasure we want to have. The problem is that many lubes are not fertility-friendly: their ph is not compatible to that of sperm and some ingredients are even toxic to them. This is not to say that these lubes are contraceptives, but if you are not conceiving immediately, you want to make sure that the lubricant is not making it harder for those swimmers to get where they want to go. Pre-Seed is one brand that is designed specifically to be sperm- and thus conception-friendly.
Sex Should Not be a Chore
Spicing it up is important whether you are trying to conceive or not. When you are on a timetable rather than a more spontaneous path, planning becomes important. While many think that planning takes away the fun, it actually helps ensure that we get the pleasure that we want which is something we can all support! Think ahead of time about what might be fun to explore on the next round. Discuss with your partner what will help to get both of you more aroused or to bring increased enjoyment and energy to both of you. This may involve role play, erotic massage, couple’s yoga, using sex toys, erotica or a little bondage to enhance your love making. There is some evidence that when women orgasm they are more likely to conceive, so you want to do your best to focus on the kinds of pleasure that get her there, which may not be intercourse. Of course it is helpful for men to ejaculate as well! Use this as a time to make sex more exciting and to communicate your needs and fantasies. After all, once (another) baby comes, the challenges of connecting and finding time for sex usually increase, so enjoy it while you can!
Connect More Often
Connecting more than just at one time of the month makes a sexual connection feel less awkward and more natural. Try to spend time touching, kissing, snuggling throughout the whole month to generate an erotic connection that feels more than about just ”baby-making”. Send text or email messages to your partner when you are apart that highlights what you find sexy, attractive, and irresistible about them. And when you know that it is the right time of the month, try to spice up the message from “I’m ovulating” to something more suggestive or seductive such as “I have some fun plans for us tonight…”
Remember, sex does not have to be boring and routine when you are trying to conceive! However you decide to enhance and rediscover your sexual play, don’t lose sight of the importance of your erotic connection over your goals of conceiving. Take the time you need to nurture each other to keep your relationship strong and healthy and connected emotionally and sexually. Learn how to manage your stress of conceiving by being in the moment. This is good practice for the challenges you may encounter once baby arrives. Practice your skills to get yourselves on the right track today!
Carlyle Jansen is the founder of Good For Her, a sexuality s hop and workshop centre in Toronto. If you hae questions or comments she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or go online to goodforher.com