What is it about trying to have a baby that wreaks havoc on your sex life? Even if your relationship is strong and you’re still wildly attracted to your partner, somewhere along the line spontaneous lovemaking gets traded in for carefully timed “baby dancing.” As the months go by, something that was once a source of fun becomes an obligation associated with disappointment, frustration, and even shame. Add in the further restrictions that fertility treatments can put on your love life and it’s no wonder that women struggling with infertility are more likely to see their libido start to dip. [1]

Infertility can also have a negative impact on men as they may feel pressured to perform on specific days, or experience anxiety around whether their equipment will work as it is supposed to.  Erectile dysfunction is more common than most people realize, especially when depression, anger, stress, or anxiety is involved. Surprisingly, unexpressed anger, whether towards another person, or a situation is a powerful factor in male sexual performance.

Fortunately, however, there are ways that both you and your partner can get your sexy back, whether you are trying to conceive naturally or with the help of artificial reproductive therapies.

Curious to know what they are? Let’s get started:

1.  Respect and accept

According to Emily Nagoski in her book, Come as You Are, feeling respected and accepted as we are creates a “sex-positive context” in which “almost anything can activate our curious “What’s this?” desirous approach to sex.” Show respect to one another through active listening, attending to each other’s needs, validating your partner’s ideas, and acknowledging them for what they are doing well. Work on accepting one another by staying in the present and not comparing your relationship to what it was like in the past.  Continue working on accepting yourself as well.  The less judgmental we are of ourselves, the less judgmental we are of everyone else. When there is an atmosphere of mutual respect and acceptance, both of you will feel safe to fully express yourselves in the bedroom.

2.  Turn yourself on

Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought, “Uuuugh! I’m so gross/fat/ugly, etc.?” Well, I can say that I have and on certain days I still do.  When I find myself saying these things, however, I push back with all my might and do something about it.  For me this involves, treating myself to a full body scrub in the shower, slathering on ultra rich body butter when I get out, using essential oils like frankincense and myrrh on my face (hello glow!), putting in my contacts, doing up my hair, and spending however long I want on my makeup.  I make sure I spend time naked every day because, infertility aside, feeling uncomfortable in your own skin is one of the biggest barriers for women when it comes to enjoying sex.  It only makes sense that when you feel good about the way you look, you’re more likely to share yourself with your partner.

3.  Let go of expectations

Have you ever really wanted an orgasm and the more you thought about how much you wanted it, the further it traveled out of your reach?  That’s just one way that sex and expectations don’t mix.  Allow yourself to enjoy whatever is happening in the moment instead of letting your mind wander to what might be coming next. Just because you start kissing, doesn’t mean you have to move on to something else.  Enjoy the kissing! If you’ve gotten to the place where you dread actual intercourse because you associate it with shame, disappointment, and anxiety, take a couple weeks to do everything but.  Knowing that sex is off the table can help you to focus on how wonderful it is to be touched, or how safe you feel naked in your partner’s arms.  When feelings of obligation go down, feelings of desire are more likely to go up!

 4.  Talk it out

If you’re not feeling sexually fulfilled in your relationship, the issue will resolve itself a lot sooner if you are open to discussing it.  Choose a neutral time (not rightbefore, during, or after sex) when both of you is available to talk.  Be as honest as possible, without blaming or shaming. Starting out with, “I really like it when . . .” or “I think it’s great when you . . .” will be received better than, “I really wish you wouldn’t . . .” or “I hate it when you . . .” Lead with the positive and hope that your partner does the same. The more conversations you have, the easier it will be for both of you to communicate your needs in the future.

5.  Get physical

Couples who work out together enjoy quality time with one another, greater self-confidence, and a higher sex drive.  If your schedules aren’t conducive to a joint training session you can reap the last two benefits on your own as well. When we exercise, our brain releases feel-good chemicals called endorphins, helping to create a sense of euphoria for the entire body.  Exercise has even been found to increase libido in women whose sex drives have been lowered by antidepressants.  Just twenty minutes of moving your body in the right way could be just what you need.

 

Bonus tip: Skip the sweet stuff!

I know, I know.  One more reason not to eat sugar? Really? Before you start rolling your eyes, just hear me out. A diet high in refined carbohydrates including white flour, sugar, and alcohol, drives down testosteroneleading to lowered sex drive and function.  High sugar consumption also leads to decreased orexin, a neurotransmitter that regulates arousal and wakefulness, as well as increased cortisol, our main stress hormone.  Wired but tired anyone? If that weren’t enough, when our blood sugar is constantly crashing, mood swings, depression, and anxiety are the inevitable result.  It goes without saying that none of these make for a better sex life, regardless of whether you’re trying for a baby or not.

Infertility will most likely change the sex life you once had with your partner, put it doesn’t have to rob you entirely of the lovemaking you once enjoyed. The good news is that when you work through these challenges together as a team, you will come out on the other side even stronger than before.

 

Is getting your sexy back one of your goals for 2018?  My one-on-on fertility coaching program can help you with that.  Schedule a free discovery call today. 

[1] A study conducted by Stanford University found that 40% of female participants with infertility were at risk for sexual dysfunction, with “significantly lower scores in desire and arousal domains and lower frequency of intercourse and masturbation.” http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(10)00097-X/fulltext

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