Sexuality and infertility.Sexuality and infertility.Infertility may interact with a couple’s or individual’s sexuality and
sexual expression in two main ways. Sexual problems may be caused or exacerbated by the diagnosis,
investigation, and management of infertility (or subfertility) or they may be a contributory factor in childlessness. Any
examination of a couple’s difficulty in conceiving must include overt and clear questioning about their sexual activity.
Regarding sexual relations for infertile couples, some studies demonstrated there were no significant correlations
between infertility and sexual relations but other studies suggested infertility impaired sexual relations.
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In response to being unable to conceive, many people feel emotions such as anger, panic, despair, and grief, and
these may affect sexual activity. The stress of infertility and its treatment may also cause sexual difficulties for both
men and women.
Intercourse may be avoided, with patterns of behaviour established so that one or other partner is not reminded of
the fertility problem. Post-coital tests or repeated need to provide semen samples may result in a man feeling under
pressure to perform, which can adversely affect his erectile or ejaculatory ability. For some men, one or two failures
during intercourse begin a vicious circle of fear of failure, with anxiety leading to further failures. Partners may also
develop arousal difficulties because of anxiety or distress. Some people feel that their partner wants them only when
there is a chance of conception, and sexual activity can then become a battleground for issues of power and control.