Are you having sexual struggles?
By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Fertility Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility
Sex isn’t something we tend to openly talk about to our partner, friends, family or professionals. It’s very much a taboo subject, even when it comes to trying to conceive. The truth is though, having sex to schedule in order to make a baby, can put a lot of pressure on your sex life, especially when you’re trying month after month with no Big Fat Positive.
What once was a passionate intimate act of love, becomes more mechanical, prescribed and routine. The focus of sex moves from experiencing profound sensual pleasure, to making a baby as you put cushions under your hips to help the sperm move along in the right direction, remain lying down for what feels like an eternity encase the sperm ‘fall out’, and stay all sweaty as you don’t want to risk washing away any sperm by having a shower.
Everyone just assumes that because you want a baby, you’re having loads of mind-blowing sex (“Lucky you, you get to have sex all the time”), but in reality, this isn’t always the case. Why?
Unlike popular belief, men can’t always have sex on demand
Having a lot of sex is hard to fit in around busy and tiring work schedules
Low interest of sex, especially when it’s scheduled as opposed to being spontaneous
Pressure to perform, especially around the time of ovulation (“Honey, I’m ovulating!”)
Sexual issues such as problems with erection, ejaculation or vaginismus (pain during sex)
When issues to do with our sex life arise, it’s not uncommon to feel like we have no one to turn to for support and advice, as it’s not necessarily something we feel comfortable talking to others about. We may worry that raising it with our partner will just make it even more into an issue and that he might not be willing to admit there’s an issue in the first place. So, what do we do? Here are some tips.
If your partner rejects your sexual advances, you may take it personally. Your monkey mind may start thinking: “I’m not sexy enough to turn him on”, “He doesn’t find me attractive anymore”, “He doesn’t love me” and/or “He’s not invested in making a baby as much as I am”. You may start to believe these thoughts, which can result in your sexual confidence hitting an all-time low. You might start to panic at the thought that you might miss your chance to conceive that month making you feel angry and annoyed towards him, putting additional pressure on your relationship. These stressful thoughts may even cause your vagina to suddenly tighten up, not just in the moment, but next time you try to have sex too, as you worry you might be rejected again.
First become mindfully aware of your thoughts, acknowledge their presence, but don’t get caught up in them. Next, ask yourself: “Is what I’m thinking really true?” Try to look at it from your partner’s perspective .
He may have his own insecurities, such as not feeling physically as he would like to be, worried that his performance isn’t pleasing you or he may have had a really long tiring day and the last thing he’s in the mood for is sex. It doesn’t mean that he’s not turned on by you, that he doesn’t find you attractive, that he doesn’t love you or that he doesn’t want a baby as much as you do. There’s a myth that men constantly want to have sex and that they can perform at the drop of a hat, but sex is as much about the mind as it is the body. If he’s feeling physically unfit, stressed, tired or uptight after a manic day at work, trying to persuade him to have sex with you is not going to help and can lead to snappy reactions as he takes his frustrations out on you.
What you could do though is acknowledge how, for example, exhausted he must be (even if you are too) and propose that you both get a good night’s sleep and try in the morning before work. If time really is of the essence, ask him if he’d like a full-body massage, shoulder rub or head strokes to help him relax. It may even help get him into the mood too. Remember though, try not to save having sex for the day when you’re ovulating. Sperm can survive for up to five days inside of you. Having sex a few days leading up to ovulation can help relieve the pressure off you and your partner, of having to have sex on the day of ovulation itself.
HANDLING SEXUAL ISSUES
If you or your partner experience sexual issues, try not to highlight the issue in the moment and make it into a huge problem. This will no doubt only make things worse. When it happens, don’t make a big deal out of it. Just stay calm, hold one another and perhaps suggest that you have a break from trying that day as you’re both probably knackered. If it’s only happened a few times before and you or your partner are open to talking, try to see if there’s any feelings of pressure that could be causing the issue. Talk through where the pressure is coming from and what you could do to reduce it.
If it’s an on-going occurrence, try not to play the blame game, but instead think about whether you/your partner would feel comfortable seeing a professional. For example, if your partner has a problem with ejaculation, don’t say to him that it’s all his fault that you’re not getting pregnant. He’s already likely to feel embarrassed, ashamed and upset that he’s not performing as he would like to. Instead, work as a team to resolve the issue and give him the loving support that he needs. The first step may be seeing if he’s open to a seeing a medical professional. Next it may be to see a psychosexual therapist. Remember, you’re both on the same team, working towards the same goal.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
If you know you’re ovulating, try not to pounce on your partner as soon as he comes home from work and expect him to have sex with you there and then in the doorway, even if you’ve made the effort to get all dressed up, pouting your seductive red lippy. In your head, you may think every minute counts as your egg only lives for up to 24 hours, but try to give him time to settle, have dinner and take a shower. This will help him to relax and unwind, easing the pressure off and allowing him to get into the right frame of mind to have sex.
Again, have sex a few days leading up to ovulation or have sex in the morning before work. That way you’re not literally clock watching or texting your partner to come home early. Remember, timing is everything, even when it comes to initiating sex. At the end of the day though, you know when works best for you and your partner.