by REBECCA SPARROW
In a groundbreaking study that’s right up there with “high heels hurt” and “having friends is awesome”, Indiana University has discovered that infertility treatments like IVF ruin your sex life.
To which I say, ‘No shit, Sherlock.’ But when the issue is so obvious, why is nobody talking about it?
“Women undergoing IVF report much lower scores in sexual interest, desire, orgasm, satisfaction, sexual activity and overall sexual function,” study author Jody Lyneé Madeira, an associate professor in the Indiana University Maurer School of Law, told The Huffington Post.
“Sex becomes mechanical and enforced: a means to an end, rather than a source of pleasure,” she added.
Tell me about it.
I know from personal experience the toll TTC (trying to conceive) takes. Sex becomes about ‘trying to get pregnant’, which quickly becomes, “Oh God, there are ferns on the Maybe Baby. We have to have sex.” After an early miscarriage, it took my husband Brad and I 18 months to fall pregnant with our daughter Ava (18 months, I know is a walk in the park for many others who have or are continuing to struggle to get pregnant).
And it’s a miracle that it even happened considering I was drugged up to the eyeballs on a fertility drug and routinely behaving like Elton John (think tantrums and mood swings, not a sudden penchant for sequinned sunglasses).
No seriously, Brad totally LOVED it. There’s nothing like walking on eggshells around a slightly unhinged partner to get you in the mood. I had all the warmth and approachability of Hugh Grant. And I didn’t even do IVF. I cannot begin to imagine how injections, egg pick-ups and spatulas going up your hoo-ha can make you feel.
But it’s not just the drugs that take a toll on your mood. Sex therapist Dr Pamela Fawcett Pressman talks about how the feelings of shame are equally as damaging …
“There’s a helplessness that so many of these women are experiencing, and depression and shame,” Pressman said. “With that comes a lot of negative feelings about our bodies. It’s really pretty traumatic to a woman’s sexuality.”
Also interesting was the fact that it didn’t matter which partner had the fertility issues:
Almost 70 percent of the male and female respondents said that the IVF had hurt their sexual relationship, and just over half of the women reported reduced arousal.
It did not matter whether male or female factors were the cause of the couple’s infertility, participants reported similar sexual problems regardless. The more cycles of IVF a couple went through, the greater its impact on overall sexual function.
So what’s the take-away from this? I don’t know. Behaving like Elton John is not going to get you feeling jiggy? No, that’s not it. I think it’s this … If you’re trying to conceive, don’t beat yourself up if you’re not swinging from the chandeliers having wild sex. Trying to conceive is emotionally draining and you’re not alone.
Have you struggled trying to conceive? How did it affect your relationship?