I hate sex when I’m trying to conceive

It becomes so mechanical and monotonous

I hate sex when I’m trying to conceive

"Should we just...try?"

I remember asking my husband on New Year's eve a couple of years ago. We had a one-year-old, who happened to be a surprise pregnancy, and we were ready to expand our family with another baby.

So we tried. And I got pregnant on our first try. Except that pregnancy soon ended in a missed miscarriage, which left my heart aching like never before. Losing that baby made me realize how much I really wanted to have another little one in our family. After getting the okay from my doctor that we could resume having intercourse, things quickly changed from trying to actively wanting to get pregnant.

Turns out, there's a big difference between happily having unprotected sex when you think you might be ovulating (without putting much more thought into it), and monitoring absolutely everything that happens to your body.

I took my temperature every morning to see when I would be nearing my fertile window. On top of that I took frequent ovulation tests to make sure I wasn't missing those precious few days when you can get pregnant—and after that, I counted the days until I could take a pregnancy test to see if we had been successful. I logged every little symptom into an app. I checked Reddit's TCC page regularly to see if there were any tips on what else I could do. And—I'll say it—I even put my legs up in the air after sex, because who knows, maybe that's what we needed to be doing all along?

Unlike the first two tries, after the miscarriage we were not having much luck at getting pregnant.

And this is the thing a lot of people don't talk about: Trying and failing to get pregnant can make sex suck. This act that is intimate, exhilarating, sometimes even magical, suddenly becomes mechanical, planned and predictable. Mostly, it can stop being fun.

"We need to have sex tonight," I would announce to my husband, "actually, tonight, tomorrow and the day after just in case, so we don't miss the window." After months of negative tests the idea of having to initiate something so raw was demoralizing.

I wasn't enjoying it anymore. I don't think my husband was either. We had to have sex even if we didn't feel like it because that tiny window was closing super fast every single month. So it didn't matter if we were tired from running after our toddler, or if we had had a stressful day at work. It had to happen. And it sucked.

I wanted to enjoy sex—after all, it's one of the many things that made me choose my partner for the rest of our lives—but we were both feeling the pressure of what was supposed to happen afterward, that kept not happening for us.

Eventually, it did, which I know is not the case for everyone. Ironically, in our case, I got pregnant again the month I decided to stop tracking everything and take a break from trying to conceive. I wanted to enjoy the summer without this gray cloud that followed me everywhere, reminding me of what I couldn't achieve.

I got pregnant the first month I stopped tracking almost all my symptoms (I say "almost all" because I did sneak an ovulation test when I had a hunch something was happening).

So to the mama who is trying (and trying and trying and trying), I see you. I know how monotonous it can all get. I know how guilty you might be feeling about not loving this part of the journey. Whichever route life takes you through, know you are not alone, and I hope you can get to your destination soon, in the meantime, please try to remember that your pleasure matters, and you deserve to enjoy sex with your partner, no matter what else might happen as a result.

Here are some products that helped me in my journey in trying to conceive:

Maude silicone lubricant

MAUDE  Shine silicone lubricant

This lube added a little bit of fun into our sex life, while also enhancing comfort with a long-lasting lubrication.


Natalist prenatal vitamins 

NATALIST  Prenatal + Omega Duo

With all my pregnancies I started taking vitamins before I got a positive test result, to help my body prep to grow a human (or two).


Natalist pregnancy tests

NATALIST  Pregnancy Tests

I took SO many tests, and honestly, have no shame in doing so because it was what I needed to do. I'm a very anxious person and the 'wait and see if my period doesn't come' approach is not for me.


The Motherly Guide To Becoming Mama

The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama

I kept this book close at all times to reference when I needed it. It's written with so much love that it made me feel less alone during the hard days of the journey.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.


Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!


Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.


Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌


Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.


Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.


Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.


Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

It’s science: Vacations make your kids happy long after they’re over

Whether you're planning a quick trip to the lake or flying the fam to a resort, the results are the same: A happier, more connected family.

Whether you're looking for hotels or a rental home for a safe family getaway, or just punching in your credit card number to reserve a spot in a campground a couple of states over, the cost of vacation plans can make a mom wince. And while price is definitely something to consider when planning a family vacation, science suggests we should consider these trips—and their benefits—priceless.

Research indicates that family vacations are essential. They make our, kids (and us) happier and build bonds and memories.

Keep reading Show less

Errands and showers are not self-care for moms

Thinking they are is what's burning moms out.

A friend and I bump into each other at Target nearly every time we go. We don't pre-plan this; we must just be on the same paper towel use cycle or something. Really, I think there was a stretch where I saw her at Target five times in a row.

We've turned it into a bit of a running joke. "Yeah," I say sarcastically, "We needed paper towels so you know, I had to come to Target… for two hours of alone time."

She'll laugh and reply, "Oh yes, we were out of… um… paper clips. So here I am, shopping without the kids. Heaven!"

Now don't get me wrong. I adore my trips to Target (and based on the fullness of my cart when I leave, I am pretty sure Target adores my trips there, too).

But my little running joke with my friend is actually a big problem. Because why is the absence of paper towels the thing that prompts me to get a break? And why on earth is buying paper towels considered a break for moms?

Keep reading Show less