Don’t Tell the Children

I am peeing in a plastic cup. H is in the bath, probably deciding whether he should watch or not. I’d like to say we’re the kind of couple who retain our erotic mystique by not performing bodily functions in front of each other, but we only have one bathroom so sometimes needs must. I should make it clear, though, that we both draw the line at pooing. This occasionally means we run into the bathroom and yell at the other party to get the hell out of the bath, but it’s a boundary worth drawing, I think.

Today, it’s in aid of an ovulation test, and, frankly, I’m attempting to share my pain. I last caught myself ovulating two months ago, and that was on day 9 of my cycle. Not a peep last month. Today it’s day 14, and I suspect this means I’ve missed the boat again. There’s something miserable about dunking your little stick in a pot of your own urine every day, only to get the single control line, day in, day out. It’s such a non-event that it doesn’t really merit a conversation; but its effect is cumulative misery. Still nothing.

‘I’m beginning to wonder if I haven’t bought a duff set of sticks,’ I say to H. ‘The ones that registered an LH surge cost £35 from Boots. These ones were a fiver for 50 from eBay. Maybe they’re just shit.’

‘Cheaper though,’ says H.

‘Yeah,’ I say. I count under my breath as I watch the stick turn gradually pink, and see the familiar control line appear.

‘Why don’t you try both at the same time next month?’ he suggests. ‘That way, you could see if both types say the same thing.’

It’s a good idea, particularly seeing as I have a whole drawer full of the cheap tests remaining. I balance the test stick on the sink and begin to put on my makeup. Then I glance down.

‘Bloody hell,’ I say. ‘Would you bloody believe it? It must have heard me!’

I wave the stick in front of H’s nose, and squints at it. ‘Yup,’ he says, ‘that’s definitely a second line.’

‘We’d better get busy in that case.’

The following evening, I’m still registering a faint second line, so we decide we ought to make a second attempt at the baby-making sex. Seeing as I recently learned that sperm live for up to five days inside your uterus (which, in my view, counts as an infestation), this amounts to sending in reinforcements, which will mass around my fallopian tubes, waiting for one of them to feebly cough out an egg.

We’re both hungry, so we decide to go out for dinner first, and so, inevitably, we’re both feeling sleepy and bloated by the time we get home to bed. H takes off his clothes, and belches loudly.

‘I’m guessing you’re not much in the mood,’ I say.

‘Well, ordinarily no,’ he says, ‘but that doesn’t mean to say we won’t have sex. Maybe you could go on top; I think I’d be sick if I had to bounce around too much.’

‘So romantic,’ I say. ‘Maybe we should try spoons instead?You can’t burp at me from that angle.’

‘Sorry,’ says H. ‘I’ll try to stop.’

I lean in and kiss him. ‘I’ll get my vibrator. I think I might need it.’

‘Fair comment.’

‘Maybe some lube, too.’

‘Oh.’ H’s face scrunches up into something resembling devastation. ‘It’ll take it so much longer for me to come if we use lube.’

‘I tell you what,’ I say, ‘if tonight’s the night we conceive, we’ll tell our offspring that it happened some other way entirely. We’ll pretend that we were having amazing, romantic, spontaneous sex somewhere glamorous.’

‘It’s fine,’ says H. ‘If we conceive this month, we’ll have no idea whether it happened tonight or last night. Last night was fun. We can just push tonight out of our minds.’

‘Agreed,’ I say, smearing myself with lube and firing up the vibrator. ‘And anyway, I believe it’s mostly considered inappropriate to talk to your children about the sex that conceived them.’

‘Yeah,’ says H, ‘that too.’

And then, weirdly, we end up having surprisingly pleasurable sex, free of burping and complaining. Or at least, that’s what we’ll tell the children. When they’re old enough.


This post will self-destruct in a fortnight.

13 thoughts on “Don’t Tell the Children

  1. I am so with you on this one. We recently put a television in our bedroom for a little *cough* visual stimulation *cough* First night it worked a treat. My husband now appears to feel under tremendous pressure to perform. Which is an arse, because I am ovulating in the next couple of days and am trying not to become impatient. The internet is roundly useless too: more foreplay must surely be the equivalent of the Health Visitor asking “have you tried winding him?” No shit, Sherlock. Not much use if you’re granted with a visit from Mr Softie. Weep. Unfortunately my husband stubborn clings on to the notion of sex as a weekend activity and my body is inconveniently ovulating mid week. Hmph.

    I know I’m being unreasonable, sorry.

  2. first blog post of yours that i’ve read and it gave me quite a chuckle on this saturday morning here in oztralia!!

    love your blog and after reading your story in She, i’m off to hunt down your book, read it cover to cover and reignite our sex life!!

    good luck getting pregnant – it’s actually ttc that killed our sex life, married for 11 years, m/carriages and *poof* it just disappeared, i’m currently posting missing posters in the hope of finding it again soonish, something tells me your blog/book may help me find it sooner rather than later!

  3. Its a rubbish state of affairs, not least when it then turns into a row about how unromantic it is… Oh well, been there, done it and at least there’s another couple of weeks in the month where you can retain some spontaneity.

  4. Oh I am definately telling Felix that he was conceived on the draughty ground sheet of a caravan awning because his sister was tucked up in the cosy caravan bed and my diary said we had to have sex. I may also have to tell Daisy that we were forced to have sex on a week night for the first time in ten years to conceive her because my vaginal discharge was so juicy it stretched around 5cm! She’s going to love it!

  5. We were trying to avoid the ‘quick let’s shag, I’m ovulating’ thing, but H’s extended chest infection has made it a necessity this month. It’s such a daft state of affairs.

  6. I well remember the pressure of having sex when the “stick you pee on” proffered the magic sign. I would run into the bedroom or sitting room or garage (husband cave) waving the wretched thing at Other Half and demand that he come to bed NOW! RIGHT NOW!! I suspect it robbed the act of much, if not all, of its passion. In the end, the night I conceived, I had been out to dinner with two lesbian friends and rolled in from Peckham in a silly, tipsy, and aroused state. Et voila….. I now have a hulking 13 yr old!

  7. Thanks Pamela. My theory is that we need to find a moment in my cycle when we’re definitely *not* having conception sex, and endeavour to have much more fun at this point.
    (Everyone else – if you’ve not read Pamela’s fab blog, do. She’s a force of nature).

  8. I think that most children have trouble believing that their parents ever had sex (firstly because their parents wouldn’t have wanted to do something that disgusting, and later because their parents wouldn’t have wanted to do something that nice), so explaining to children how they were conceived isn’t something most parents have to face.

  9. Dear Betty – love this post….one of my newest posts on the fertility advocate is all about the hardships of baby making sex! Shoot I even have a meditation cd that I produced around it. It is that hard! Good luck and keep smiling! If you ever want to talk – give me a ring!

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