Infertility and Sex
Valentine’s Day is coming up. Though taken from its original meaning, it’s become an excuse for couples to have a bit of fun and romance, and why not?
As someone working through infertility, I’m guessing you’re dreading this holiday. You’re tired of having to muster up your romantic side when the infertility’s stolen almost every ounce you had. You might like to get dressed up and go on a date but you’re praying it ends when you return home; anything to avoid “the bedroom.”
The beginning stages of trying to conceive are painstaking. Your romance and excitement are high at the start of the wife’s cycle. Passion and romance are fun! However, as the month carries on and the wife’s bleeding comes, your hearts are devastated. After months of this continuing, the romance and passion fades. Sex becomes a burden and its only perceived mission is to procreate.
Then there’s the devastation of a miscarriage. Women can tend to feel like part of themselves have died after losing a baby. Sex can either be a means of drawing the couple closer together as they grieve, or, intimacy can be lost as the husband and wife grieve differently, creating a barrier between them.
Some couples can move past all of this after a while, but I wonder how many remain stuck in this mindset as the years pass by? Intimacy and sex are too much work and not enough fun, so it’s easier to shut it down altogether.
This can lead to couples satisfying their sexual desires in other ways, independent from one another. The wedge between them grows as the enemy creates a cavern in the marriage.
Sexual intimacy was created by God for the unity of a married couple. It helps keep the “two become one” understanding in the forefront of their relationship. The Lord designed the man’s and the woman’s bodies to intricately connect together to bring joy and fulfillment. As a married couple, by participating in this beautiful gift, it’s actually bringing honour and worship to the Lord.
By not fulfilling the desires of your marital commitment, you’re actually allowing temptation and sin to fester, which is why it leads couples to individually find satisfaction apart from one another.
“A husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband. 4 A wife does not have the right over her own body, but her husband does. In the same way, a husband does not have the right over his own body, but his wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another—except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:3-5
If you are struggling to connect with your spouse sexually or even in general intimacy, pray about it! “Do not deprive one another – except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves in prayer.” (vs. 5, emphasis added.) Entrust this wound to the Lord. If you cannot be united in intimacy, unite your hearts in prayer to the Lord and seek His healing and help in this area of your life together. Fast and pray about it. Set a specific time you will do this together. Then, when that time is done, slowly build back that intimacy again. Or, by God’s grace, He may fully restore the passion back to you soon after.
Keep open communication with each other and the Lord. Don’t shy away from talking about it. One of you will be more open to do so than the other. Don’t talk about it all the time. Give time and space for it, and then talk about other things.
Don’t put pressure or expectations on your spouse. It’s okay to push each other out of your comfort a bit, but don’t force him/her if he/she isn’t ready.
Also, there may be times where your spouse cries during sex as a result of the wound infertility has left. Though sex should be pleasurable, the infertility has left deep sorrow. Sex is the most vulnerable and obvious place this brings that sorrow to light. Have patience and don’t take it as your fault. Embrace him/her through the tears and use it as an opportunity to draw closer together in this time.
Find activities you can enjoy together and go out on dates again. These will help return the spontaneity and fun back into the relationship.
Also, don’t be afraid to try new positions/things in the bedroom with each other, as long as they are honouring to God. In fact, do it somewhere other than the bedroom. Shake it up. Be adventurous. You’re married. It’s okay!
Sex wasn’t designed primarily as a means to have children. It is important in the Bible but it isn’t the main purpose. The most important aspect of sexual intimacy is to keep the married couple united together. It creates a bond beyond the physical act, into the spiritual, in ways you cannot fully understand. It honours the Lord. It is a powerful gift to marriage. This is why you need to protect it and to continuously fight for healthy sex in your marital relationship.
So, pray about this weekend/Valentine’s Day. Plan a fun time together. I pray it leads to fulfilling intimacy and perpetuates a healthier, more united year for the two of you.