When it comes to talking about sex for fertility, the trouble is that the whole process can become akin to a militaristic operation, involving a carefully timed pee on a stick to tell if it’s the “right time” to have it, the endless monitoring of discharge and body temperature, or using an app to help predict all of this for you. One of my patients took this to a whole new level when he told me that he has an alarm on his phone that goes off every time his wife ovulates, so he knows exactly when he needs to get back home to get down to it!
Then there’s the worry over what position to use, how long to do it for, will the sperm run out, and so on it goes, it’s enough to drive most people crazy and completely kill the romance factor! Even the word intercourse sounds so clinical but this isn’t how it’s supposed to be! When did we take the pleasure out of it and start judging ourselves, our partners and turning it into an exam?!
Most of the commonly perceived beliefs are myths or misperceptions and sure, whilst there is no denying the fact that your fertile window starts 5 days before ovulation and ends 24 hours after ovulation (this is based on how long an egg and sperm can survive for) and is your most fertile period, we’ve forgotten that sex should be about pleasure and spontaneity, because this will then encourage the mind to engage with it too, and you may just start to have sex for the reasons you’re supposed to, rather than just purely for the sole purpose of producing a baby at the end of it. Heck, you might even manage an orgasm!
Now because I know we all like some good solid scientific reasons behind things, I’m here to show you that actually having frequent spontaneous sex that leads to arousal is actually clinically shown to help improve chances of conception for a couple of reasons, some of which are very novel.
New studies are suggesting that sexual arousal even before the fertile window could help to activate the immune system, responsible for the body’s defenses to invading organisms, but also potentially pregnancy. And the immune system has been implicated in fertility, though to what extent and how remains unresolved. It has been suggested that having sex outside the fertile window might help to prime a woman’s immune response, where scientists measured differences in the number of immune cells and antibodies, so that when sex occurs in the fertile window, it’s more likely to lead to conception as the body is already engaged in pro pregnancy mechanisms, willing it to get pregnant.
This may work in tandem with the changing cervical mucous to help aid sperm in reaching the egg and hence fertilisation to occur and may also help implantation of an embryo. In addition, studies are also potentially showing a reversal is what was traditionally thought best, which is short periods of abstinence to help improve quality of sperm, and in fact demonstrating the opposite to be true: that’s the possibility that regular daily sex may improve sperm function! So there you go, loads of reasons to step back into your groove and make sex a priority when trying for a baby! But please don’t put pressure on yourself to think you have to have sex every day or orgasm each time you do, this is really not the case.
The most important thing is to take your mind of the overall aim of it, be spontaneous, honour your needs and wishes, and just enjoy whenever and however you want! There are no rules, just lots of great reasons as to why you should be doing it.