Shameless Woman

Pursuing an integrated life of sensuality, health, healing and rejuvenation

The Male Side of Baby-Making Sex

The pressure on guys to perform on command is often pushed aside.

Sex is not a dirty word, and it is one of the words that is the least spoken in the world of infertility. Ironic isn't it? I mean, everyone knows that babies are made in sterile laboratories right? There is very little talk about sexual desire, orgasms and dare I say it....erections.

Those on the female side of the equation of "Baby Making Sex" have little sympathy for the guys. After all, it is often the ladies who are the ones taking the medications, getting their blood drawn, having the pelvic exams, and experiencing mood swings. When it comes to the high tech stuff, you can add in egg retrievals and transfers. When it comes to the guys, and their piece of baby-making sex or conception sex, it can seem like a breeze.

All they have to do is have an orgasm! Right? It is something that wives and physicians often push aside as the least of the worries. But what is it like for the men? And what does ejaculation on demand do to a marriage bed? Let me give it to you straight: it's not pretty. For most men, producing sperm, requires arousal, orgasm and ejaculation. That is why so many men are reluctant to go into a fertilty center to have a semen analysis. Thank heavens, there is finally an over-the-counter sperm counting kit (SpermCheck Fertility). The women have had ovulation predictor kits for years.

For many women having baby-making sex, a conception friendly lube can take care of most of her needs. Some women simply forget about their arousal and orgasm. They just want the sperm to get to the right place at the right time. Baby-making sex has nothing to do with their sexuality. But the guys can't fake it. And often they find themselves alone in the sexual act, whether it is meeting their woman in a place of arousal, or along in a room in a doctor's office producing sperm on command. It is lonely, and some men find it upsetting, but feel like they can't express that because their wives are going through so much.

But I am beginning to hear something different from the men. It started as a rumble, and how it is a great big grumble! They are starting to speak out about "being a sperm factory". Some have started to request their wives to come in with them at the doctors office to produce the sample. And many are trying the at-home kit. It can take guts to tell the nurse that you are going in together to produce the sample. But why not? He is with you during an insemination, retrieval or a transfer. Perhaps it is a return show of support and unity to help him produce the sample?

How about making some time in bed just for holding and loving. Letting go of baby-making and welcoming in intimacy. Sexuality during infertility can be an incredible rough road. But if you don't work together on facing the difficulties, it can be something that your marriage does not recover from.

Baby-making can be all consuming. It can consume your sex life. But it is different for the men. Women are receivers of sperm. It is perhaps the only part of infertility baby-making that woman can be passive about! The sperm for baby making can be delivered to us via test tubes or non-responsive sex void of desire. But for the men, they actually have to have some kind of sexual experience.

It's time for us to really look at this. It is one of the keys for having our sexuality survive infertility, and it can start with acknowledgement, a conversation, and a commitment to showing up for the sperm in the same way that we want the sperm to show up for the egg!

What to do after reading this article?

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Explore Pamela's fertility website and blog, "The Fertility Advocate".

Pamela Madsen is a fertility/sex educator, blogger, author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association.

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