A way from finances – or a lack thereof – I guess the issue that really affects the quality of sex in a marriage must be fertility.
The struggle to have or not have children can be very real and depending on what the couple wants, their sex life can go downhill very fast.
Women are now putting off having children until much later when their careers have taken off satisfactorily, but their husbands are not always in agreement. A sex battle ensues.
Other women are ready as soon as their early 20s to start a family, but for unfathomable reasons do not conceive for years, regardless what biology promised. That too affects a couple’s sex life as timing and quantity override all pleasurable possibilities.
But look at the flipside: I have heard of marriages where husbands fear making love with their wives, because it seems every time he so much as smiles at her, she conceives!
So yes, fertility issues, more than other factors, affect the groove in the bedroom and how often one sees pink elephants, if at all. Well, whatever your fertility decisions, put these facts into consideration:
A woman is born with all her egg cells already in her ovaries. While healthy men continue producing sperm for as long as they live, women leave their mothers’ wombs with all their eggs rationed.
According to the website infertile.com, a woman has up to 400,000 eggs by the time she reaches puberty. Thousands of those eggs die every time she menstruates, and only one (or two) are released during ovulation and stands a chance of being fertilised. So, decisions, decisions…
A woman’s fertile life peaks at 25. After 25, according to science, fertility declines up to 35 years, but may pick up again after that.
Today, more women are having their first babies after 35 out of choice, which is perfectly okay, only that, as Australian psychologist Tracey Cox points out in her book Hot Relationships: “The only problem with being older is that if you do strike fertility problems, there’s less time to sort them out…as we get older, our eggs get older and our hormones are less efficient.”
It is at this point that a wife is likely to become frantic in the need for a baby ASAP, so much so that sex ceases being enjoyable but, rather, becomes a means to an elusive end. The problems start.
Yes, age is but a number. Because of the unfair way many people equate a woman’s ability to conceive to the very essence of her womanhood, when a wife is past her child-bearing age, some husbands think she is also past her sex-enjoying age and completely neglect her. How wrong!
If anything, the absence of worry about unwanted pregnancies and all that, can make perfectly healthy women of a certain age quite desirous. Watch out!
Not all windows are open for fertility. Now, before you start making your husband feel like a baby-making machine or sperm donor needed only when ovulation is ongoing, remember that a woman’s cycle is on average 28 days long.
Of those days, ovulation comes about 14 days to the next menstruation period, giving a woman a three-day window of peak fertility.
This means, for the ‘target practice’ kind of sex that a couple trying to conceive has, this is the window where you should not be caught ‘not in the mood’, travelling, or not talking.
However, the rest of the time, allow your marriage to be normal and have enjoyable, leisurely lovemaking that does not involve emotionally holding a gun to your spouse’s head as you frogmarch him to bed.
This can be the redeeming grace in your marriage; when infertility has turned the sex into a tough jigsaw puzzle, use the non-ovulatory part of your cycle to calm down and rediscover the ecstasy in making love. After all…
…A man’s sperm can live up to 72 hours in the female body.
So, you may yield zero results from the ‘perfectly timed, gun-to-his-head, standing on your head’ sex during ovulation, but reap dividends from the leisurely, no-pressure lovemaking of day nine of your cycle. His persistent sperm will swim, swim, swim swim, until it lands on a ready egg even three days later.
But again, thank God for IVF and for divine miracles; those two have lately rendered all biological theories rubbish, honestly.