A Reminder - Infertility Does Not Mean No Sex
The Impact of Infertility on Sexual Intimacy
An oldie but goodie. Several years ago, I wrote this blog because sexual intimacy so often gets screwed up when infertility hits. Shining some light on this subject that still is so infrequently talked about can sometimes help.
For that matter, sometimes sex is just what you need. Making love might be a good possibility too. Consider it.
Why not make love? When baby making because of infertility gets in the way of your sexual life, our love making can become very pedantic. It can also become almost non-existent. Infertility takes away not only personal privacy, but also couple privacy and that is often reflected in our love making. Or lack there of.
What's the purpose of making love? If you're a teenager, it's all about raging hormones, a way to connect with someone else, perhaps even a way of saying more deeply that you care for someone. If you're a bit older, more mature, it can mean more than that. It's a sharing of your deeper self, a revealing of who you are. When we have gotten to a point that we have committed to another person in a relationship, marriage or not, then our love making gets vastly personal, intimate, and often very specific to that couple.
You may never talk about your sexual life with another human being, outside of your partner. This may be a subject that you don't chat about with your friends, probably not a subject that you discuss with your mother. It is private, intimate, perhaps even embarrassing.
Throw infertility into the mix and then sometimes suddenly, sometimes more gradually, love making becomes less frequent, shorter, less intimate, and yes, less fun. Rather than a reminder of the deeper connection between the two of you, it's now a reminder of "the problem". It's a reminder of the failure between the two of you.
Sex During Fertility Treatment
There was a point in fertility treatment when I became convinced that there was no way that my husband and I could conceive on our own. Um . . . think it was the 5 years in treatment?! Sometimes I think I'm a bit of a slow learner, at least with some things. Point being, that our sexual life improved the moment that sexual reproduction became a non-issue. While I don't advocate compartmentalizing your life, for me, it worked beautifully on this subject.
Baby making in that box over there, with the lid securely on; love making over here, lid exuberantly off. We resumed our sexual life and got our groove back, so to speak. I worked hard to remember that for us, love making was no more connected to baby making, than say, brushing my teeth was.
Then, overthinking things, as usual, I thought of it as a gift. A gift box that we could take out and open and play with. Instead of a black box, compartmentalizing things, I could see it as a special box, a gift box, for special occasions, to unwrap slowly or rip the paper and ribbon off.
And love making was back in the game and in the relationship. Taking that piece of our relationship back, reclaiming it, felt miraculous, affirming and joyful.
Infertility can't just be about loss, can it?
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About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.