Impact of infertility on sexual function
Infertility can put an enormous strain on all aspects of one's romantic relationship. This study examined its impact on one relatively unexplored aspect: that of sex.
Infertility can put an enormous strain on all aspects of one's romantic relationship. This study examined its impact on one relatively unexplored aspect: that of sex. Specifically, 230 women experiencing infertility completed a survey about their quality of life, relationship satisfaction, sexual function, and symptoms of anxiety and depression. We found that in this study, over half of the women recruited reported experiencing sexual dysfunction. Women reporting more sexual problems were more likely to also report lower relationship satisfaction and more symptoms of depression and anxiety.
It's hard to know whether relationship problems and poor mental health contributed to the sexual problems reported by the women or the other way around. Regardless, though, this study does suggest that sexual difficulties are common among women with infertility. Why? Part of it might be related to the fact that after months or even years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive, sex becomes more of a stressful chore than a fun way to be intimate with your partner. Couples may also just be generally stressed out by their infertility struggles and find it difficult to relax enough to enjoy sex together.
The findings of this study suggest that programs aimed at improving the well-being of individuals struggling with infertility should help couples overcome problems in their sexual relationship, perhaps by encouraging couples to find non-sexual ways to increase physical intimacy.
Balsom, A. A. & Gordon, J. L. (2022). Sexual function among distressed women struggling to conceive without medical intervention. Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality
Power in Numbers