3 steps to rekindle passion after surviving the not-so-sexy reality of fertility treatments or pregnancy loss.
You were eagerly anticipating the wild food cravings, the feeling of tiny feet kicking inside your belly, strangers rushing to hold the door for you, and women in public restrooms insisting you go next; because pregnancy and peeing go together like chips and
After ditching the contraception, fantasies of the sacred, tender, passionate, sex that lead to the creation of a tiny bundle of joy, filled your dreams.
Only things didn’t go as planned. passion
Month after month there was the absence of the celebratory line on the pregnancy test, or there was a line that turned into devastating news.
Maybe there were fertility treatments. Maybe you opted for adoption. Maybe it (finally) happened on its own. Or maybe you managed to release your dream and let life be as it is.
It’s been one hell of a roller coaster.
You’re not alone. According to the National Survey of Family Growth, 1 in 8 couples in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.
Not only is the aftermath a major stressor on your marriage, it can also bleed into your sex life.
The nuances and data associated with a couples relationship vary per study, but research shows that the rate for which couples who undergo fertility treatments or pregnancy loss can be as high as three times more likely to divorce. What’s more, if couples do manage to stay together, there could be additional feelings of diminished self-worth, shame, disconnection from family, friends and colleagues and sexual dysfunction (Burnette, 2009).
What’s the good news?
There are steps you can you take today to rekindle the passion you remember so well:
1) With the help of a qualified therapist, identify what gets in the way of having passionate sex and work towards overcoming those barriers.
One common barrier is the use of psychological defense mechanisms to avoid the painful feelings. According to sex therapist and researcher Gina Ogden, three common sexual defense mechanisms are dissociation, denial and rigid armoring. Briefly stated, Dissociating during sex is when a person is distracted or mentally “checked-out” during sex. Denial is when a person dismisses the importance of sex, or that sexual desire exists. Lastly, rigid armoring can manifest as a lack of physical intensity or sexual ecstasy, which is replaced by physical stress and tension (Ogden, 2008).
2) Get creative and stop looking at intercourse as the only way to have sex.
According to sex therapist Marty Klein, penis-vagina intercourse has disadvantages including; it requires an erection as well as the use of birth control. Oftentimes, it’s not the most effective way for a woman to climax. Also, it can be physically painful for one or both partners and it isn’t always intimate (Klein, 2013).
3) Start researching innovative ways to have sex.
One such way is what Nicole Daedone calls “slow sex” that is applied through a process called “orgasmic meditation” or “OM.” OMing sees sex as an art. Daedone states, OMing leads to increased and enhanced sexual sensation, a deepening connection to your partner, an increased interest in sex, reduced anxiety concerning sexual performance and a built in convenience factor (Daedone, 2011).
In essence, the process of healing and recreating a sexual bond with your partner is possible. It could be one of those “for better or worse” agreements you made before you had a real-world experience of what those words mean.
In any case, applying this three-step process; overcoming barriers, getting creative with what you know or trying something new, can be a helpful way to rekindle the passion after undergoing the heartbreaking experience of infertility or pregnancy loss.
Written by Julie Schmit, MA, LAMFT
Legal Disclaimer- These are potential benefits and there is no guarantee that they will be achieved. Relationship enhancement is dependent entirely on the people seeking relationship help and not Julie Schmit or Jumpstart Counseling Studio.
©2017 Julie Schmit, Shakti Bodyworks, LLC, DBA Jumpstart Counseling Studio
Burnett, J. A. (2009). Cultural considerations in counseling couples who experience infertility. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development. 37, 166-177.
Daedone, N. (2011). Slow sex: The art and craft of female orgasm. New York, NY: Grand Central Life and Style.
Klein, M. (2012). Sexual Intelligence. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
Ogden, G. (2008). The return of desire. Boston, MA: Trumpeter Books.
National Survey for Family Growth. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nsfg/key_statistics/i.htm#infertility, 2011-2013).
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