I didn't know I was pregnant with my son until the three-month mark. Even though it was a wanted pregnancy, it was also an unplanned one. So I never went through the trials of trying to conceive (TTC). But I do have friends who did, and I know that it can complicated, frustrating, and beautiful all at the same time. And for some parents, the process can even be a big drag: According to a new study, most women put up with bad and unromantic sex in order to have kids.
On Wednesday, medical technology company Ava released the results of its 2017 International Fertility and TTC report, and the findings are startling, to say the least. According to Parents, more than half of U.S. and European women surveyed reported having inconvenient or unromantic sex in order to get pregnant. That number is significantly higher among American women, though; 72 percent of U.S. participants said they had dutiful sex while trying to conceive, compared to 29 percent of French women, 34 percent of German women, and 40 percent of Spanish women.
Ava co-founder Lea von Bidder said of the survey results in a statement,
Older methods of ovulation detection like BBT thermometers have tainted many women’s experience with cycle-tracking, reinforcing negative stereotypes about obligatory intercourse to conceive.
What's more: 47 percent of women in the United States said they had convince a partner to have sex in order to try to conceive, according to the study. That's 11 percent higher than the global average.
On the other hand, Ava found that European women are less likely to look forward to TTC sex. Specifically, an average 66 percent said that timing sex in order to take advantage of ovulation "takes the fun out of it." This feeling was most prevalent among Spanish and French women (74 percent and 86 percent, respectively).
In a lot of ways, these findings are disheartening and discouraging. That's because they're reflective of a society that continually forces people — particularly women — to have kids, even if they don't want to be a parent. In fact, according to a 2012 University of Nebraska study, women who chose to be child-free face the most pressure to bear children (though they feel the less stress about not being mothers).
If you look at Ava's findings, it seems for some of these couples who want kids, trying to conceive becomes a chore. People are denying themselves pleasure — and ultimately sacrificing their sex lives — in order to fulfill someone else's demand. And that seems to be more of a phenomenon in America than anywhere else.
As Julie Spiers, market manager for Ava Europe, said in a statement:
The stereotype of couples jumping into bed to take advantage of a woman’s ovulation seems to have some basis in reality based on our findings. However, it’s interesting to see the contrast between the 72% of American women who admitted having unromantic sex in order to take advantage of the fertile window, versus only 29% of French women. It’s unclear whether French women are simply less willing to have sex when it doesn’t feel romantic, or more able to get in the mood at the drop of a hat than American women.
The main reason I didn't try to conceive was because I have polycystic ovary syndrome. Getting pregnant is difficult when you're living with PCOS, so I planned to wait until I had the condition well managed. So I don't know what the process of trying to conceive feels like, and all the stress and pain that comes with it. But what I do know is that couples shouldn't ignore their desires for an end result that will ruin your sex life anyways. Sure, you want a child. You might as well have fun while getting there.
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