WHAT do you do when trying for a baby has worn your sex life thin? You ask Love Doctor Gabrielle Morrissey.
Q: We've been trying for a baby unsuccessfully for five years. Now I have no interest in sex at all. It is putting a lot of pressure on my marriage. Please help, what can I do to get in the mood?
A: When you spend a large amount of time and focus having sex for procreation purposes, the sex for recreation you share together very often can fall by the wayside.
Sex together has a mission, a specific purpose, and if you spend too much time having that kind of functional sex, without enjoyment or even a desire necessarily for pleasure, you can create a situation - which you find yourself in - where sex becomes redefined, and while it can be difficult to make the switch back to enjoyment, it is definitely possible, so do please try to remain hopeful and proactive in your love life.
When you've been having sex to make a baby, and after years and years it hasn't worked, sex can feel not just passionless or lacking in pleasure, but also a bit sad too.
The hope, the frustration, the earnest desire or desperation for a baby can linger in the room and pop up in memories and feelings as you go to try to have sex now.
That's a libido killer for sure.
So if you've closed the chapter on conceiving yourselves, and are either not trying for a child at all, or looking at other avenues such as adoption or surrogacy, then you can reclaim your sex life together as one for recreation only and leave procreation behind.
To move forward in this new frame of mind, several things have to happen, and you can work on them in a timeframe that feels comfortable to you.
Don't rush the process or create pressure on yourself because it will only backfire and have you dreading sex rather than becoming excited about the prospect.
Give yourself time to heal
Moving on from the idea of you and your husband conceiving a baby through your lovemaking can be a difficult and painful desire to let go of.
Acknowledge you may feel a little sad always, but tell yourself that sex is not a reflection of the love you share together and a space to relax and enjoy and block out the stresses of life and release into moments of feeling good.
This is important for you, for everyone, and it's your right.
Change your bedroom
Shake away the memories by creating a new atmosphere in your bedroom.
Change the bedding, the lighting, some decor.
You don't have to make it sexier if you don't want to (but that might be a good thing to think about).
The important piece is that you make a change.
Create a new atmosphere for new memories and experiences together.
Spend affectionate time together both on date nights as well as at home together doing nothing special, without an expectation of sex
Decrease the pressure that can feel like every time you touch one another it must mean you're suddenly in the mood for sex.
Allow yourself to slowly warm back up to the idea of touch, desire and arousal.
Go on a romantic getaway weekend
Really change the scene, but rather than put the emphasis on the hotel room and sex, make it a fun weekend away to reconnect together and rediscover yourselves as a couple, rather than a family in the making.
Self pleasure or engage in pleasure together, without intercourse necessarily
You've spent years having intercourse for a purpose and your sexual response has been conditioned to equate intercourse with a purpose other than enjoyment.
Allow yourself to receive massages and stimulating touch and practice just blanking your mind out to any thoughts except for those that tell you "Ah this feels goooood".
When negative thoughts interrupt, or you feel anxious or upset, then stop and take a break.
Try again another time.
Enable your body to associate touch, sensuality and sex only with feeling good.
With practice and patience, pleasure will return to you and then so will the desire to have more sex for the love of it and not any result from it.