Menu

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.

$25

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).

$50

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.

$16

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.

$20

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

True

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The one thing your family needs to practice gratitude

And a tradition you'll want to keep for years.

Gracious Gobbler

I think I can speak for well, basically everyone on planet earth when I say things have been a bit stressful lately. Juggling virtual school, work and the weight of worry about all the things, it's increasingly difficult to take even a moment to be grateful and positive these days. It's far easier to fall into a grump cycle, nagging my kids for all the things they didn't do (after being asked nine times), snapping at their bickering and never really acknowledging the good stuff.

But the truth is, gratitude and appreciation is the kind of medicine we need now more than ever—and not just because the season is upon us. For one thing, practicing gratitude is a scientifically proven way to boost our happiness, health and relationships. More importantly, we need to ensure we're cultivating it in our children even when things are challenging. Especially when things are challenging.

I'm ready to crank the thankfulness up a few dozen notches and reboot our family's gratitude game so we can usher out 2020 on a fresh note. So, I've called in some reinforcements.

Enter: the Gracious Gobbler.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

From Adelia to Ziggy.

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play