Jazz Up Your Baby-Making Sex
Trying to conceive doesn't have to be boring. Here's how to shake things up.
There are two truths about people who say they can never get enough of sex: 1) They're beyond annoying. 2) It's highly unlikely they've ever had trouble getting pregnant. Anyone with issues trying to conceive can tell you that after a few months of constant sex, "business time" may truly feel like a grind -- and not the good way that used to get you all hot and bothered.
When the romance disappears from baby making, serious issues can crop up in its place. In one Stanford University study, women with fertility problems were 15 percent more likely to experience sexual dysfunction. They also reported significantly lower satisfaction with their sex lives. To sidestep potential problems, try these expert tips for stoking your fertility and libido simultaneously.
Get busy for no reason
On a strict schedule of baby-making intercourse, both members of a couple may derive lot less pleasure from the act. "Men often start to feel like they're just sperm donors, while women get anxious about failing to conceive every month," says Pamela Fawcett Pressman, a licensed professional counselor specializing in infertility and a certified sex therapist in Voorhees, New Jersey. "Both scenarios can lead to performance issues on either side." To make matters worse, you might start to observe that you're not enjoying sex as much and your imagination may run wild. "That's when people they start to make interpretations that are inaccurate, like 'Maybe I'm not as attractive to my spouse. Maybe I've lost my desire,'" says Sheryl A. Kingsberg, Ph.D., chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center and a professor of reproductive biology and psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland.
An easy fix is to start having sex at times totally outside ovulation, when there's little chance you'll get pregnant. "Lovemaking that's not performance-driven helps you reconnect to your sensuality," says Mindy R. Schiffman, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and sex therapist at New York University's Fertility Center and in private practice in New York City. "It also has an interesting way of taking the pressure off the times you need to make love and helps you avoid 'tonight's the night' syndrome."
Set the mood
You don't have to go overboard littering rose petals throughout the boudoir, but take time before sex to unwind and shake off your day. "There is some interesting data from cognitive research that the mood you're in, even your facial expressions, does influence how you interpret situations in a relationship," Dr. Kingsberg says. "If have a scowl on your face, that may carry over in your ability to relax and relate to your partner." Take a half hour to decompress before you get down to boot-knocking. Dr. Schiffman recommends lighting a candle or running a bath with a little mood music in the background. You could even whip up a few mocktails using fertility-friendly foods like watermelon or apricot puree for a deliciously romantic preamble.
Focus on foreplay
In addition to making time for intercourse that's not about baby making, make a priority of sexual connection where there's no endgame. "Massage and sensual touch are really important to maintain closeness and bond of couple so that sexuality doesn't become only about the goal of conceiving," Pressman says. And don't forget the lost art of kissing! A little PG action beforehand can make the X-rated stuff white-hot.
Remix the classics
Every couple has a few reliable positions that knock their socks off. "Improvise on old favorites by throwing in new moves like twisting your pelvis to maximize sensation," says Jill Blakeway, a licensed acupuncturist, co-owner of The YinOva Center in New York City, and co-author of Sex Again: Recharging Your Libido. You can also squeeze vaginal muscles in unexpected timing or switch up the angle of your legs (say, from bent to elevated) to shift your pelvis in more pleasurable direction. "Even staying perfectly still can be a major charge, as it builds anticipation," Blakeway says.
Don't be afraid to be lusty
"Some people think having a baby is supposed to be done out of love and that conditions are supposed to be perfect and pure," Dr. Schiffman notes. Unfortunately, this mentality makes for less-than-sizzling sessions in the bedroom. When your thoughts and feelings are a little too clinical, suggest a role-play that your partner likes or tell your partner about a fantasy you've always wanted to try. "You don't have to act them out to get your sexual feelings across," Dr. Schiffman says. But saying something deliciously out of character might remind you both why you wanted this sexy guy to put a bun in your oven in the first place.
Take a YOLO approach to your love life
If you've been putting off trying something new or indulgent, like experimenting with toys or taking a weekend away at a super-cute B&B, Stop. It. Right. Now. "Making time for sex is only going to get harder when you have kids," Pressman says. "You may as well go for broke now." Can't get away or afford sensual props? Simply switch up the place you get busy. If you've got a guest room, pop in there, or get down on the living room couch or sofa bed. Just don't forget to pull the blinds first...or maybe do, if that's what you're into.
Bond more outside of the bedroom
"Activities that stimulate your mind and body can also enhance sexual feelings, whether it's dancing, doing something athletic, or even taking a walk after a trip to the movies," Dr. Schiffman says. Equally important is making time to relax together. Enrolling in a couple's mind/body wellness class is ideal, but if that sounds too woo-woo, joining a sports league, taking tango lessons, or trying a wine tasting may do the trick. "And don't pass up big adventures like a trip to Machu Picchu just because you have a certain timeline for pregnancy," Pressman says. The key is to keep putting the two of you first, even if you hope to have a third on the way soon.
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