Trying to get in the mood to conceive? Consider lighting a few candles, putting on some sensual music… and locking the door to make sure your Uncle Ted doesn’t walk in on you.
It’s not ideal, but when ovulation coincides with a family trip or get-together, some couples have sex just feet away from where their parents or other relatives are staying.
“We spend every Christmas Eve at my in-laws so that everyone gets to wake up that morning together. That’s where the ‘magic’ happened,” said Kansas mom Elizabeth Love, remembering how, after months of trying unsuccessfully at home, she and her husband conceived their third child.
The challenges of having sex in proximity to family was hilariously spoofed in “(Do It On) My Twin Bed,” a recent music video featured on Saturday Night Live. In the video, would-be lovers have to contend with everything from, as the video title suggests, cramped twin beds to mood-killing middle school photos to an old cat who, er, keeps watch. There is even an Uncle Ted in a bed nearby, insisting “Don’t mind me. We’re family.”
Chances are, you’re not bunking with your uncle… but even if you and your spouse do get your own room, it might still be hard to find a way to escape all the family togetherness for the sake of baby-making.
In a memoir, professional wrestler Mick Foley remembers sneaking around with his wife while his parents were visiting his home.
“It wasn’t easy, and in truth, our ‘I need to talk to you’ and ‘let’s watch a movie’ and ‘my back hurts, I need to lay down’ probably fooled nobody,” Foley wrote in the book, “Foley Is Good.” Knowing that his parents could hear him have sex, he added, was “not so great.”
If the setting of your lovemaking is stressing you out, that might actually bode poorly for your chances of conception, said Dr. Kecia Gaither, the director of maternal fetal medicine at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“There is scientific evidence that stress produces a hormone, cortisol, which can prevent the process of ovulation,” Gaither said.
But if you’ve monitored your body temperature and determined that you likely are ovulating, Gaither added, a “quickie” even in an awkward place can indeed help you “take advantage of the ovulation peak.”
On another positive note, it seems that plenty of couples are taking advantage of ovulation peaks during a common time for family get-togethers and stress–the winter holiday season.
“It seems that there may be a biological basis for why people try to conceive during this time of the year,” said Dr. David Dragoo, a medical expert at MoneyCrashers.com. “Conception rates reach their annual peak in December, with 9 percent of all U.S. conceptions occurring during that month.”
Even when, arguably, the worst-case scenario happens–a relative catches you in the act–conception can still take place, as one anonymous mom testified on the site BabyCenter.com.
“We obviously didn’t hear my brother knocking because he opened the door and there we were,” she said. “It was very embarrassing, but we got over it because I needed to get pregnant!”
For Elizabeth Love, fortunately, conceiving her daughter proved far less traumatic. Love, who blogs at Diary of a Writerbee, and her husband stayed in a comfortable guest room. Having sex in his parents’ home, she said, “never bothered either of us as long as the door (was) closed.”
Love expects that she’ll tell her daughter, MacKinnon, now 2, where she was conceived when the girl is “old enough to understand.”
“We’re an open family,” she said.