The Truth About Having Great Baby-Making Sex

Are you getting frustrated with limited positions and scheduling sex for conception? Find out how baby-making sex can be as enjoyable as ever.

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Basal thermometers. Ovulation predictor kits. Cervical mucus. Are you hot yet? If not, you're not alone. While baby-making sex sounds great in theory (no worrying about birth control!), couples who've been there are more likely to describe it as "mechanical," "unromantic," and "a big turnoff."

The truth is, while the idea of having unprotected sex for the sake of making a baby may sound great in theory, the reality is not always as magical. Read on for more about what some couples experience, why it's important to have a realistic view of sex for conception, and some tips for making baby-making sex better for both of you.

When Reality Doesn't Meet Expectations

Sex without restraint should be more enjoyable, not less, right? So what's the problem? Well, as one partner explained, it turns out that baby-making sex may actually feel less spontaneous and more, well, scheduled.

"When we threw away the condoms, I thought that meant we'd get to have spontaneous, uninhibited sex," he said. "Instead it was just the opposite. We had to schedule intercourse to correspond with my wife's ovulation, and limit ourselves to a couple of positions because they offered maximum penetration."

Others echo the sentiment: "I wanted it to be a beautiful thing—that we loved each other enough to create a baby together," said one parent-to-be. "But the reality was more like some weird science experiment."

Everyone's experience of baby-making sex, of course, but for anyone who is feeling less-than-enthused lately about getting it on for the sake of making a baby, here are some tips and advice to help you feel less alone (and keep your eye on the prize of parenthood!).

What an Expert Says

While baby-making sex may be different from what you had expected or hoped for, the good news is that you're not alone in your feelings, and it may help to adjust your view of what you are going through.

According to psychotherapist Lenore Pomerance, LCSW, the key to a better sex life on the journey to parenthood could lie in learning to separate fertility from sexuality. "There's a vast difference between sex for pleasure and sex for conception, and couples who recognize this can avoid blaming, feeling guilty, or getting turned off by sex for conception," she says.

Pomerance points out that this separation is most essential when your efforts aren't immediately successful. "I've had couples express fears that they couldn't get pregnant because the sex wasn't good enough, or the love failed—which, of course, has nothing to do with fertility," she says. "When partners start feeling flawed or inadequate because they haven't conceived right away, they grow depressed and their sexual feelings are affected."

Fortunately, conceiving successfully doesn't have anything to do with "good" sex, but if you are looking for some tips to make the process more enjoyable, Pomerance has some ideas for you too.

Tips for Better Baby-Making Sex

For some couples, baby-making sex may be different from purely-for-pleasure sex, but that doesn't mean you can't make the most of having sex to conceive. Here are Pomerance's top three tips for better baby-making sex.

1. Start learning about "reality sex"

Whatever expectations you may have had about what your baby-making sex "should" look like, it's time to let those ideas go. Instead, just hop on for the ride.

Couples who are disappointed by baby-making sex are often hanging on to a fantasy about what lovemaking is 'supposed' to be—romantic, spontaneous, always satisfying, and not requiring communication or effort to get or stay that way," Pomerance says. "The reality is that sex can be many, many things. If a couple is connected enough emotionally and physically, they can let go of the fantasy and learn how to make the reality feel good."

2. Keep your sense of humor

Viewed objectively, sex, conception, and becoming a parent are three of the funniest conditions in the human experience. Couples who can laugh at themselves often end up closer, sexually and otherwise, than they were before trying to conceive.

One new mom who had to undergo two years of fertility treatments says that laughter is what got her through: "In spite of all our best efforts, we ended up having to conceive by intrauterine insemination. If we hadn't been able to joke about the 'turkey baster,' we'd probably be divorced now instead of expecting our second child."

3. Have spontaneous sex the rest of the month

By definition, you can only have baby-making sex during the three- to five-day window when you're fertile each cycle. That leaves nearly four weeks for recreational fun! Try to get in some tender lovemaking as well as swinging from the chandelier. Or, practice other forms of intimacy, like cuddling or massage.

And take time to share your feelings about your sexual connection. Couples who start working to keep it healthy now reap big benefits when they become parents. Remember, sex isn't just about the physical. If you start the habit of open communication now, it can only come in handy when your sex life will go through some additional challenges through parenthood.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Stein, CNM

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