When Baby-Making Becomes a Chore
How to cope with scheduled sex and the pressure to produce
When my husband and I were first married, we didn’t need an excuse to have sex, just an opportunity. Making love was fun, dramatic, and spontaneous.
Deciding to get pregnant just added to the excitement. We’d have intercourse for the four days before I ovulated, the four days afterward, and sometimes twice on the day the ovulation predictor test turned blue. Who could have predicted that the words, “My basal temperature is elevated!” could be interpreted as foreplay?!
But as month after month passed with no signs from the stork, as the nagging worries about infertility loomed over our martial bed, sex became the means to an end. It was less about pleasure and more about timing. Instead of postcoital cuddling, we hurriedly propped my fanny with pillows. The ovulation predictor kit wasn’t a turn-on anymore. It was a taskmaster.
Sex had become a chore.
Elizabeth C., now a mother of three, saw the same thing happen when she and her husband were undergoing fertility treatments. Even her husband was affected. “He traveled for work and would have to juggle his client meetings around being home at a certain date,” she says. Instead of being delighted to be called home on a sexual errand, Elizabeth says, “He’d sigh, ‘OK … I’ll see.’”
Donna Y., a 39-year-old mother of two can relate. She endured Clomid, artificial inseminations, and in vitro fertilization to conceive her second child. With a conception schedule so rigid that she had to mark her calendar with green dots to indicate the must-have-sex days, she says being intimate was “just a check in the box on our to-do list for the day. I just wanted to get it done so I could go do a load of laundry or watch my favorite TV show.”
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