We grow up with this idea that having a child is our given right and our choice. We also grow up discussing how NOT to get pregnant that what happens if you have trouble or cannot conceive naturally is not even remotely mentioned. We grow up unprepared for what it means to have trouble conceiving or not being able to carry a pregnancy to term.
There are many things I want to and will write about infertility but the focus on this piece is specifically sex after infertility. When a couple struggles conceiving something that was thought to be their right, their choice, their decision, suddenly becomes out of their control and scientific in nature. Whether a couple seeks medical treatment or just keeps trying on their own, one or both partners will most likely Google how to best conceive. They will learn about female reproductive cycle and menstruation to degrees they can not believe they did not know before. They will learn about ovulation and that there is only a small time from in which to conceive every month. They will learn about the physical indications of ovulation such as cervical fluid, cervix position and basal body temperature. They will learn having your partner ejaculate inside of you while the on top is not as preferred because gravity will make it harder on the sperm to reach the egg. They will learn that laying still for around 30 minutes after intercourse with hips elevated may increase your chance of conceiving. They will learn about ovulation tests that can help tell a woman if she is about to be release an egg but it comes with a hefty financial cost.
The other thing they will learn is how sex becomes unsexy. It becomes mechanical and timed. These couples will learn it needs to happen whether you are in the mood or not. They will most likely stop having any intercourse outside of that window as well. The female may start seeing their partner as something needed to make a child rather than their partner, while the male usually begins feeling used and unsatisfied. The sex is now timed and rehearsed and there is an err of anxiousness in the air that is palpable. This continues month after month. This does not even include how sex and individual self identities and images are affected when medical interventions are utilized or what happens to the relationship if there are multiple months of negative pregnancy tests or worse yet losses.
The reason I paint this picture for you instead of just getting right into how to help with sex after infertility is for anyone that has had the blessing of not dealing with infertility; I want you to get an idea of what it is like for couples who, either after successfully having a child or deciding to stop trying, want to go back to their sex life before the infertility. You can hopefully understand why this is difficult to do.
First and foremost, partners do need to address the issues that infertility left them with such as depression, anxiety, or any emotional or mental triggers the whole experience contributed to. It is hard to reconnect if you feel you are dealing with these. Going to a therapist to talk about this all and process everything will help. If you cannot afford a therapist, joining groups online for support with infertility may help. You can also apply this in conjunction with whatever support resource you’re using. Talking to others who have experienced this can be beneficial.
Next is to try to reconnect intimately and spiritually will help. This actually begins outside the bedroom. Going on date nights where you do something out of your normal and that revs up the adrenaline will help. The increase in adrenaline and rush activates similar hormones that increase libido and arousal.
Touching a lot that is not for the purpose of sex will help ignite the intimacy that became scientific based. Getting as comfortable as possible and touching each other including genital area but not for the purpose sex but for the purpose of pleasure will aid getting back on track.
When you are intimate slow it down. Put music on, have foreplay last a lot longer, focus on pleasure rather rushing to have the male partner orgasm which is what the main goal was when trying to conceive. Focus on the female pleasure.
I also want you to do whatever you need to do to feel like a sexual being again and not a dehumanized lab rat like many feel like when having trouble conceiving. If working out, changing your hair color, wearing sexy lingerie again or whatever it is that makes you feel sexy and good about yourself, I implore you to that.
There are many other things that each individual in the couple and the couple can do to regain their intimacy after infertility. These are some starting off points. If you would like to book a session please let me know and I can work specifically and uniquely to honor your experience and infertility story.