By Kaeleigh MacDonald
There are few things less sexy than timed intercourse, daily injections and raging hormones – But that’s what 1-in-8 infertile couples deal with as they try to conceive every month! As the months of casual “fun” sex drag on, and you find yourselves falling into the trap of only being intimate when you’re ovulating, you may wonder how much longer your relationship will survive if you don’t get pregnant soon! I understand. I’ve been there! Over the past 6 years of living in the infertility trenches, I’ve had every horrid thought imaginable in relation to jumping into bed with my husband… And he’s awesome! Funny, attractive, supportive – who wouldn’t want to sleep with that guy?! Honestly though, after months of doing it every-other-day neither one of us had bedroom eyes anymore. Luckily, we did manage to find our groove again and keep the spark alive. Here are the top things that really helped keep our relationship hot and heavy through these 6 long years of trying to conceive. And the best part? These are the same things that will help keep you intimate and connected through any rough patches life might throw your way! So think of this as a gift that your infertility is giving that will help your relationship for years to come – whether you have a baby or not!
After months of being told to have sex at certain times, or to abstain at other times, it can be easy to lose your innate ability to be spontaneous with sex. But I bet you can remember a time when you happily flirted, teased, and had sex wherever you wanted, whenever you wanted! Of course, it’s hard to keep up the momentum and excitement when the novelty has worn off and, let’s be real here, you’re going to have to force the spontaneity a little bit at first. But that’s ok! I think we get sucked into thinking that couples should never get into a sexual rut, but they often do, for many reasons. So go ahead. Have sex even if you’re not ovulating! Let yourself get carried away in the moment and try it on the kitchen table, or from a chandelier. Whatever gets your heart racing! Sex doesn’t always have to be dictated by your fertility schedule.
Try new things:
In the same vein don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone. One of the benefits of having to have sex so often is that it gives you ample opportunity to try new things. Maybe you’ve always fantasized about being a naughty maid? Perhaps something a little more leather and 50 shades tickles your fancy? Maybe all you really need is some extra-long cuddling and a massage to get you in the mood? The point is, speak up! Tell your partner some of the interesting things you’d like to try. The excitement of doing new things between the sheets will help release some of the anxiety that has gotten between you two and takes baby-making off your mind for the evening!
Focus on intimacy, not just sex:
It’s easy to get caught up in the actual act of sex when you are trying for a baby. We forgive you, you do have to HAVE sex to conceive after all. But all of the fun sensual things you could do that don’t involve sex, those are the things that add that feeling of intimacy to your relationship! When was the last time you just kissed and cuddled on the couch without it leading to anything? When did you last lovingly caress your lover’s shoulders just because you wanted to connect with them? When was the last time you gazed into their eyes and didn’t even have to say anything? Try some of these things. I’d bet that after a little bit of intimacy building you’ll start tearing each other’s clothes off without having to think about why you’re doing it.
Remember what attracted you in the first place:
Take a stroll through memory lane. When you first fell in love with your partner what was it about them that attracted you? What sorts of dates and activities did you do that made you love being a couple? Do small things that help you recapture that feeling! Love their hair? Play with it. Did you meet in a bookstore? Take a date to your local library and browse the aisles. Reframe your relationship to reflect how you felt at the beginning.
Don’t have sex:
I know… it’s a crazy concept. But really, sometimes the best thing you can do for your relationship is to skip it. Even if you’re ovulating. Even if you have a really good feeling about this month. There will be times during your infertility journey when having to push it will be disastrous for one or the other person’s mental health, for your relationship, or even just disastrous for the awesome evening you were having. It’s totally ok to take the pressure off and just stop having sex for a bit. Take a rest. Check in about it with your partner. How are they feeling? In most cases skipping sex a few times will not make or break your chances any month. Sperm can live in the fallopian tubes for up to 6 days! So give yourself permission to breathe when you need to.
At the end of the day, you want to make sure you’re keeping some focus on the family you have already built! Your family of two matters so much, and you’ll want to have a rock-solid relationship for when that pregnancy test finally shows you two pink lines. Give yourself permission to focus on building a rock-solid foundation for your family, and that means finding ways to keep the spark alive!
Kaeleigh MacDonald is a vocal infertility advocate both on and offline. In 2017 Kaeleigh wrote a best selling children’s book Extra! which focuses on the myriad ways families are built and encourages those who have made their family with the help of assisted reproductive technology to embrace their “extra”! Her writing has appeared on Pregnantish, Fertility Matters Canada, Pregnant Chicken, Amateur Nester, as well as her own blog Unpregnant Chicken. You can find her in Alberta Canada hanging out with a good cup of Earl Grey tea and enjoying the company of her two hard-won kiddos.