Sexual dysfunction and infertility: making the unsexy , sexy

To make a baby you need a few basic requirements. Such as a vagina that can  open and is not painful,  and a straight , not crooked,  penis erect enough to penetrate this vagina .  You also need a man who can ejaculate into this vagina. Many  a man struggles with delayed ejaculation, so delayed in fact that they are unable to ever ejaculate inside a vagina.  In addition his sperm has to be plentiful and be able to swim well. And you need both people to be consensual and  actually want to  jump into the sack together. At the same time.
Perhaps you are a single person who wants a baby. Whether you insert  your best mates sperm with a turkey baster , or  as  a natal or transwoman, have your best girlfriend carry your baby for you as you have no uterus , conception is messy and wont leave you feeling very sexy.
Now are you getting to see that making a  baby is actually a complex combination of many factors .  I think of  conception as an orchestra in which each  musician and his/her/they instrument needs to be synchronised to produce wondrous harmonious music. It takes hours of time spent patiently together.  Considering what we know about modern marriage, couples spend less time together , have less sex than any previous generation (here come the robots:) it is not surprising that more and more couples are turning to Assistive Reproductive Techniques (ART) to conceive.
And here is the rub : even if you are sexually functional , and are struggling to conceive for other reasons,  like cancer treatments that leave you infertile, accidents or medications, once you begin treatment , you will develop a sexual difficulty or dysfunction.
Perhaps you, like many health care providers, assume that all couples are sexual, that they have regular intercourse, that they actually have intercourse and  that they know how to fall pregnant . Lets look at the facts. Perhaps they will soothe those of you are, or have been, through the trauma of trying to conceive.
Globally 8–12% of couples experience difficulty conceiving a child. Although assisted reproduction technology (ART) provides the possibility of achieving pregnancy, almost 40% of people undergoing ART still cannot conceive.
Consider :
* Did you  fall pregnant when you planned to do so?
*  If you struggled to conceive , what were the reasons ?
* How did you manage this trauma?
* How did it impact on your relationship, if at all?
*How did your family respond or did you keep it a secret ?
* Have you tried ART? And if so, how did it affect your sexuality?
* What advise would you give couples who are struggling to conceive?
Some fertile facts to ponder: These are results of research from a study of fertile couples. It gives you a glimpse into the sexuality of fertile couples: .
1/5 of women aged 30 to 80 =unhappy with their sex lives
 17% claim to be very satisfied
 10% sex at least once a week
 1/2 once a month or less
 10% once a year
¼ avoided sex as “too tired”
 13% feel anxious
 11% lack of intimacy with partner
 6% partner’s erectile dysfunction

 Look at this study which adds more facts for your fertile brain to consider .

* 4839 men and 6669 women aged 16–74 years,  ≥1 sexual partner     (opposite-sex or same-sex) in the past year
*  30-44 year olds – least satisfied with sex lives despite having most sex
*  ¼ dissatisfied
* 11% were very dissatisfied

When asked the reasons for these negative sexual  responses they stated :-

* lack of time and energy
* feeling under pressure
* a chore
* boring if it’s repetitive, uninteresting
* there’s no involvement or enjoyment
*  not feeling emotionally close to partner during sex
* lack of ease talking about sexuality to partner
* Women who are in long term relationships sate they have low interest in sex because they do  not share same level of   interests as partner.

Entering an IVF program is never an easy decision for a couple to make: whether you have waited the required year  of trying to fall pregnant , whether you are choosing ART because it feels simpler than having  real time intercourse with a partner or because you have  a sexual dysfunction ,   it is expensive and time consuming. Hormones bloat and bleed women and men have to endure  the humiliation of being on call for sex on demand. Gone is any spontaneity , female orgasms, satisfaction, engorged and lubricated genitals , masculinity or romance. ART  buries  whatever sexual desire and functionality that you have pre treatment.

As a woman you may feel helpless, depressed, shame because of your “broken “body, less feminine and guilt that you are letting your partner down .  It’s  secret that you as a couple keep to yourselves and it  consumes your life to the point that you may isolate. Seeing friends pregnant or with babies may trigger further trauma  and family smiles and enquiries , make you bolt straight home to hide under the duvet.

 This is a breeding ground for  couple conflict. Which of course will discourage intimacy and penetration .

Here are some  ideas  on how to manage your  sexy whilst trying to conceive.

 
#INFERTILITY LOVE HACKS :
1. Treat your sexual dysfunction before going for ART. It will be cheaper to consult a couple and sex therapist . It may be  emotionally difficult to talk about the difficult topic of your sexual relationship. Its worth enduring the discomfort. Entering ART without therapy keeps you pregnant and stuck in  a sexless, lonely couple space.
2. Your couple and sex therapist will ensure that you receive  multi disciplinary management : urologist for erections that wont erect,  a few pops of a PD5I,  treatment of  a curved Peyronie’s Diseased penis, or to pump you with testosterone if yours is way low. And  a gynaecologist for a vagina that is painful.
3. Sex toys and porn spice up interest and motivate couples to be sexual with each other.
And if this fails to produce a pregnancy then ART it is.  Whilst on treatment :
4. Expect and accept that sexual play is not sexy. So make it sexy . Here’s how ;

 * Affectionate touching
*  Socialize together
 * Novel and exciting non sexual  activities: 36% more likely to have sex that day
*  Intimate discussion interaction:  talk about your  individual dreams , visions for yourselves as a couple and a family.
* Discuss what excites  you  sexually. Remembering  that you once enjoyed being sexual together gives you future hope
* Manage escalated conflict by being in therapy, a safe space for both of you together.
For more information about this topic, contact me .