Couples TherapyDanica MitchellInfertilitySex Therapy

Let’s Talk About Sex: Sex And Infertility

Sex and infertilityInfertility is a difficult topic. It often causes grief, frustration, disappointment, failure, and longing. Anyone who has had trouble conceiving knows that it can affect relationships and intimacy. While each partner may experience the trials of infertility differently, it can often become a crisis in a relationship. Not only is fertility an ongoing cycle of hope and pain, but there can also be a sense of loss; instead of joy and connection, sex becomes soured by fear and a sense of failure. 

Infertility can increase depression and anxiety, and turn sex into a demanding performance. Sex on demand is stressful, and ovulation doesn’t care about what kind of day you had or what your work week is like. When sex becomes solely a means to an end both partners can feel additional loss and isolation. 

So how do we move through infertility while keeping sex in mind? 

  • Be proactive. All couples struggle with sex at some point, so get used to talking about sex before it becomes challenging so that you’ll be comfortable discussing it when you really need to. 
  • Keep having sex outside of the “fertility window” so that it is not solely linked to procreation. Remember that sex is also about pleasure and emotional intimacy. Create a support network.  Infertility can be a very lonely experience if you don’t have contact with people who understand what you are going through. These may be friends or family, or perhaps groups or online communities, and of course a nearby sex therapist. Sharing these issues allows us to feel less shame and guilt. We are less vulnerable to shame and guilt when we share our experiences and issues with others in the same boat.
  • Take breaks as needed. Infertility may feel like a race against time, but accepting that will only increase performance pressure and anxiety. Always remember that it’s fine to take time off and have a no-sex month or weekend to allow for rest, recovery, and connection outside of sex.

Sex and infertilitySex and infertility

Regardless of if a child was a result or not, the months or years of infertility can take a toll. And while sex can be a challenge during infertility struggles, what do you do after? 

  • Solo-sex. During infertility, the goal-oriented nature of sex can impair or eliminate the focus on pleasure. Spending time in masturbation can put the focus back on pleasure. This can allow you to re-explore your body in a positive way, in your own time, and on your own terms. 
  • Contraception: While it might seem contradictory to consider contraception, sometimes knowing pregnancy will not occur creates a “breathing space” to reclaim sex and potentially (depending on the contraception) detach from the menstrual cycle so that you no longer track and worry about a period showing up and what that means for us. 
  • Pleasure and Fun: Embrace play and fun. Infertility can be so full of pressure and stress and laughter, joy, and love are great healers. Try something silly or novel with your partner in the bedroom and step into a new era of your intimacy together. 

While infertility may be challenging it does present opportunities for couples to support, grow, and love one another. Negotiating this challenge together can strengthen the bonds of intimacy and deepen our sensual connection.

Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation or to book an appointment.