So your husband can’t perform during ovulation, and you don’t know what to do. This topic isn’t discussed very often, because, well, who’s going to throw their husband under the bus? But I think we have all experienced this at some point, right?

Our Trying to Conceive Journey

When my husband and I first started trying to conceive back in 2010, I knew nothing about ovulation tracking. All I knew was that we needed to have sex, and have a lot of it. I hope no one is blushing right now, but it’s the truth! I remember worrying that if we didn’t do it daily, I wouldn’t get pregnant. I was so naive back then. If only I had tracked my ovulation we could have been more precise, but knowing what I know now, it probably wouldn’t have helped anyway!

erin bulcao and husband on their wedding day

At first, my husband didn’t complain; to him, it was a perk! We had been married for almost a year, so we were still in that fun newlywed phase. We had just started trying to conceive, and we were on cloud 9 thinking it would work on the first try. But then we took the first round of pregnancy tests (yep, I’m neurotic and took about 5-6 to confirm I wasn’t pregnant), and when they were all negative we were in shock. This wasn’t how we expected things to go! So, we tried again, and again, and with each month a little bit of the fun and excitement went away.

Performance Issues

When my husband came home from work I would try to make things romantic. I tried to be sexy and fun, but that got old and kind of difficult to do daily. We still tried, because I insisted, but things became increasingly more difficult as time went on. When we realized it wasn’t going to be so easy for us, sex became less romantic and more like a job, and my husband began having trouble performing.

We started to get frustrated with each other. In all honesty, he was probably frustrated with himself, and I was frustrated with the whole process. I started to feel like it was me—like he was tired of having sex with me. We started to argue more, and all I could think about was how much time we were losing when we were not trying. That made me anxious and angry. It made me feel less desirable and like I couldn’t excite my husband enough to have sex with me, all because we were trying—and failing—to conceive.

fertility blogger erin bulcao and husband at their ultrasound appointment

We started to take more days off. We were still having sex, but in the back of our minds, we knew why we were doing it. I would lay there with my legs up the wall for fifteen minutes every time afterward. There were several times when I didn’t even care if I had an orgasm because, well, I just wanted to get pregnant! Looking back, I know that must have affected him, too knowing that all I cared about was having a baby at that moment. 

IUI Fertility Treatment

We finally realized we needed fertility treatments a few months into trying to conceive. In a way, this helped us as a couple and allowed us to ease some of the pressure from having sex. But fertility treatments and hormones brought a whole new set of stressors for us as a newlywed couple. The pressure mounted, and the feeling that we couldn’t create a life together on our own was very strong. It made him feel less like a ‘man,’ and it made me feel like my body wasn’t doing the one thing it was meant to do, have a baby. 

We struggled a lot, and while we didn’t always understand what we were arguing about, looking back, we just didn’t know how to deal with the emotions of not being able to conceive. We were lucky and got pregnant with our twins via our first IUI, and after that, we went back to enjoying sex again since the pressure was gone. While there were other everyday stressors, the sole fact that we were not worrying about trying to conceive made me feel so much more desirable and allowed me, and him, to enjoy sex so much more. 

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expectant parents erin bulcao and husband

We faced this issue again six years later when we decided to try for our next baby. We had a feeling we would need fertility treatments a second time, but we decided to try anyway. There I was again with my legs up the wall, trying to enjoy sex and failing miserably. We started to get in a funk again, him unable to perform and me not caring if I enjoyed it or not. 

Trying to conceive can be all-consuming. It can take over your entire life and mind to the point where you’re unable to think about anything else. Sometimes, in the process, we forget that our partners are involved, too. Their minds also get intertwined in all of the stress of infertility, and unfortunately, their ability to “perform” becomes affected as well. 

I wish I had a great piece of advice. Truthfully, it’s just a hard reality of trying to conceive. There is pressure on everyone involved. Through this process, I have learned that while I wish I could control my husband and his emotions I just can’t. I can only be there for him, try to empathize with him, and hope that being more vocal and communicative about how we are feeling brings us closer and allows for intimacy to become intimate again. 

fertility blogger erin bulcao, her husband, and her twin daughters

Erin Bulcao is 36 years old. She lives in Encinitas, CA with her husband of 10 years and their twin girls who were conceived through IUI 9 years ago. She is also pregnant with her rainbow baby girl via IVF. Erin is a certified yoga teacher but had to put teaching on hold due to fertility treatments. She loves hot yoga, taking long walks with her husband, which they use as therapy (although she does that, too). Her favorite food is chocolate, eating off of her kids’ plates, and ceviche (but never all together!). She is also a big Bravo TV junkie. Her favorite place to be is in NYC, and she hopes to move there one day once she can convince her husband. In the meantime, they will keep working on that third baby. Read Erin’s blog and follow her on Instagram.