Reigniting Passion When You're Trying To Conceive

"I rushed downstairs to get a little hanky panky, and my-ever-so-gracious husband was still sleeping, so I proceeded to give him a back rub and try to rouse him a little bit. He was so unwilling. He told me, 'Oh honey, not now; we will do it tonight.' I told him that tonight might be too late. He was still unwilling to do his soldier boy duty for the day. I was so upset, I started to tear up. I know he wants a baby, too, but sometimes his sleep is just way too important," laments a visitor to the message boards.
Marla Hardee Milling

Does this situation sound familiar?

Hopping into bed as often as you can when you first decide to conceive can be fun. But if you don't get pregnant right away, having frequent sex with your mate may cause one or both of you to suffer sexual burnout.

Loss of spontaneity
"Lately, I've been saying 'no.' I'm so tired and sore," says Erin Hewson of Austin, Texas. At age 33, Hewson says she worries about her window of opportunity to become pregnant. She bought a few ovulation predictor kits, but she doesn't want to keep shelling out bucks to buy the kits every month. Now she relies on her own intuition, as well as charting the days of her cycle, to figure out when she is ovulating.

"The only 'strategy' we've come up with is to do it every other day just before and during ovulation," says Hewson. "We also use a lot of Astroglide to assist in moving things along."

"Our sex is less spontaneous," Hewson continues. "My husband is more of a schedule keeper than me. I feel like it trivializes sex, and I wish we could get pregnant more naturally. We've been reduced to biology, it seems."

"Unfortunately, couples trying to conceive sometimes come to think of sex as a chore that they are doing just to try to get pregnant," says Dr. S?ndor Gardos, president and CEO of, a former fellow at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University and a research scientist at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies. "Be sure to try to have sex every now and then just for fun and not only when you think the time is optimal for conception. If you allow sex to become a job, it can become very difficult to get back into the swing of things later on."

Re-ignite the flame
Don't put so much pressure on yourself to perform. The stress you create may actually be one of the reasons for your difficulty conceiving.

"Make time for 'dates' just like when you were first getting to know each other as a couple," says Gardos. "It can be challenging when you are trying to conceive to set aside quality time just to have fun, but it is vital if you want to keep sex exciting."

Lori Ramsey, a mom of four in Heber Springs, Arkansas, and owner of, says she and her husband suffered sexual burnout while trying to conceive their third child. But instead of giving in to the lack of desire, she looked for a solution.

"I purchased the book 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex by Laura Corn. We went out on dates during ovulation time to spice things up, and we tried to be spontaneous by not thinking about making a baby," says Ramsey. "There were months when I wouldn't even mention the fact that I was ovulating. The month I conceived, we had decided to give up on trying."

Underlying issues
Too much sex may not be the only reason some women start resisting their husbands. Aline Zoldbrod, Ph.D., author of Sex Talk: Uncensored Exercises for Exploring What Really Turns You On (New Harbinger 2002), says there are important, deep dynamics underlying women's sexual burnout during infertility.

"We have reason to believe that most women grow up with a 'someone will be growing inside me some day' identity that is essential to female sexual identity," says Zoldbrod. "Commonly, women feel alienated and disgusted by their uterus, and, by extension, their vaginas and clitorises, for not performing. But in order to become aroused and orgasmic, women need to focus on sensations in just those body parts that they hate."

"Do a meditation where you remind yourself that the whole reason you wanted a child to begin with is because you love your mate so much," Zoldbrod says. Make a list of all the sensual and sexual activities you really like, particularly those that are not focused on intercourse. Have your partner make a similar list. Go over the lists together and see which activities would be mutually pleasurable."

Try new things
When you make your list, don't forget to add some suggestions that may be new to you or your partner. How about watching a steamy movie together?

"Men may need to combat sexual burnout by stimulating themselves visually during times of scientifically timed intercourse," says Zoldbrod. "Both partners can check into watching erotic movies by Candida Royalle, who makes movies with story lines and don't objectify women."

Or maybe you could benefit from some props. "Sex toys are a wonderful way to relieve sexual burnout and boredom for couples trying to conceive," says Gardos. "The nice thing about sex toys is that they are just for fun. Unfortunately, when you become so focused on trying to get pregnant, it can be hard to have sex simply for pleasure. Sex toys can lighten things up and allow you to explore new sensations and ways of relating with your partner. If you've never tried sex toys before, this may be the perfect time. You may even learn something new that stays with you even after you become pregnant."

It can be very discouraging when month after month you get a regular visit from "Aunt Flo." But instead of spiraling into depression, use this time to get closer to your partner. Communicate, share fantasies, cuddle with each other -- just relax and let sex become as exciting and fun as it once

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