Most of us know someone who has gone through the process of trying to conceive. You might even be in the thick of trying to have a baby right now. Regardless of your direct experience, you probably have heard stories about how sex becomes a chore when you're trying for a baby. Ovulation tracking, scheduling sex, optimizing positions - it is ironic and downright unfair that the act of baby making can feel so unsexy.
There are of course many ways to make a baby, but sexual intercourse has been the primary source of new life for human beings. Despite this fact, I want to acknowledge how little we learn about the process of conception and how to make it a connected, fun experience. In sex ed class we learn so much about how sex can lead to babies and how to prevent that from happening that we hardly even scratch the surface of what it takes to conceive and what that means for a partnership. Then, when we do want to start a family, it can be overwhelming how much information is out there about the dos and don’t of procreation. If you experience any difficulties conceiving, it's even more stressful, and there's a ton more information to wade through and decisions to make. Again, not sexy!
I work with clients who are trying to conceive, and they tell me time and time again how lost they feel in the process of trying to start or expand their family. Some of them had fantastic sex lives before trying for a baby while others always struggled in this area of their relationship, making having a baby through sex a very daunting task. Here are a few ways you can take a step back from all the pressure and start having fun sex again!
Stress is the number one source of problems related to sex, and there's no exception when it comes to trying to conceive. Our lives are full of stress, and guess what? We adapt to increased stress levels. You may feel like you've gotten to a place of calm in that new position at work, but your adrenals might be still in high gear helping you to maintain a level of cool in front of your colleagues.
Over time, high stress levels can negatively impact our energy and our health. If you and your partner have stressful lives due to work, school, outside family obligations, or even unresolved problems your relationship, try to get to a place where these things feel manageable for both of you. Set some goals like "I want to make sure my mom is financially stable after her surgery" or "We need to work on communicating our schedules better with one another" or "I need some organization in the house so I can relax when I get home."
Setting goals that acknowledge stressors in your life and working towards achieving these will help minimize stress and allow you to be more present during sex. Also, it'll be good to have large stressors sorted before the baby comes!
Enjoy the Process
Of course, life happens. You can't control what new stressors pop up while you're in the process of trying to conceive. You have to roll with what comes your way. Sometimes it can be helpful to remember that making a whole other human being is a process and it's something that you agreed to go through with someone you really care about.
To that end, I encourage my clients to have sex outside of the prescribed fertile window to maintain closeness and also to de-stress! Have sex when you want to and have the kind of sex you want, regardless if it has the possibility of leading to conception. This can definitely help you sustain your efforts because if you don’t like the sex you’re having, you are less likely to want to have it. If you have great sex throughout the month and a few times you have baby-making sex, it’s a little easier to handle.
The pressure to have sex at a specific time in a certain way is often too much for couples over long periods of time. In addition to breaking the cycle of just having baby-making sex when you’re actively trying, I also encourage my clients to take full-on breaks from trying altogether.
We’ve all heard a story or two about a couple who was trying for a baby and when they stopped trying got pregnant. Well, there is some merit to this wive’s tale. Pregnancy sometimes happens this way because 1) the stress had been removed and 2) the couple gets back to having the sex they want.
The decision to become a parent can be hard enough, so it’s fantastic to get to a place where you can set a sexual intention for pregnancy. It’s a beautiful thing when people decide to embark on a journey to create life. Just remember to be present and find joy along the way when you can. This will sustain you and hopefully bring about exactly what you’re hoping for.