On failures to launch, ungreasy wheels and other sexchanical malfunctions.

The stars say I'm a Virgo, but my interest in sweet lovin' rivals the most true-to-form Scorpios of which my spouse is markedly atypical. I've got myself a surprisingly voracious appetite for...you know and he, well. Eh. Truth be told, where my main squeeze set to worrying that Sex for a Purpose would get old fast (and he appears to have been right), I was just thrilled for an excuse to knock boots more often.


That was until yesterday when reality consumed me like the heights of Harlequin rapture: Even where the mind is willing, the bod's just got to be able. And even when said bod belongs to a woman in her late 20s or a 30-year old man, sometimes - sometimes when it matters most for baby-making, I might add - the bod is just not able. Case closed. End of discussion.

Except not. Not end of discussion. That's the problem, see. Nobody talks about this stuff. They talk about how Sex for a Purpose gets tiresome, sure, but they don't talk about how it's sometimes physically impossible. But it is. It sho' 'nough is.

No hold's barred and case in point: Yesterday, the Papa Pro-Pro's, shall we say, failure to launch (doubtless inspired by feeling like sex isn't exactly super fun any more as much as it is super necessary) gave way to an outpouring of frustration. Mine mostly, but his too - which didn't make it any easier to relaunch during "take two" a few hours later. (Hell, even the Net's steamiest streaming videos were of precious little help. Fact: They elicited the same physiological response in my hubby as a half hour of C-Span. That's right, folks. No response. None at all.) Come this morning, come take three, we'd have lift off except for that my own, ahem, well-oiled machine was, er, yeah. Not so much. Consumed by self-imposed pressure to get those gadgets juiced up (and fast), my girl parts became me like a dry spell. In Death Valley. In July.

And, with that, the most fertile days of my cycle drew to a close.

I'll approach my "two week wait," that period of approximately 14 days between ovulation and onset of menses during which many a Would-Be Mama twiddles her thumbs in anticipation of pissing on a pregnancy test, with remarkable calm. This is because - much as I quipped recently to my husband and much as he quipped right back, all while gesturing toward the other's...uh, parts - it won't work like this! It can't work like this.

Apart from the mechanics of it, there's the inescapable fact that Sex on Demand sucks. It's same-old/same-old. And when it goes badly, it makes both partners feel like shit. It conjures feelings of "Maybe it's my fault," and "(S)he's just not that into me," and "I'm not attractive anymore," and "We've totally lost it," and, before long, one or both of you are sitting there, scratching your temples, drawing parallels between your own real life and the Sam Mendes adaptation of Revolutionary Road! There's just got to be more!

So, not content to sleep with my neighbor and having exhausted discussion of the matter with my spouse, I consulted the plethora of conception-centered self-help books at the local library. Many spout the same advice: When it comes to your cycle, gals, less is more. Keep him in the dark about it. Knowing it's that time will make him feel pressured to perform which may, in turn, lead to performance anxiety and actual, honest-to-goodness, performance difficulties. And you don't want that now, do you, girls? No. Anything but that! So cover up the face of that digital thermometer. Hide your fresh LH-predictor sticks. Dispose carefully and discreetly of your period waste. Hide your ovulation chart. Keep your Prospective Baby-Daddy calm, calm, calm - and clueless.

Look. I get that there's maybe (probably) a great deal of wisdom in not getting Dude all worked up about the quality of his stiffies or the health of his swimmers. And I get that psyching oneself out of sexy time is possible. (Happened to me just this morning, recall?) But, by that token, it also doesn't sit well with me that us women-folk should be solely - or even primarily! - responsible for the trying in "trying to conceive." How is this even fair?

Answer: It isn't.

Sure, we gals with working reproductive tracts are only actually capable of being knocked up a precious few days each month, and who better than we who have lived our cycle since the onset of puberty to have a good idea about when, pre tell, might be a good time for a Romp for Repro, but still. No shame on me for expecting my partner to take a real interest in how I work, how he works, how to maximize our chances! No shame on me for expecting my partner to try like I'm trying! I mean, after all, if our efforts pay off here - and I surely hope they do one day - we're going to have a kid in common. A kid for whom we'll individually and collectively take responsibility for raising into a grown-up.

I should point out that he's been a gem, my hubby. He's taken an interest that, I am certain, far surpasses that of most dudes' interest in things like pre-conception consults and cervical fluid. But, much as I honestly believe there's real power in understanding how our bodies behave and how to play on their strengths, I've decided perhaps our real trouble is that we're just too vested in controlling something that, mostly, we can't.

So, I've decided not to replenish my next month's supply of LH predictor sticks. And I've decided that, if I chart my basal body temperatures at all, I'll do it so I remember to tuck a tampon in my handbag on the day my period is due. I won't consciously keep the Would-be Pops in the dark, but I won't blind him by the light either. (Think: I hereby promise never to wake you, Dear Husband, from a sound sleep to alert you to impending ovulation. Bonin' can probably wait until the alarm goes off. And, if it can't, there's always next month.) I'll keep popping those pre-natals, eating healthfully. I'll get my caffeine fix on occasion, too, because - yo - I like coffee. I really do. And I like sex. So I might as well enjoy it. And he might as well, too.

Spawning the Next Big Thing is a big deal, sure, but I'm not prepared to forfeit the First Big Thing in the process. For after that Next Big Thing is grown and gone, we'll be right back where we started: glad to have made room in our married life for that someone we are bound to love very much but around whom we won't have structured our day-to-day. Or our sexy time. Screw that. Or this. That's what she said! Whatever. That's what she said.

 

- The Projected Progenitor (http://projectedprogenitor.blogspot.com)

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