I've been thinking about this thread while out on errands this morning...
I think believing that you have to (or that it's better to) conceive a wanted child in an act of love/passion versus conceiving a wanted child in an act of simple procreation is...I dunno if this is the right phrase...but somewhat of an overemphasis on magical thinking (in the cognitive development sense). Assuming a bad outcome, or some negative issue, because of a non-fairytale mating story, is associating two very unrelated events.
A child that is wanted by both parents is planned and accomplished by both parents. Does it matter if the sex was great, spontaneous, or if both were in the mood from the start? I don't think so. Does it matter if sex happened in a private setting, or in a clinic? I don't think so.
Sometimes a joint marital (or partnered) goal requires work. Can sex be work at times? Sure it can. But if both partners are willing to put in that work, or to admit that some "work" needs to be done in order to accomplish their goal, then what's the harm? At times during ttc, I've been the eye-roller "wish I could go to sleep" reluctant. At times, it's been dh. At times, the sex has been amazing and spontaneous. This is, in our experience, what TTC a baby has been like after 14 years together, four children, and co-parenting.
I think dh and I have a great relationship. We're close, intimate emotionally, intimate physically, and good friends. But honestly...after a long day with the kids, and trying to conceive on the third day in a row (on cycle six, or twelve...), sex is just NOT something for which we're both eager. It takes some effort, some work, some laughter even...but we know what we want and we're willing to put that extra effort in. I don't think it's damaging to our sex life, our closeness, or our friendship.
If anything, I think admitting the challenges of TTC has brought us closer. We haven't tied ourselves to the idea that sex always has to be perfect, or desire-based, when trying to conceive a child. If that were the case, I think there would be a lot more frustration. In that
case, the common goal (a child) would be subject to the very fleeting sexual/intimate feelings of each individual. I think that could be divisive.
TTC isn't always rosy. Sometimes it's easy, or sometimes just waiting for equal-enthusiasm sex works. Other times, not so much. Having my dh on the same TTC page with me is strange/weird/unromatic at times. Him saying "Did your ovulation predictor look darker today?" is not a question that puts either of us in the mood, but the answer does tell us whether or not we should have sex that day to accomplish our
pregnancy goal. Likewise, "hold on a second while I go get Pre-Seed" isn't exactly a mood-setter.
When I've had a bad day, or when I was up late/early with another child, do I always feel like having sex in order to TTC? Maybe not that night, but I do it because the choice to have a child is more about a lifetime's goals than about the moods of one night. That's what I mean about magical thinking being a flawed way to approach TTC. It's not your mental state just prior to conception that matters. It's not your partner's mental state just prior to conception that matters. It's the relationship, the shared goals, and the combined effort behind those goals that matters.