Sex can be described in many ways — exhilarating, sensual, wonderful, thrilling. But when the end goal of the act is to make a baby, sometimes those adjectives just go right out the window, leaving you to wonder how to make sex exciting when you're trying to conceive. Is it even possible between all of the scheduling and timing and testing? Will your sex life ever feel sexy again?
“Scheduled sex is inevitable if you’re trying to conceive. Unfortunately, this arrangement can cause undue stress for many couples. Many couples lose interest in sex because they feel that it has become a chore,” Dainis Graveris, a certified sex educator and relationship expert at SexualAlpha, tells Romper. “You can avoid these feelings by not thinking of planned sex as a chore. Think of scheduling sex as something that you and your partner can look forward to.”
All of the worry and stress that come with trying to conceive (especially if you're struggling to) can be an absolute mood-killer no matter how hot your sex life was before you decided to start trying for a baby. You can have the best relationship ever and trying to get pregnant can still put a damper on your sex life. Luckily, it is completely possible to spice things up while you're in the thick of it so that you actually can look forward to getting down again.
Build The Anticipation
When you know ahead of time exactly when you need to have sex, you can use the time beforehand to build anticipation. Graveris says that one way to do this is to text your significant other sexy photos or messages to build things up. “You can also build anticipation for yourself by using your imagination,” Graveris says. “Boost your sex drive by fantasizing throughout the day.”
Focus On Relaxation
To help yourself get in the mood, physical therapist and behavioral breathing analyst Patricia Ladis tells Romper that shifting your focus to something that relaxes you can help. “I am not a fan of harping on the ovulation kits and scheduling talks or times to make love. In my experience, it delays conception as many get wrapped up in their heads and worries get accelerated,” she says. “The best, most successful conceptions are free and relaxed. The stress of not conceiving after months can weigh couples down and, as a result, can decrease chances of conceiving.”
Connect In An Intimate, Non-Sexual Way
“I have found that talking about the future baby, visualizing the experience and talking about it really allows you to connect with your heart and envision the beautiful journey ahead,” Ladis says. “This naturally awakens your love and connection with your partner in an intimate way.”
Try going on a date without the expectation that you’ll have sex afterward. You may just surprise yourself and wind up having a heart-to-heart that gets you in a headspace to connect better sexually.
“When either of you is not in the mood to have sex when the right time comes, that’s fine,” Graveris says. “Make time for your relationship and connect in a non-sexual way. Talk about each other’s day and how you are both feeling. Some one-on-one time with your partner can help you emotionally connect and, in turn, sexually connect.”
Ditch The Schedule
When sex starts to feel like a chore because you’re timing out each and every session, try doing it outside of your ovulation window. “Don’t just have sex when you’re TTC,” Graveris tells Romper. “Continue to have more sex beyond your ovulation window. Having more sex not only increases your desire but also makes it feel less like a chore — quickies, anyone?"
Be Spontaneous & Do It Somewhere New
“I always recommend a change of scenery if it has been months — a vacation, checking into a hotel for an evening, or being spontaneous in another part of the home,” Ladis says. “Changing the mindset to be more joyful, playful, and excited around each other is key to prevent things feeling forced.”
Does your partner look especially hot after cleaning the kitchen? Take advantage of that feeling and engage in sex right then and there. Trying to conceive can make you hyper-focused on getting the timing of sex just right and all of that scheduling can be a real drag. Bring back the heat by dropping everything when the mood strikes and going at it instead of sticking just to your schedule.
Sometimes, the stress of trying to get pregnant can put such a strain on your sex life that sex with your partner can feel like a chore. The key here is that you're clearly not going to enjoy sex if you're worried about whether or not that act is actually going to result in an eventual baby. Taking some time to explore your body on your own and find the joy in reaching a climax that isn't tied to conception can help.
Experiment With Different Positions & Toys
If TTC has put a damper on your bedroom romps, using sex toys and experimenting with different sex positions to kick things up a notch can help. “Try as many sex positions as you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment,” Graveris says. “Invest in sex toys to make the experience more pleasurable now and in the long run.”
Try Something New
Forget for a night that you and your partner are having sex to try to make a baby. One easy way to get out of your own head about TTC is to pretend you're someone else altogether by engaging in role play. “Don’t be afraid to try something new,” Graveris suggests. “Having sex while TTC should not be a do-or-die situation. Keep things light, communicate, and be patient with each other.”
Don’t Skip Foreplay & Teasing
When you're TTC, having sex can often become routine. Sometimes this could lead you to skip foreplay altogether just for the sake of getting down to business at the right time. If you're in a rut like this, try to focus more on foreplay and teasing one another to really hone in on all of those incredible sensations.
“Make the most of your romantic time. Don’t bypass foreplay. When you make more time for foreplay, you allow yourself to get in the mood,” Graveris says. “Foreplay helps individuals get in the right headspace. It allows couples to connect better. Never disregard your pleasure and connection so that you can get sex done.”
“On days where you need to have sex, he can alert you using a funny note or a sarcastic and sexy text,” Graveris says. “It shows you that your partner is paying attention, and you’re not the only one who wants to make things happen.” Because talking about TTC can feel like it’s putting a damper on things, try using humor to lessen the blow and lighten the mood.
“Add a bit of humor and honesty in your conversations about when to have sex while TTC. Many couples feel more connected when they joke about these things,” Graveris recommends. “When you joke about scheduled sex to be less than amazing, it can deepen your bond with your partner, allowing you to enjoy more passionate and spontaneous sex as it comes.”
Dainis Graveris, certified sex educator, relationship expert at SexualAlpha
Patricia Ladis, PT, CBBA, founder @wisebodypt and co-author of The Wise Woman’s Guide to Your Healthiest Pregnancy and Birth