Sound familiar? Before you decided to make a baby, sex was fun, spontaneous, rejuvenating, soul-connecting. But after even a few months of trying to conceive, intimacy can quickly feel like a regular chore to be checked off the list if your party of two is ever going to become a party of three. Still, sex with the epic goal of baby-making in mind doesn’t need to be all business, no pleasure—you’ll just need a bit of strategy to maintain your connection.
One way to restore all the good stuff to #Conceivinghood sex: Knowing exactly which days are your potential fertility jackpot days by using an ovulation test from Clearblue® right from the start so you know exactly when to double down on your efforts. In addition to increasing the odds, you’ll get pregnant sooner; understanding when you’re in your fertile window can also help you better connect with your partner during all the times you’re not. Here are six expert-backed suggestions for how to make sex more fun when you’re trying to conceive:
1. Have sex outside your fertility window.
So, your Clearblue® ovulation test tells you you’re in your fertile window, and you run to the bedroom—as you should. Baby-making can take a while—1 in 5 couples take more than 12 months to get pregnant—so paying close attention to your body, and taking advantage of fertile times, is key. But according to Natalie Finegood Goldberg, an LA-based psychotherapist, certified sex therapist, and clinical director of Creating Change LA, it’s important to stoke the flames when you’re not ovulating, too.
“The more you focus on having sex only during the fertile window, the more your brain and body associate sex with baby-making, and you forget about the pleasurable and fun part,” Goldberg says. “It doesn’t have to be intercourse, but some kind of sexual intimacy outside the fertile window helps remind your body sex doesn’t have to be all business.”
Struggling to keep the romance alive? Get creative. If there’s something you’ve wanted to try but were hesitant to—lingerie, new positions, even different lighting—Goldberg says now’s the perfect time to add it to your routine, as long as both partners are excited about it. “Sex for conception has this added layer of work to it, so it’s important to infuse it with creativity and things that take it up a notch,” she says.
And don’t be embarrassed to bring up your fantasies to your partner. Goldberg says couples tend to make assumptions about what their partner is or isn’t into, without taking into account that people’s sexual desires change. For example, one thing may have been off-limits five years ago, but now your partner could be more open.
One of Goldberg’s favorite ways to help her clients spice things up is having them write a “yes/no/maybe” list—essentially, a list of sexual experiences you would and wouldn’t try (and the ones you’re on the fence about). You’ll learn more about your partner in the process—and you’ll have some menu options when you need some inspiration in the moment.
3. Reduce stress in other areas.
Sex might not feel so fun when you’re thinking about whether or not you’ll get a positive pregnancy test two weeks down the line. One solution? Work on reducing your stress levels outside of the bedroom. Talk to friends about how you’re feeling during your conception journey, try to get exercise and ample sleep, and practice yoga or meditation to boost your well-being. “All these things are good for your body anyway, and they can be really helpful for your sex life, too,” Goldberg says.
4. Open up to your partner.
Not in the mood? That’s OK. The important thing is to be honest. Goldberg says tension around #Conceivinghood sex often stems from one partner feeling burned out and like they’re not allowed to share that. “This usually leads to the sex not going well or the sex not happening rather than having a conversation to find ways to troubleshoot to support each other,” she says.
5. Enlist a sex therapist.
If #Conceivinghood sex—or really, sex anytime—becomes difficult, Goldberg suggests seeking out a licensed sex therapist for support. The sooner, the better. “The more it becomes a pattern, the more your body and mind begin to associate sex with a bad or difficult thing,” she says. On the flip side, Goldberg adds, addressing the issue right away can leave you feeling empowered because you’re taking action to keep your romantic connection alive.
Sex is an important part of building a connection with your partner, so don’t turn down the heat when your Clearblue® pregnancy test is finally positive. Pregnancy hormones can make intimacy extra fun, especially during the second trimester. But more importantly, you’ll build a closer connection with your partner—which will only benefit your growing family.