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 Couples who are trying to conceive are often instructed by their doctors to have timed sex. Apart from the fact that infertility treatment can take a physical and mental toll on patients, the one major fallout is that their sex drive takes a distinct hit. Before they started trying to conceive, sex was something they looked forward to and hopefully, it was a passionate way in which the couple would connect with each other.

Many couples also feel that when they eventually decide they want to have a baby, their sex lives get a little more thrilling as they don’t really have to worry about contraception. But as the days go by and the pregnancy test comes back negative, all of this changes. Though not many patients discuss this very openly during a consultation, some do ask me why it is that they now feel like sex is a chore?

The Reasons

If you feel that your sexual drive and your relationship with your partner have deteriorated, just know that you’re not alone. Take a look at how this occurs:

  • Sex Becomes Frustrating- When you are attempting to get pregnant, sex becomes a source of frustration; it’s a constant reminder of the fact that things are not working out the way they should have. This is how sex transitions from being a “stress reliever” to being the reason for the stress.
  • Having Sex Feels like a Chore- Sex during infertility is something that couples have to do to achieve a goal (one which seems like it’s impossible to achieve). When your doctor tells you to have sex on certain days and you have to time it for ovulation, it makes couples feel like they are told to complete some homework, rather than feeling like they are connecting with each other.
  • A Matter of Shame- Often, couples who are dealing with infertility confront feelings of shame- they feel unworthy of being attractive to their partner. Many women feel that infertility makes them feel less womanly and their bodies don’t feel attractive any longer- as they feel that they are “damaged” by infertility. Men too are impacted by the situation and it can impact their feelings of masculinity. Women tend to get depressed, while men struggle with feelings of shame.
  • Anxiety & Depression- These are very common in couples struggling with infertility and it takes a toll on their sexual relationship. Anxiety leads to sexual tension and depression results in a lower sexual desire.
  • Sexual Dysfunction- Studies indicate that both, men and women with infertility are much more likely to suffer from sexual dysfunction compared to their fertile counterparts. Men may end up suffering from erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation as well as performance anxiety.  Women may have problems with lubrication, because they are not sexually aroused, and are just going through the motions. This can cause dyspareunia ( pain during sex ), which can be a big trun-off.

The Bottom Line

The stress  of attempting to conceive, the diagnosis of infertility, and the tests as well as the treatment often leads to tension in a couple’s sexual relationship. The good news is that this doesn’t mean that the situation continues to stay that way forever. Once the couples succeed in getting pregnant, opt for adoption or choose to remain childfree; over time, their levels of marital & sexual satisfaction can improve to a great degree. So, even if things seem a little tough at the moment; once it’s over,  as it eventually will be- things can only get better !

Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!


Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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