Why can love and sex be affected in infertility?

By (embryologist).
Last Update: 01/23/2024

When a couple wishes to have a child and starts looking for it, but pregnancy does not come, stress, pressure and even feelings of guilt may appear. This can affect the couple's relationship and sexuality.

However, it is very important that the couple tries to remain united and supportive of each other, with good communication based on trust and, always, respect. In addition, maintaining an active and healthy sex life will increase the well-being of the couple.

Love and infertility

Receiving a diagnosis of infertility means the loss of a common life project in the couple and triggers a mixture of emotions ranging from sadness, anger, frustration, uncertainty and even guilt.

These feelings may be different for each person and, therefore, each partner may experience it differently, even if it is hard for both.

Therefore, if there is a lack of good communication that allows feelings to be conveyed respectfully, misunderstandings and conflicts can arise due to misperceptions: avoiding talking about infertility can generate a feeling of "passivity" in the other partner.

Thus, communication, support and the feeling of being together and united in the face of reproductive problems is essential so that love and the couple's relationship is not damaged, but strengthened.

Sexuality and infertility

When trying to have a child, sexual intercourse is increased in order to increase the chances of pregnancy. However, in many couples, when pregnancy does not come, this becomes something monotonous, almost obsessive, and sex becomes like an obligation to conceive.

All this, together with the scheduling of sexual intercourse during the woman's fertile period, leads to a loss of spontaneity and sexual desire. Sex acquires a sole reproductive purpose and the whole part of connection, intimacy, eroticism and pleasure with the partner is lost.

This can lead to a lack of interest in sex and even avoidance of sex on non-fertile days, which can lead to tension and a loss of affection in the couple.

In addition, the timing of receiving a diagnosis of infertility can lead to feelings of guilt and increased stress and anxiety in the couple. On the other hand, reproductive treatment can be taken as an intrusion into such an intimate aspect that it makes them feel uncomfortable.

Again, this situation can also affect self-esteem, decrease sexual satisfaction and desire, and make intimate relationships emotionally complicated because they are reminiscent of problems conceiving.

On the other hand, due to the stress and pressure to achieve pregnancy, there may be difficulties in reaching orgasm and problems with erection or ejaculation.

Tips to revive love and sexuality

Some of the gestures that can help a sentimental relationship grow and take hold, despite infertility, would be the following:

  • Spending time together: it is necessary to spend quality time alone with your partner, without television or cell phones in between, in order to create moments of intimacy.
  • Improve communication: it is essential to feel understood and supported by the other partner. Expressing feelings will help avoid misunderstandings and resentment. You should also talk about other topics, such as good times you have had together, to try to strengthen the connection.
  • Taking care of sexuality: it is necessary to avoid the perception of sex only as a means to procreate, so it will be beneficial to increase eroticism and try new things to try to recover that aspect of pleasure and enjoyment with your partner. In addition, it is convenient to create a suitable atmosphere for sexual relations and to leave aside for a moment thermometers, ovulation tests, medical prescriptions..
  • Seek professional help: seeing a professional, if the couple deems it necessary, helps to improve the disconnection they may be experiencing.

These tips can be very useful to face reproductive problems with a better attitude and in a healthier way.

FAQs from users

What are the main problems for couples during fertility treatment?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

If the couple, after the diagnosis of fertility problems, decides to undergo assisted reproduction treatment, they should bear in mind that it is a process that, on occasions, can be long. This can involve wear and tear on many levels: emotional, physical, economic... but it can also affect the couple's relationship if the situation is not managed properly. Among the aspects that are most commonly affected in couples undergoing fertility treatments are communication, sexual desire and social life.
Read more

Can fertility problems cause sexual dysfunction?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

When a couple has fertility problems, the pressure to achieve the goal of pregnancy can affect sexual performance and lead to sexual dysfunction.

In both, there may be a loss of sexual desire and increased difficulty in achieving arousal and reaching orgasm. In addition, in women there may be vaginismus and pain with intercourse, and in men, problems with erectile dysfunction or ejaculation

Suggested for you

There are times when infertility can affect a couple's relationship. If you want to learn more about how to avoid it, you can read this article: How to prevent infertility from causing problems in the couple?

On the other hand, if you want to read more about the psychological aspects of assisted reproduction, we recommend you to access the following link: Psychological aspects of assisted reproduction.

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FAQs from users: 'What are the main problems for couples during fertility treatment?' and 'Can fertility problems cause sexual dysfunction?'.

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 Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduate in Health Biology from the University of Alcalá and specialized in Clinical Genetics from the same university. Master in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Valencia in collaboration with IVI clinics. More information about Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
License: 3435-CV

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