I have been trying to get pregnant for awhile now, and as a result, sex with my partner has become…not something either of us particularly look forward to anymore. It's a more of a line item in our schedules—something to do and then cross off in a timely manner more so than relish in. That's to say, it's definitely not sexy anymore. So, are there any tips for how to keep sex exciting when trying to conceive? Because it feels more like a chore right now than anything else.
First, know that there is nothing—read, NOTHING—wrong with the feeling that sex is work when you’re literally working toward an outcome that goes beyond pure sexual pleasure. In this scenario of tracking your cycle and strategically having sex to optimize the odds of becoming pregnant, sex is more about biology than chemistry, so it’s understandable that it may feel like a chore, and that you might feel conflicted about that reality. Assuming this mindset is a shift from the way you and your sexual partner engaged prior to trying to get pregnant, the change can feel sad; it can seem as if your passion is dwindling, and your connection lacks certain key components of intimacy in favor of prioritizing your biological cycle and personal schedule. Which is admittedly not so hot.
Prior to a scheduled romp, shift your personal narrative to believing you’re about the have the best sex of your life. And then, who knows? That might be exactly what happens.
So here is my advice: Try and distract yourself from the sex you’re having being a must-do task to help you get pregnant so that the act feels less, well, like a must-do task. Try to be present, and consider dreaming up some new fantasies with your partner. Prior to a scheduled romp, shift your personal narrative to believing you’re about the have the best sex of your life. And then, who knows? That might be exactly what happens.
Essentially, I suggest that you and your partner get creative and incorporate a sense of fantasy into your current reality. I don't necessarily mean role-playing (though that can always be fun!). Rather, work to shed any preconceived notions of how the sex will play out because otherwise, you run the risk of it becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you go into any experience assuming it will play out in a certain kind of way—whether it’s work-related, personal, sexual, or otherwise—those internalized feelings to which you’ve already given life will likely inform your whole experience.
Our energy dictates our experience, and this reality very much applies to sex. If you think about sex as an energy exchange, then what we present to each other is the foundation of the entire experience. So then, by committing to shift that energy (and the thoughts that guide it), we can each have profoundly positive effects on how the experience will play out.
Now, to tie this advice back to fantasy: It’s certainly the case that anxieties can abound about the whole process of conception and fertility: eggs in fallopian tubes, implantation, good cervical mucus, efficient, strong sperm…it can all feel incredibly unsexy, so fantasy play can bring you back to pleasure and desire of the moment while also quelling understandably nervous thoughts that may be swirling as well.
And if you’re not nervous and anxious so much as simply a bit bored by what’s come to be an unexciting chore of having sex to conceive, I also suggest this: The best thing you can do is to listen to your body and give in to what it needs. For instance, even if ovulation is weeks away, make time for sex just for pleasure, just to remind yourself that doing so is an option. Remember that connectivity and pleasure are key factors that contribute to our overall health, and prioritizing intimacy (despite the outcome) is always a good idea.
As CEO of Dame Products, Alexandra Fine translates the nuances of our sexualities into human-friendly toys for sex and sexual wellness products. A lifelong student of sexual health, Alexandra earned her master’s in clinical psychology with a concentration in sex therapy from Columbia University. In founding Dame Products, she intends to start necessary conversations, to listen rather than assume, and to create products that enhance intimacy.
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