Wednesday, 3 July 2013
About five years ago, my friend H introduced me to the New Zealand folk duo Flight of the Conchords when she played a clip of their song, Business Time. I encourage everyone to watch it (especially if you need a good laugh) but basically it discusses how when you're married or in a long term relationship, sex seems like a weekly chore -just like taking out the recycling. Husband and I still refer to the fact that Wednesday is the day for business time (which is also our neighborhood recycling day and coincidently my swim team designated the day as "Sexy Underwear Wednesday")
The aspect of sex as a marital duty adopts an even greater obligatory feeling while you're trying to conceive. Scheduled coitus is just so un-natural and so awkward. In our very early days, I wanted to keep the process spontaneous, but soon discovered that Husband can't keep his hands off himself. More pressure was added to the situation when we learned of the issues with his sperm count and found that we needed to coordinate a three day run up with my erratic ovaries. Spontaneity continues to decline the longer you're trying to conceive, as it's inevitable that your partner will learn your cycles and can determine your fertile time. My medical assistant and I would often find it creepy when a husband or boyfriend answers the question "when was your last menstrual period?" and it's still a little weird, but I can understand why he knows the date.
It's so hard not to feel the pressure, and I can almost agree that the "just relax!" campaigners have a point here, but it's much easier said than done. Once the anxiety has been released, you can't put the toothpaste back into the tube. Not only does the process of procreation bring a sense of obligation, it changes the meaning of the act away from intimacy and pleasure. On that note, can we acknowledge much the modern male has evolved his focus to ensuring his partner's satisfaction? Although I did recently catch a very old episode of Friends in the one where Joey participates in a fertility study and can't conduct any of his own "research projects". As his new girlfriend is eager to jump in the sack, Monica encourages him to "be there...for her" -a concept he fails to grasp...
Now the tables are turned, and it's all about him. While not delivering a Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally performance, I admit that at times I've provided some false encouragement rather early to signify that I am sorted and that he is good to go. The longer things seem to take, means it's not a good sign. Two minutes in heaven is much better than thirty minutes or more. The nerves set in and I can sense his frustration. Even though he's a willing participant, it starts to feel a little creepy. Sort of like when you were at your first make-out party and let the guy you paired with get further than you intended...
I know it's merely a mental block. Many years ago when I was playing tennis, I was struggling with my forehand and my opponents were exploiting that shot. I signed up for a private lesson to correct it. The pro hit a few strokes with me and then started feeding exclusively to my backhand. I looked at the clock and was becoming annoyed. We were fifteen minutes in and not working on what I had specified. He just kept drilling the backhand and then randomly threw me a forehand. I ran over and hit a perfect clearcut winner. "There was nothing wrong with your mechanics" he informed me, "it was all between the ears". I hope that is the case once more.