About Jana Welch
I live in Hamburg with my two children and have a sexology practice. I work with clients both in-person and online. I have a master’s degree in sexology and am a systemic sex therapist for couples. In the past, I worked as a journalist and television producer. Today I can combine these fields by discussing my favorite topic: sexuality. The way I see it, sexuality is the glue that holds any romantic relationship together. I know from personal experience that sexuality can change at any time in a person’s life, and I share this with my clients as words of encouragement. It’s never too late.
Can you tell us a bit about your fertility journey?
I started wanting children shortly after I got married at age 36. Before that, I hadn’t really thought about it. I always thought it would just work out. But unfortunately, it didn’t. I got pregnant 3 times, and each time the little heart stopped beating between the 6th and 8th weeks of pregnancy. That was a big blow – not just for me but for our relationship as well. I was used to everything going according to plan, and all of a sudden, it wasn’t. I felt so inferior and alone in my struggle to have a baby. Back then, there were no communities like today, so getting information about fertility was much more difficult.
A part of me knew that there was some “real” problem. I insisted on testing my embryonic tissue. And lo and behold, I was right. I didn’t have paternal antibodies. After getting immunized with my partner’s blood, I immediately got pregnant. However, it took me a pretty long time to come to this diagnosis, and I only got there with a lot of luck and perseverance.
Why do you work with LEVY Health?
When trying to have a baby, I was all on my own and needed to visit the doctor for every test. Now, with LEVY Health, women can be more independent and get quick answers about their reproductive health. This is progress that I can and do support 100%. Not knowing why this is happening is probably what bothers women most. Finally, there is a solution to this.
On top of that, LEVY Health supports women struggling with fertility and makes them feel like part of a community. They are not left on their own. We’re there for them and put all our heart and soul into their fertility journeys. I would have loved to have this back then, to be free from my powerlessness and dependence on the medical system, and get an independent diagnosis.
Sexuality is often a challenge when couples are trying to conceive. Why is that?
During this time, couples concentrate on the result: getting pregnant. It’s less about interesting and surprising sex and more about achieving a clear goal. And that’s exactly what kills the pleasure and excitement for many couples. When only the end goal counts and not the journey to get there, the act of sex becomes quite technical and functional, leading to dissatisfaction. Often, the focus is only on “coming,” and the man might see himself as just the sperm source. Tension is inevitable.
What are your 6 tips to improve sexuality and intimacy in a relationship?
How nice that you mention intimacy because that’s what I hope couples experience. To be intimate, you need to be truly present and share things that you might otherwise only share with your best friend.
Tip 1: Sharing
Set your cell phone timer for 4 minutes. Partner A starts and shares what’s on their mind. Partner B nods, listens intently, and thanks partner A without commenting on what they said. Then you switch. When you’re done, thank each other for sharing. In the end, no one feels attacked and just acknowledges the information shared.
Tip 2: No cell phones
Cell phones have no place in the bedroom. Buy an alarm clock. Instead of starting and ending the day looking at your phone, dedicate that time to your partner. The world can wait.
Tip 3: Sleep naked
This is very simple and effective. Sleeping naked opens the doors for more closeness, touching, and sensuality.
Tip 4: Greeting
How do you greet your partner when they come home? How much time do you take for this first encounter? Is there more than just a quick kiss?
Tip 5: French kissing
It’s hard to believe, but very few couples who have been together for a while still kiss with their tongues. How about you? My motto is: a french kiss a day keeps frustration away.
Tip 6: Learn to set limits
An erection doesn’t mean you have to have penetrative sex. As a couple, it can be incredibly relieving to experience sexuality without penetration and simply play again. This takes courage and clear communication.
What’s a problem many couples have when trying to conceive?
When getting pregnant is the only motivation for sex, the act of love becomes a monthly chore. There’s the pressure that it has to work this time. Sex becomes stressful. And stress is the enemy of flourishing sexuality. It’s not uncommon for problems like erectile dysfunction and vaginal dryness to come up. Stress decreases blood flow and moisture in the vagina, which can make sex painful. That’s an absolute no-go.
I want couples to continue to think of themselves as lovers outside of ovulation. Being intimate at other times of the month helps you focus more on each other and less on getting pregnant.
But the longer you struggle to conceive, the harder it is to strike the balance. If the issue isn’t addressed, it can grow bigger and more toxic. So I would like couples to talk openly about their desires and fears, perhaps with a therapist or someone else they trust.
Thank you very much for sharing, Jana!
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