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Intimacy During Infertility

Navigating Intimacy on the Journey to Conception: Tips for Couples Facing Fertility

The journey to having a baby is often depicted as a sexy, fun, and romantic time for
couples, but for many, it can be fraught with challenges and emotional struggles.
Fertility issues can put a strain on intimacy, leading to feelings of frustration, immense
pressure to perform, disappointment, and even feeling disconnected from one’s body
and their partner’s physical/emotional needs. In this blog post, we’ll explore how
couples can maintain intimacy while navigating the ups and downs of trying to conceive.

Acknowledge and Communicate Feelings:
The first step in maintaining intimacy during the struggle to conceive is open and honest
communication. Both partners should feel comfortable expressing their emotions, fears,
and frustrations without judgment. Acknowledge the impact that fertility challenges may
have on your relationship and commit to supporting each other through this journey.

Set Realistic Expectations:
It’s essential to set realistic expectations for intimacy and conception. Understand that
fertility is a complex and unpredictable process, and conceiving may take longer than
expected. In fact, it may take way longer than expected and there may be very real
fears about one’s ability to ever have the baby of their dreams. While it is impossible at
times not to place undue pressure on yourselves or your relationship with strict
timelines, and benchmarks (by its very nature ovulation and the menstrual cycle are
inherently time based), striving to focus on nurturing your connection and supporting
each other’s emotional well-being is extremely important.

Explore Alternative Forms of Intimacy:
While trying to conceive, it’s common for sex to become associated primarily with
procreation, leading to feelings of performance pressure and anxiety. To maintain
intimacy, consider exploring alternative forms of physical and emotional connection that
don’t revolve solely around conception. This could include cuddling, massages, shared
hobbies, or simply spending quality time together. Although your mind maybe consumed
with worry, fear, and sadness about your desire to have a baby, if you can be mindful of
prioritizing physical and emotional connection (unrelated to the act of sexual
intercourse) that can be extremely helpful. Often times for both women and men, there

needs to be a strong emotional connection and bond in order to fully enjoy the pleasure
of sexual intimacy. Continuing to strengthen, cultivate, and nurture that bond outside of
the bedroom will actually help with sexual intercourse that happens inside the bedroom.

Prioritize Self-Care:
Fertility struggles can take a toll on both partners’ mental and emotional health.
Prioritize self-care activities that promote relaxation, stress reduction, and overall well-
being. This might include exercise, meditation, journaling, travel (if permitted medially
wherever you are in your journey) or engaging in activities that bring you joy and
fulfillment outside of trying to conceive.

Seek Support:
Don’t hesitate to seek support from healthcare professionals, therapists, or support
groups specializing in fertility issues. Talking to others who are experiencing similar
challenges can provide validation, empathy, and practical advice. Additionally, consider
seeking counseling or therapy to explore coping strategies and communication
techniques to navigate this journey as a couple.

Stay Connected as a Couple:
Amidst the stress and uncertainty of fertility challenges, it’s crucial to prioritize your
relationship and maintain a strong emotional connection with your partner. Make time
for regular check-ins, date nights, and opportunities to express love and appreciation for
each other. Remember that you are a team, and facing these challenges together can
strengthen your bond and resilience as a couple.

Maintaining intimacy while struggling to conceive can be challenging, but it’s possible
with open communication, realistic expectations, and a commitment to supporting each
other through the ups and downs. By acknowledging and addressing the emotional
impact of fertility challenges, exploring alternative forms of intimacy, prioritizing self-
care, seeking support, and staying connected as a couple, you can navigate this
journey with love, resilience, and hope. It may not feel that way all the time and that is
okay, but it is important to be able to come back to one another. Remember that you are
not alone, and there is support available to guide you through this process.

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