Random header image... Refresh for more!

Have sex. If you can. And if not, don’t stress and have it later.

I posted this years ago, and I’ve decided to trot the post out again since I am once again receiving these emails.

It must be near Valentine’s Day because everyone and their mother (by which I mean every infertility organization and clinic … since it would be odd if everyone’s mother started writing me emails) are sending me tips on how to not allow infertility to decimate my sex life.

But I’m not really sure how you don’t have infertility decimate your sex life — at least for a short time.  I mean, it’s sort of like an anorexic’s relationship to food — you need food to live, but your relationship with food is killing you.  And you need intimacy in a relationship, but, come on, the sex-not-equaling-baby thing is soul killing.

It is really hard to want to have sex for fun after you’ve been having sex for days in a timed-manner or want to have sex when you’re bloated to hell from drugs.  Or when your heart hurts.  It is really hard to have sex when your heart feels like a shriveled raisin-of-a-thing barely beating under your ribs.  How are you supposed to become stimulated when you are just so fucking sad?

So if you are having mind-blowing sex this week, rock on.  But if you are not; if your body is so traumatized from transvaginal ultrasounds or you feel like sex is just a reminder of what is not working in your body or you are so sad that you can’t get intimate, then stop beating yourself up and stop reading those articles and stop putting MORE pressure on yourself.

You will get back to a happy sex life if you two are both going to work to get back to that place of intimacy.  But all problems don’t have to be solved at the same time.  Sometimes, solving one solves some of the other ones too.  So if not-letting-infertility-destroy-your-sex-life feels like too big a task right now, take the night to eat through a box of chocolates in bed.  And cuddle.  And tell each other what you love about each other.  And promise each other that this is a moment in time and the future won’t look like now.

I feel like instead of “Spice Up Your Sex Life During Infertility!” articles, there should be a simple Michael Pollan-like mantra:

Have sex. If you can. And if not, don’t stress and have it later.

14 words.  That’s the advice I wish I had read back then rather than the articles I did read that just made me feel guilty.  And I was reminded of that this week when I read my 3000th email on sex and infertility.

The same advice applies to anyone not having sex who is parenting after infertility and feels guilty about it.  Or anyone who reads a stupid Cafemom article* that tells them that if they’re not submitting to their sex-craving partner they’re dooooooooooooooooooomed and is now worried.  And frankly, anyone who is not having sex for any reason and they’re feeling stressed not about the not having sex part but how the not having sex is being perceived.  I can’t think of anything less sexy than sex because you feel pressured to have sex. 

You don’t need to solve every problem all at the same time. So have sex.  If you can.  And if not, don’t stress and have it later.

* And seriously, that New York Times article is from 2009.  Surely someone has done sexual research since 2009.


1 Heidi { 02.10.13 at 9:42 am }

I love this post. It is so true. Sometimes intimacy is so hard to achieve during this LOOOONNNNNG process of TTC. But it’s important to remember that intimacy is broad and includes things beyond sex. Talking, cuddling, holding hands. Those things are the things that build strong marriages anyway. Those simple words spoke to me. Definitely takes off some pressure.

2 JustHeather { 02.10.13 at 11:03 am }

This is definitely something I have been struggling with. My brain wants to have sex with my husband, but my body couldn’t care less. I’m hoping things will start to look up now that our boy is getting a bit older and we’re slowly figuring things out.

3 marwil { 02.10.13 at 11:41 am }

This is brilliant advice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.

4 persnickety { 02.10.13 at 4:57 pm }

good advice. Sigh. I am finally (after 6 weeks of not allowed and not wanting to)allowed to have sex (pregnancy bleeding + d&C). So what happens- my husband’s digestive system implodes, knocking sex off the agenda. I know it isn’t his fault (and i had a milder version on saturday morning) but really! this weekend! Grrr

5 a { 02.10.13 at 5:16 pm }

Clearly, judging by the last election season, no one has been doing research since 2009. In fact, I think people have decided not to pay any attention to any research post-1950. 🙂

6 Kate (Bee In The Bonnet) { 02.10.13 at 8:04 pm }

I remember this post from the first time around, and it’s amazing how true it still rings today, even post-parenthood. There’s so much pressure to maintain intimacy in spite of kids. Man, I’ll get to it when I can and not a minute sooner! Just like when I was still trying pre-IVF. Jeez. It might happen. It might not. Romance is fine and good and of course, sex for procreation’s sake is fine and good, too, but so is intimacy in all sorts of other forms. Ugh.
(Yeah, okay. Clearly, I’m just jaded because other parents seem to find the time to Do It, and we have to wait for the monthly parents’ night out at the Y so that we can have some privacy at our house…)

7 Mali { 02.10.13 at 10:09 pm }

This is great advice for anyone going through any tough time. Especially “take the night to eat through a box of chocolates in bed. And cuddle. And tell each other what you love about each other. And promise each other that this is a moment in time and the future won’t look like now.”

There have been several times in my marriage (29 years) when this has been exactly what was needed. When you’re already under pressure, more pressure is not helpful. On the other hand, taking time and holding each other and breathing are helpful.

8 JustMe { 02.10.13 at 10:26 pm }

I want a “like” button for this post 🙂

9 Sara { 02.10.13 at 10:52 pm }

This is great, timeless advice. I’d add “if you want” on the end, but then again, my writing does tend to be wordy 😉

10 Tiara { 02.11.13 at 1:21 pm }

What is this “sex” you speak of? It seems distantly familiar…lol! I like to shock people by saying that even though I have a 2 year old daughter, I haven’t had sex in 5 years…but I’m crass like that 🙂

11 Myndi { 02.11.13 at 3:15 pm }

Ha! After 2.5 years of trying, followed by triplets that are just barely 2, one of whom is autistic, all of whom are somewhat developmentally delayed and receiving services…every cell of my body shuts down as soon as we put them to bed. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been interested in sex in the past 3 or 4 years. Most of the time, I do it out of a sense of obligation…because I feel bad. But then I only feel worse after. And then I’m even less inclined the next time. Having sex because you feel pressured to do so creates distance in a relationship. Or at least, that’s how I feel about it. It’s a tough situation, but we keep telling ourselves that when they start school and I have more time to reboot (I’m a SAHM), I’ll feel more like myself and we’ll find a way. In the meantime, we plod along.

Great post. Thanks. 😀

12 Leah { 02.11.13 at 4:04 pm }

Omigod I just read this on Zite yesterday and told my husband how smart it was and I didn’t realize you wrote it until now! Of course you wrote it. Brilliant.

13 Chickenpig { 02.12.13 at 4:35 pm }

This post needs a cartoon attached 🙂 The title just reminds me of ‘Smoke ’em if you got ’em!’.

14 Cherish { 02.12.13 at 10:26 pm }

Amen, sista!

15 Guera { 02.13.13 at 8:43 pm }

I remember back when we were doing IUI we were supposed to have sex the night before the procedure so that dh would have fresh sperm/semen the next day. One night I told him to just please take care of getting rid of the stagnant sperm/semen by himself for once. I went upstairs, he stayed downstairs and oh roughly five or six minutes later he came to bed. Done. It was a relief.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
The contents of this website are protected by applicable copyright laws. All rights are reserved by the author