Photography by Natalie Rose Dodd and Franz Grünewald. Art direction by Marta Pucci

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Keeping sex sexy when trying to conceive

Conception sex feeling like a chore? Here’s how to keep things fresh, fun, and fulfilling.

At Clue, we understand that conception can happen in many different ways for different people. All of these journeys are equally important. While this article looks at conception sex for heterosexual couples, we are always expanding our content. Explore more on Trying to Conceive here.

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Conception sex can be seen as obligatory rather than orgasmic; strategic rather than steamy and functional rather than fun. But this doesn’t have to be the case when you are trying to conceive (TTC). Sex can fulfill the practical goal and still be sexy – they’re not mutually exclusive. It’s possible to maintain an exciting, fulfilling, enjoyable sex life while you’re trying to conceive. 

Are you trying to get pregnant? Clue Conceive can help.

  • Download the Clue app on the App Store
  • Download the Clue app on the Play Store
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While Clue Conceive mode in the Clue app gives you some direction about when to time sex to improve chances of conception, we absolutely want you to have some fertile window fun too.

Where things start to get un-sexy

As a health educator, I’ve heard a variety of stories about conception. One consistent theme was how the dynamics around sex seem to change once actively trying to conceive enters the equation. Sex before TTC is percevied to be fun, exciting, spontaneous, rejuvenating, romantic, or even soul-connecting. When people first begin to try, there’s a lot of excitement – after all you’ve taken the leap – and sex remains sexy, free from worries about condoms or birth control.

For some, pregnancy occurs quickly. However, if that’s not the case, the longer you’re trying, particularly for those who are following a strict ovulation calendar or regimen (think about Charlotte York from Sex and the City or Monica in Friends), the more sex can feel like a task to check off your to-do list than a pleasureable, intimate moment between you and your partner. 

The onslaught of reminders which imply you need to “have sex now”, temperature checks, cervical mucus tracking, ovulation predictor tests (OPT), pregnancy tests, and pressure to perform can make sex less fun, less exciting, less spontaneous, and less romantic. In short: it becomes a (pretty stressful) chore. 

Tips to turn things around (or even upside down):

Skip on-demand sex

The timing of sex is important, but it doesn’t need to happen the second Clue Conceive shows it’s ideal timing for you to conceive. Why not plan an experience for later in the day, or that night, that you’ll both enjoy and will get you both in the mood? Make a reservation at a restaurant you haven’t tried before. Change the scenery and book a hotel room where you and your partner can escape for a night to reconnect (especially if you already have kids). 

Have regular sex throughout the month

Having sex releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and dopamine that can influence behaviors such as pair-bonding and motivation (1). Just like exercise, you get into a rhythm and your body may start to expect and crave it. The more sex you have with your partner, the sooner you’ll be back to craving that sexy time dopamine hit. 

When you’re actively trying to conceive, having sex outside of your fertile window can also work wonders to take pressure off of sex exclusively around ovulation and bring back sex-for-pleasure. The increased frequency of sex may actually increase your chances of conception (2).

Focus on foreplay

Popular culture and patriarchal systems make us think trying to conceive is just about the moment of ejaculation. And unfortunately, this positioning can feel draining when it is all you're focusing on, especially for the partner with the sperm. 

Trying to conceive is a great opportunity to get to know more about your partner’s turn-ons –- whether mental, physical, sensory or even verbal. Maybe you need to add sound and taste to the equation, or even throw in some talking –- whether that’s being more vocal about what you want or some good old-fashioned dirty talk. 

Take the night off from penetrative sex and focus on foreplay. Learn about each other’s erogenous zones and perhaps find some unlikely spots that induce arousal. Nothing gets your mind off “we’re having sex for a purpose” quicker than the pleasurable feelings of “Oh yes, oh yes! This is why we’re having sex!”

Treat sex as an adventure 

  • Take a six-day sex challenge: Plan a different theme for each of the six days around ovulation, such as role-play, sexting, or sex at a different time of day. 

  • Play a game: Write down your favorite places, positions, and products or toys on slips of paper, put them in separate jars, and choose one from each jar when it’s time to have sex – this might be the best time to explore some fantasies.

  • Experiment with sex toys: Try bringing different toys into your bedroom which suit your preferences. We’re talking vibrators, feathers, BDSM kits, and anything else you want to explore. 

  • Try new sex positions: Grab a position-of-the-day calendar and pick out a new position each time you have sex. Any position is a good position for trying to conceive as long as you’re comfortable.

  • Make a painting: Hear us out on this!Try sex on a canvas using your bodies as paint brushes. Keep the momentum going in the shower as you scrub the paint off each other’s bodies.

  • Get textual: Build up excitement for the final act. Indulge in some naughty messages or even send some spicy pictures if you’re comfortable.

  • Mix it up: Audio erotica or literotica can add another dimension to your sex life. Whether using it to explore your own sensuality to get in the mood, or as an audio guide for role play and experimentation with your partner, apps like Dipsea, Ferly, or Emjoy can help you mix things up. 

By embracing the fun and sexy side of sex, you’ll create the opportunity to build closeness, emotional intimacy, and excitment that will not only help your relationship grow, but make the process of trying to conceive all the more enjoyable. 

Get Clue Plus to access the new Clue Conceive mode in-app. Clue Conceive provides predictions for fertile days that can help you time sex to conceive faster, based on clinically-tested technology. Find out more here.

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Live in sync with your cycle and download the Clue app today.

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