Performance Anxiety when Trying to Conceive
When you first start trying to have a baby, it can seem too good to be true. There are no more condoms to fool around with. Your partner may be extra motivated, which is always fun. Certain days you know, no matter what happened that day, you are getting lucky that night. But after some time, say months or even a year, what was once an added bonus can turn into a liability. Los Angeles marriage and family therapist Aaron Buckwalter says, “…after 6 months of no pregnancy, people start to get a little worried. Part of this worry derives from hearing so much about infertility that people start to get anxious and move rapidly into concern about infertility.” This is where sex turns a corner. Instead of fun, it becomes a chore. Buckwalter says, “Some books and doctors recommend having sex twice a day during the ovulation period. Having sex 6 times in three days sounds like it could be fun, but can lead to performance anxiety and often anger and resentment.” This negativity is carried into the bedroom. But how men and women deal with such emotions is different.
“Men do typically bear the brunt of performance anxiety as couples try to conceive,” Buckwalter says. “When the pressure is on to have sex numerous times in a short time period, many men have erection difficulties and also difficulty achieving orgasm each time. If there is a ‘failure’ in one of those attempts, it can compound the pressure later in the day or the following day to perform their duty successfully.” The woman’s own anxieties can compound the issue. With so much pressure and negative emotions building up on both sides, and the spontaneity and playfulness gone out of it, it’s no wonder so many guys have performance anxiety at this crucial time. So how can you overcome it? According to Buckwalter, “Rather than giving into the timetable and feeling rushed, the couple should relax and try to re-introduce playfulness into the situation. It can be a good time to check in with each other about fantasies or role playing ideas and other ways to distract them from the timetable.” Make it more like in the old days. Don’t feel pressured. Instead, find ways to deal with your anxiety. Talk about it and see how she feels, too. Once you clear the air and deal with those negative emotions, lovemaking can become organic and exciting, and less of a chore. If performance anxiety still exists, seek out a counselor or sex therapist. If you cannot conceive after one year of trying, see a fertility specialist.