Q: For the past year and a half, my partner and I have been trying to get pregnant. We are both relatively young (mid-30s) and healthy, so the struggle to have a baby was unexpected for us. Yet I want to be pregnant with all my heart and soul, and I will do anything to make it happen. My partner was on board with me, but after a miscarriage followed by an unsuccessful round of IVF, he has shut down in the bedroom. He never wants to have sex anymore and says that I am just “using” him when I try to initiate contact during my ovulation period. Why can’t he just be on my side — after all, I am the one undergoing all the medication and invasive procedures!
A: Infertility is a very hard thing for any couple to go through, and it can often impact their sex life and their relationship. Suddenly, everything becomes about fertility treatments and pregnancy, and the joy and spontaneity of your time together simply flies out the window. Add in the hormonal aspect of in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the pain and heartache of your miscarriage, and it is no wonder that you and your partner aren’t connecting the way you used to.
Luckily, there are many things you can do to get back on track. First, I suggest that you start to rethink your sexual connection with your partner. You mention that he is never in the mood for sex and that he says you “use” him when you initiate contact during your ovulation period. Does this mean that you initiate sex only during this window? If so, it might cause your partner to feel as though you only want to have sex with him to have a baby, not because you actually love him or are attracted to him. That can be very hurtful. I know you are looking at the big picture and planning for a future of love and happiness, but in the moment, your partner is likely feeling unloved and overwhelmed.
Let him know that your motives for sex aren’t purely baby-related. Start touching him again with nonsexual intentions. Kiss him deeply when you leave for work in the morning, rest against his chest while you watch television together, or squeeze his biceps and be a little flirtatious. Let him know that you are still attracted to him and that your sexual desire is still alive and well, IVF or no IVF. Then, make sure to have sex outside your ovulation window. Stay in the moment with plenty of foreplay and make it your goal to simply enjoy each other’s body.
Lastly, when you are having sex during your fertile window, try not to let the baby-making overshadow the actual act. Don’t just grab him and say “now is the time!” Cook dinner together, or take a sexy shower... anything to make the moment intimate, special, and meaningful. By doing so, you can ensure that your sex life and your relationship will stay strong during this time. Good luck!
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