It’s not unusual for couples to face sexual difficulties when they are struggling to conceive. The stress of trying to become pregnant, along with the disappointment if pregnancy doesn’t occur, can lead to anxiety, depression, and relationship conflict. Keeping strong as a couple is essential at this time and maintaining a good sexual connection is key.
Some challenges couples face during fertility treatment include the following:
- Having sex “on demand.” Couples may feel pressured to plan sex around the woman’s ovulation cycle, even if they are not particularly in the mood when the “right time” arrives.
- Pressure to conceive. The goal of sex may change from just enjoying intimacy together to making a baby. This shift in focus can make both partners anxious about their roles and performance.
- Invasion of privacy. While doctors and other fertility specialists share the goal of pregnancy, fertility treatments can make a private, intimate time more public.
- Feelings of inadequacy. Partners may feel less feminine or masculine when they have trouble conceiving. Some feel less adequate. This may be especially true if their friends are getting pregnant with ease or if their relatives are constantly asking, “When are you going to have a baby?”
What can couples do to keep their sexual spark?
- Cherish and protect your partnership. Remember that you are partners, working as a team. Don’t hesitate to express the disappointment, anxiety, and frustration you may be feeling at this time. But be open about love and support, too. Make time for each other and consider having regular date nights to enjoy yourselves.
Also, consider that some people, no matter how well meaning, may comment about your situation or offer unsolicited advice. Decide together how much information you will share with others and how you will handle unwanted remarks.
- Keep having sex for fun. While conception may be the main goal on your mind, remember that sexual relationships have other rewards. Bonding with your partner, enjoying your intimate time together, and just having fun are important objectives, too.
- Consider therapy or support groups. A qualified therapist can help you and your partner keep your relationship strong through a difficult time. And talking to other couples in your situation can reinforce the fact that you are not alone.