Today’s post is a guest post from our regular contributor, Ally, from A Home Called Shalom. Enjoy!
Let’s talk about sex.
(Probably not what you were expecting this lovely morning, but stick with me, here).
One of the most difficult things about infertility is how complex it is. Dealing with infertility affects so much more than family planning- it involves your emotions, your faith, relationships, health, self-care, self-esteem, marriage… and it even affects sex.
That one surprised me.
Lots of couples who are walking this hard road of infertility face issues when it comes to their sex lives. Perhaps there’s a physical problem that makes sex impossible, or makes it uncomfortable. Or maybe they’re just tired of scheduled, over-planned sex. Intimacy has lost something, somehow. It’s become a chore.
About a year into our infertility journey, I was disappointed and hurting. It was obvious that I wasn’t ovulating, that my body wasn’t working… and when it came to sex, I felt like there just wasn’t a point. Why did sex matter, anyway? It wasn’t productive. It wasn’t fruitful.
That’s where I was wrong.
Sex is meant to be procreative. Sex was designed to produce babies. It’s just the basic biology of the thing. When something gets in the way of that procreative design (like, well, infertility), it can seem like sex has lost it’s purpose.
But there’s more to sex than babies. Sex was also designed to be unitive– to unite a husband and wife. In most marriages, if you go too long without some physical intimacy, you notice a strain on the relationship. We, as married couples, need that uniting bond, that closeness, that’s found through sex. It’s an important aspect of our marriages!
When I put too much emphasis on the procreative side, my attitude toward intimacy with my husband changes. It becomes a chore. It becomes planned and routine and not much fun.
Sex wasn’t meant to be a means to an end. It’s a beautiful gift- to bond a marriage, and ideally, to bring new life into that marriage.
Yeah, it’s sad and it really sucks that infertility gets in the way of the creation of new life. I’m there right now. In that sucky part. I’d like my sex life, and my marriage, to be marvelously procreative.
But I also know that infertility, as awful as it is, can either be a part of destroying my relationship with my husband, or can help to build it up. And I choose to fight to build up our marriage through this time- by working to ensure that infertility doesn’t affect my marriage bed.**
**A Note: While I’m trying to make sure that the unitive side of sex has the biggest priority in my marriage bed, I also know that sometimes, it just doesn’t work. Sometimes I’m so disappointed, so hurting, so sad about a negative test result, a pregnancy announcement from a friend, or what have you, that physical intimacy just doesn’t happen. Intimacy, in those times, often takes on the side of emotional intimacy, not physical.
And in those times, I give myself grace. I let myself cry, be sad, and feel unsexy (read- puffy eyes, bloated, runny nose…)– and then in a day or so, with a lot of God’s help, I pick myself up and move on… and I soon find myself needing that physical intimacy with that hubby of mine.
If you’re looking for more encouragement during infertility, be sure to check out my book, 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility.