By Jennifer Jay Palumbo
There’s something about years of trying to conceive that can really crap on a person’s libido. I’ve spoken to so many in the “infertility world’ who say after years of contrived and carefully timed sex (i.e. “I’M OVULATING! GET YOUR PANTS OFF!”), their sex drive isn’t just in the slow lane. It’s completely broken down and in an abandoned lot.
When you try to get back into the sexual swing of things, it can be difficult. We all know that when you first met your loved one, you did not have to think about what position your cervix is or what his sperm morphology might be. There was no considering where you were in your cycle, when was the last time your partner ejaculated and if you laid down after sex. It was solely to cuddle and avoid “the wet spot in the bed”.
Sex used to be fun
Now, after so many years of engaging in this kind of regimented sex and in only TTC approved and blessed positions, it’s easy to forget that having sex used to be fun.
No really. Sex was fun at some point. You may want to write that down on a post it to make certain you don’t forget that.
My point? Infertility needs a warning label that says, ‘Prolonged trying-to-conceive sex can cause damage to your intimacy, self-esteem and your relationship’. It’s important to try to reconnect in between IVF cycles and see if you can muster some fun into your relationship but I know that’s easier said than done. When you’ve been trying to get knocked up, sex becomes associated with work and even, well, failure. It sounds insane but to me, whenever I saw a negative pregnancy test, I remember thinking, “All that sex for nothing!”
Maybe the key is to start from scratch. Date each other again. Rediscover each other all over. Take the pressure off and simply enjoy each other’s company.
Here are some suggestions (but feel free to brainstorm any of your own too!)
Fertility Free Nights
Anything related to ovulation, cervical mucus, hormone injections are all off limits. Even if you must write a list of the many other subjects you can discuss beforehand to help, do it. Work, movies, your friends, TikTok, flowers, kittens, rainbows, etc. There is so much in the world not related to your ovaries!
Delete Every TTC Piece of Advice from your Memory
We’ve all read what they say on the fertility chat boards. Eat pineapple core while performing a handstand after downing cough syrup while saying a prayer to Aphrodite. But really, for one night, none of that matters. Delete it from your memory and just have fun.
If you go on Amazon and search, “Romantic Games for Couples”, you’ll find a whole world of ideas, suggestions and board games where you do more than roll the dice. If you need new ideas to suggest or add to your repertoire, talk to your partner about things you’d like to try (or avoid at all costs) that will help get your sex drive out of that car park.
Binge Watch Anything in the Name of Love
Whether it’s a show you’ve long had on your “must watch list”, the Star Wars or Lord of the Rings series (if sci-fi does it for you – no judgement), sit down and watch something that takes your mind off of your body basal temperature.
Throwback Thursdays… Literally
Remember the good old days when you were in college and hooking up? Or High School (Or Junior High – oh my!) in the case of some of you early bloomers. Find your cheerleading outfit or school jacket and get your make out session on while listening to Duran Duran (yes, I know I just dated myself).
Thanks to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we’ve all got surgical masks. Why not use them to play doctor and nurse where no needles are involved? I mean, after months of hormones, blood work and ultrasound, you deserve a doctor’s visit that ends in an orgasm with no co-pay. I’m just saying.
We Don’t Have to Take Our Clothes Off…
If nothing else, you don’t HAVE to have sex to reconnect with your loved one. It’s ok to just talk, cuddle, hold hands or just “be” for a bit without having it involve your reproductive organs in any shape or form. Just because we have them, doesn’t mean they need to be in action at every moment!
And remember, when you have fertility issues, it can absolutely take an emotional toll on both of you so anything you can do that’s legal and doesn’t hurt anyone to buy yourselves even ten minutes of laughter or sanity is an investment in your relationship.