Sex can become a humdrum and downright stressful exercise when you are trying to get pregnant. Your once passionate romps are now reduced to a mechanical scheduled activity aimed at hitting pay dirt quickly.
From discovering the best baby-making sex positions to pencilling in sex only during your fertile window, everything you do is aimed at one goal ― getting pregnant. What’s worse, even with all your concerted efforts, you don’t seem to be any closer to getting that big fat positive.
What’s holding couples back from seeking help? SmartParents ob-gyn experts Dr Christopher Chong of Gleneagles Hospital and Singapore Medical Group’s Dr Dharshini Gopalakrishnakone point out that they are usually embarrassed about their situation.
Dr Dharshini notes that Asians worry about the stigma of seeking help and that they’ll be labelled as having “infertility problems”. Dr Chong adds that men tend to shy away from getting help “due to an ego problem”. “Many couples will have the wife see a gynae when it is well-known that [infertility] is a couple issue.”
“Many couples will have the wife see a gynae when it is well-known that [infertility] is a couple issue.”
So, even if your posers about sex leave you red-faced — ask away because the answers may bring you a step closer to achieving your heart’s desire. Dr Chong advises, “The earlier you seek help, the better as it takes time for assessments and management options to take effect.”
To help you move closer to your aim of welcoming your bundle of joy, Dr Chong and Dr Dharshini answer common questions about the state of your sexual health.
Questions from women
Why do I have a low sex drive and how can I improve it?
Dr Chong: The most common reason is stress. So, you’ll need to find out what is causing you stress and find effective ways to reduce it. Often, couples do not have enough foreplay, so there isn’t enough lubrication during sex. Try taking things easy, create the environment and use other lubricants, if necessary. Other reasons for your low sex drive could also be hormonal — such as early menopause ― and these need to be assessed and treated.
How do you deal with recurrent thrush (yeast infections)?
Dr Dharshini: Recurrent thrush infections may be treated for six months, along with good probiotics. Hormone pills [for women who are trying to regulate their period] may need to be changed. Before getting treatment, I recommend that patients get a proper swab test to ensure that we are only dealing with thrush and nothing else.
What can I do about my painful periods?
Dr Dharshini: Sometimes, just consuming stronger painkillers may be enough but be sure to ask your doctor before doing so. Otherwise, doing a pelvic ultrasound and an infection swab test can help to rule out other issues. If you are younger than 40 years old, a non-smoker and have no history of breast, liver or heart issues — hormonal tablets may help.
Does my husband performing oral sex on me carry an increased risk of infection?
Dr Chong: Generally no, if the wife does not have vaginal infections and the husband has good oral hygiene. Just make sure to douche and clean your vagina. For men, using mouthwash or brushing before oral intercourse can help.
Questions from men
What is causing my low sex drive, what can I do to improve it?
Dr Chong: It could be caused by the same reasons as women — stress. However, there’s also a need to rule out erectile dysfunction or if it is due to the partner’s conditions like vaginismus. The condition happens when a woman’s vaginal muscles squeeze or goes into spasm spontaneously when something — like a penis or tampon — enters it. Otherwise, over-consumption of alcohol or some medication for heart problems can also lower your libido. Another reason can also be due to low testosterone, which can be treated with medication.
I have trouble maintaining an erection. What’s the cause?
Dr Chong: Most commonly caused by stress. But it can be also due to diabetes or medication you are taking for your hypertension. Best to see a doctor for proper assessment and treatment.
“What matters is both husband and wife should take time to explore what works for them in the bedroom.”
I cannot give my partner an orgasm, why?
Again, it could be stress — spending more time on foreplay may help. Sometimes with enough lubricant, oils or even the use of sex toys such as a vibrator can help. What matters is both husband and wife should take time to explore what works for them in the bedroom. But if the problem is physical in nature, like having erectile problems, then there’s a need to seek treatment.
If I ejaculate often, will it affect my sperm quality?
It is generally accepted that a man can ejaculate at least five days in a row without affecting sperm quality.
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