For years I edited a magazine, Conceive, for women who wanted to be moms. Not surprisingly, what readers wanted to know most was how to get pregnant, as quickly as possible. After that, they wanted to know what to do when they couldn’t get pregnant quickly. And then there was the third big concern: How the hell can you keep your sex life fun when your trysts seem more dictated by the ovulation calendar than genuine lust?
In the never-ending search for the answer to that question, I called up Dr. Diana Hoppe, M.D., a California gynecologist and author of Healthy Sex Drive, Healthy You (Health Reflections Press, 2010).
Q: Couples who are trying to get pregnant obviously have to make sure they have sex around the time of ovulation, but what about sex the rest of the time? Should they be trying to have a sex life that doesn’t revolve around conceiving, too?
A: Yes, that’s important, because otherwise it’s a lot of pressure on them, and that causes stress.
Q: So if you try to keep your sex life as normal as possible most of the time, then it isn’t so stressful when it’s ovulation time?
A: Exactly. Men and women deal with stress differently; women under stress are affected more acutely than men. You want to decrease stress to the lowest limit and make sex part of your life. It’s fun, it’s healthy. If you’re having sex all month long, then it’s not as much pressure when you have to have sex a little more frequently around the time of ovulation.
Q: Obviously men need to have an orgasm to get their partners pregnant, but women really don’t have to do anything but lie there. Is it important that women enjoy sex-for-conception, too?
A; Mother Nature helps us to get in the mood by increasing estrogen and testosterone levels around ovulation. So women are thinking about sex more, wanting it more.
Q: But what if the time is right but you’re NOT in the mood?
A: Things like exercising, improving sleeping habits, and connecting with others can help women manage stress and up their libidos. Be with your partner, relax with your partner, eat meals together, spend some time together. Some couples have totally different schedules, then it’s ovulation time. But they’ve been living more like roommates. You can put the romance back into it, but it will take a little effort. Take a look at your life? Are you running around like a chicken with its head cut off? Would you want to bring a baby into your life like that? Focus on yourself, your partner. . . and your desire to get pregnant.