Here are some commonly asked questions on sexual intimacy answered by Dr Angela Tan, a Certified Family Physician and Intimacy Coach from ARAS.
1. How to find balance if a couple have different libido?
- Understand what’s your partner’s needs, for example the frequency and type of sexual interaction.
- Understand what is causing the higher or lower sexual drive.
- High drive examples: have always had desire at this rate, it is how they feel loved.
- Low drive examples: always have had a low desire, doesn’t feel the need for more, stress by various responsibilities like work and household chores, did not enjoy sex due to physical discomfort and psychological barriers
- Explore solutions:
- Finding a middle point where both parties can agree on in terms of frequency and type of sexual interaction.
- Assist either/ both parties to identify solutions that can help them overcome their needs/ barriers.
- Involve a professional if solution is not possible between the couple.
2. Does the depth of penetration affect conception?
Depth of penetration is generally not a concern for most men when trying to conceive, except for men with a micro penis or experience difficulty with penetration. The health level of the sperm and the semen are more important factors.
To slow down the leakage of the semen, the lady can choose to lie on the tummy, lift up the pelvis with a pillow to allow the semen to stay longer in the vaginal canal.
3. How to reduce stress when trying to conceive?
- Recognise the source of the stress, for example work stress and stress to successful conception.
- Prior to sexual interaction, put aside the stress from the day. Meditate, practice mindfulness, or write down the clutters in your head to help clear your mind before trying to conceive.
- Set an intention to connect with your partner, this will distract you from the stress.
- To reduce the stress of trying to conceive, we encourage having regular intimate interactions instead of solely waiting for ovulation to occur before having sex. These interactions do not necessarily have to involve intercourse; even something as simple as taking a shower together can be beneficial.
- Try new, fun, and creative things in the bedroom to spice things up.
4. Sex has become mechanical, how to keep things fun when trying to conceive? What if the other party is not willing to try?
Couples can use the ‘Yes-No-Maybe’ list to explore new things to do in the bedroom.
- Go through the list of items in a neutral setting (Not during sex)
- Match the items that both partners don’t mind trying
- Revise the list when both parties are ready to explore new items, this can be weeks or months since the last time both used the list.
- It is important to have consent when comes to trying new things.
- Sharing your fantasies with each other helps too.
- If the fantasies feel overwhelming, just do what you would like to experience more of in the bedroom will suffice.
5. How many times must a couple try on average while trying to conceive?
To increase chance of conceiving, it is recommended that couples try to have regular sex, 2 - 3 times a week.
6. How do we communicate with our spouse that sex was uncomfortable/ painful?
- Find a neutral space and time to discuss about the experience.
- Avoid blaming yourself or your partner, there is always a reason for it and there are solutions that can help.
- Work on solutions together as a couple, for example, going for check-ups, consulting doctors, or engaging intimacy coaching.
7. How do we overcome painful sex?
Finding the key reasons is important and it can be different for both genders.
- Male: abrasion, lack of lubrication, infection, inflammation in the urinary tract, psychological etc
- Female: lack of lubrication, tension, psychological fear, infection/ inflammation of the gentio-urinary tract etc.\
Sometimes having extra lubricant is the easy solution to the problem. However, there are times when the situation requires more than just lubrication, seek help from a professional to help improve the situation.
8. How can one improve their sex drive?
- Recognise what is causing a low drive and work on improving it. For example:
- Stressors from work/ kids/ household chores/ relationship conflicts
- Health issues e.g. obesity, diabetes, mental conditions
- Lifestyle issues e.g. lack of exercise, imbalance diet, excessive smoking, excessive alcohol intake, use of recreational drugs
- Enhancing personal health by taking health supplements and establishing a more regular exercise regimen
- Improving intimacy between couple
- Build intimacy and connection.
- Open to explore ways to spice up the bedroom.
- Build up mood, suspense, and sexual tension prior to sex.
- If having time for connection is an issue, set it up prior to avoid “there is always tomorrow” situation.