When you first start trying to conceive, sex can feel fun and adventurous. You’re embarking on a new journey together and a sense of excitement surrounds it. But if conception doesn’t happen as quickly as you hoped it would, sex can start to feel like a frustrating chore. Where sex was once a way to connect with your partner, the stress of trying to conceive can turn it into a wall between you. But you don’t have to let this be the case. There are ways you can ignite your sexual desire and spice things up in the bedroom, all while trying to conceive.

Make communication a top priority

Trying to conceive (TTC) can bring up a lot of hard feelings for both partners. If you’re struggling with being aroused during sex, not having any sexual desire, or trouble reaching orgasm, don’t keep those things to yourself.

It’s unlikely that these problems will get resolved on their own and keep them bottled up can lead to feelings of resentment towards your partner. Talk outside of the bedroom and even more importantly, listen. Encourage your partner to be open and honest about how they feel and respect that by trying to really listen to what they are saying.

One thing that is important to understand is how difficult it can be to talk about these things, especially if you feel shame or guilt around infertility. But the best way to work through feelings of shame is to address them head on.

If communicating with your partner feels scary or hard, consider seeing a counselor. A professional can help you work through your feelings together and leave you feeling stronger and more connected. Ultimately, if you want to be parents together, it’s critical to learn how to communicate well.

Have sex just for the pleasure of it

Charting your ovulation and planning sex is effective, yes, but at what price? It can start to feel obligatory, instead of optional. And nothing is less sexy than feeling like you have to do something. Reignite your sexual desire by having sex when you feel like it, not when you’re supposed to.

Try to have sex 3 to 4 times a week, but only when the mood strikes. If you or your partner don’t feel like it one day, give yourselves a break. Taking the pressure off can help you want to have sex more often, increasing your chances of getting pregnant (even if you aren’t having intercourse on your most fertile day).

Having sex when it’s unlikely that you’ll get pregnant can help add pleasure back into the equation.

Skip sex entirely

Another approach is to take sex off the table (temporarily). We always want what we can’t have, so skipping intercourse for a few days or a week can really spark desire. This will work even better if you switch the focus from having sex to foreplay. Send each other sexy texts, go on a date, or even spend some time apart. These things might not sound like foreplay but being hands off can have you ready to rip each other’s clothes off in no time.

Focus on intimacy (instead of only to conceive)

Sex is only one way of being intimate. When you’re trying to conceive, it can stop feeling passionate or connected. The easiest way to overcome this is to focus on being intimate in ways that you can’t get pregnant from.

Having a full on makeout session, massaging each other, or engaging in sexual acts that don’t involve intercourse can be a great way to enjoy being with each other, without the pressure of getting pregnant.

But, of course, intimacy isn’t purely physical. Many women need to feel emotionally connected before they feel physically turned on. Take some time to talk to each other, go on a date, or exercise together. These things can make you feel more like a team. Just don’t try to make them lead to sex. Emotional intimacy can be a prerequisite but it doesn’t have to be a means to an end.

Switch things up

Just like the myth that you can only conceive in the missionary position is totally false, so is the idea that trying to conceive destines you to have boring sex. If you’ve been having sex in the bedroom, move the party into the living room. Look at your home like a blank canvas and get creative.

Now is also a good time to explore any sexual fantasies you’ve kept up your sleeve. Tell your partner about your sexual desires and ask him about his. Even if you don’t act on your fantasy, talking about sex can turn you on. Switching things up in the bedroom (and outside of it) can help you reconnect with your partner and yourself, and make trying to conceive a lot more exciting.

Your sex life doesn’t have to go out the window just because you’re trying to have a baby. In fact, this time can be used to explore a deeper emotional connection and reinvigorate your sex life.

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