Fertility

Sex while TTC – let’s reframe it

Jessie Day, in partnership with YES and AH!YES  |  24 Nov 2022


For many, many people, the realisation dawns around two months in to trying to conceive (TTC). You’ve come off birth control, or stopped actively preventing a pregnancy. You ‘tried’ – how weird that can sound – last month, but your period arrived as normal. You’re here. You’re ready to go. But wow – it feels a bit odd. A bit ‘organised’? A bit, well, forced.

Se while TTC can be like that. But shifting perspective (and giving ourselves a break, emotionally), can really help.

Intimacy, your sex life, and TTC

Forced not in the physical sense – it should never, ever, be that – but in terms of your emotional connection, and drive or desire. These are the aspects of our sex life – the crucial aspects – which help us feel in the mood and physically ready for sex.

So what can we do, when we’re starting to calendar-watch, rather than go for it instinctively? When we’re wrapped up in the TTC scheduling, rather than each other? Or, when we do fancy sex and are showing up, but find it physically uncomfortable.

The answer is, a whole lot. Here’s our guide to reframing sex while TTC, put together with the intimate health experts, YES YES (and USA sister brand AH! YES), who just happen to make the most gorgeous, organic intimate health products for you to explore, choose and play with, wherever you are in your sex life.

YES-AH-YES-lubricant-sex-when-TTC-bedsheets

1. Remember, it’s normal to find trying … ‘trying’

This is so important. You are not alone. Millions of people right now, across the world, are trying for a baby. And sex, when you’re trying, can be a total chore. We feel you.

Collaborating with YES YES and AH! YES, we put a few polls to our amazing TRB Insta community (all 49K of you). When asked whether sex is still ‘fun’, while TTC, 32% said it wasn’t. Reframing slightly, we asked whether it’s still a ‘positive’ part of your life. 16% said ‘no’.

Very few of us would describe our TTC sex life as super-fun. Almost a third of respondents reassured us that we’re not alone, on that point. But 16% confirmed it really can be a pretty difficult – negative, even – experience. We asked the community to tell us one word which sums up their feelings about sex while TTC. From

‘exhausting’ to ‘orchestrated’, the same words popped up time and again.

Don’t feel ashamed about feeling turned-off, when you’re under some cycle-related pressure to feel turned on. So many of us feel the same as you. It’s the season we’re in.

2. Keep tracking out of the bedroom

Yes, we need to track our fertility. Or rather, we do if we want to nail down ovulation, and when we’re most likely to conceive. But there’s a difference between observing symptoms, tracking using a fertility monitor and being aware of where our body’s at, and obsessively rifling backwards through our calendar app, working out which day is ‘the day’ and texting our partner to make sure they’re up to speed. No judgement – we’ve done it too. A lot.

Our Insta polls revealed tracking to be one of the biggest anxieties, when TTC. Respondents highlighted general pressure from tracking, alongside decreased sex drive, loss of spontaneity, confusion over timing and – interestingly – a reliance on women to track, leading to further pressure, and even resentment.

World-renowned fertility expert Zita West recommends understanding your cycle, and fertility, but from there it’s about having ‘plenty of sex’, rather than tracking. She recommends having sex at least three times a week.

That’s our guide, and we’re sticking to it. And actually, there’s something sexy about knowing you’re heading into a fertile space, and initiating a good few times, for a week or so. Not so much an angry, ‘we have to do it every day this week’ mentality, especially when it’s not just for fun.

Fertility Help

3. You are stronger and more connected, by your fertility story

Feeling we’re ‘letting each other down’. Lack of confidence. Being defeated. Multiple miscarriages, absent periods, anatomical issues. Hardcore medications.

A complete loss of control.

Heartbreakingly, infertility itself and the sadness which comes with it, is an almost universal blocker for so many people having sex while TTC. It can be extremely difficult to work up the desire for sex, especially when the trauma is this close to home.

Rather than desire, though, think intimacy. You’ve been through so much, together, and know each other inside-out. Intimacy celebrates that. Start with touch, and talk, and see how you go. If you need some time off TTC to find that groove and focus on each other, and arousal for pleasure’s sake, do it.

Easy to say, we know. But tried, tested and recommended on the team here, one hundred per cent.

4. Lots of people feel ‘dry’, while TTC

It’s crucial to state, right up front, that vaginal dryness – also known as ‘vaginal atrophy’ – is a really common problem and affects around 80% of women at some point in their lives, according to YES YES and AH! YES.

Dryness or atrophy is often caused by changes in hormone levels – you might notice it when you switch contraceptive methods, or during menopause, for example. But it’s also caused by non-hormonal factors – one of the most common being lack of arousal during sex. And if you’re having sex on a schedule, purely for TTC purposes, lack of arousal can be a problem.

Lack of arousal can prevent your body from secreting its natural lubricative fluid – the ‘wetness’ we’re going for, when having sex. This can cause:

  • painful sex
  • bleeding during or after sex
  • uncomfortable friction, and/or tissue damage in the vagina or cervix

It can easily become a painful, frustrating situation. You’re having sex to get pregnant, but the pressure is impacting arousal, with less inclination for foreplay and, all round, less natural lubrication. This is causing dryness, and even less drive for sex, which is heaping more pressure on your sex life. Sounds familiar?

Let’s reframe. Yes, it’s frustrating. And that’s largely down to discomfort. Discomfort is something you can absolutely address. Make a promise to yourself today, and try:

  • adding more foreplay ahead of sex
  • removing any perfumed soaps from your self-care routine, if you haven’t already
  • exploring a new, water-based lubricant during sex (read up for all the details on what to look for, in a gorgeous, fertility-friendly lube)

5. Most of you would use lube (or already do)

Curious to try lube? Yes. A bit unsure about buying it or, introducing the idea to your partner and sex life? Absolutely. But, here’s the thing. 

  1. You can buy natural, intensely-hydrating, pleasure-enhancing personal lubricants in-store or online, however suits you – we’re obsessed with this one from YES YES and AH! YES right now
  2. 40% of our Insta poll respondents said they’d try a good lubricant, and 35% said they already do. You’re in good company, people. So there’s no reason to be embarrassed, throw dryness to the wind, and try a water-based, fertility-friendly lube
  3. Lubricants like these really do tackle dryness and atrophy, whatever stage you’re at in your sex life. Glycerine (a common lube ingredient) has been shown to worsen dryness, so steer clear of that, and look to brands like YES YES and AH! YES for sensuous, silky texture, discomfort relief, replenished natural moisture and, well, pleasure that’s yours to keep 

See lube as self-care, for your relationship and sex life. It’s pretty easy, with products this lovely on the menu.

YES-AH-YES-lubricant-sex-when-TTC

6. Talk to your partner

Beyond keeping them up-to-speed on tracking, ovulation, BBT, TTC and goodness knows what, make space in your chat for proper communication, and connection. 

75% of respondents to our polls said they can talk to their partner about these topics – including interesting chats like adding lube into your intimacy. But 21% said they couldn’t talk about it, which is heartbreaking to know. This is a shared journey, and remember, you have the rest of your sex lives ahead of you. Invest in that now, and find a way back in, to each other. 

It’s amazing how much better sex can be, after an evening of talking, laughing (if you can) and sharing. Add some beautiful silky-smooth lube right before (no-one has to know, not even your partner), and wonderful things can happen. 

Get 20% off YES and AH!YES products with the code TRB20.

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