A recent New York Times article reported interesting National Sleep Foundation research findings: "Study Finds Many Are Too Tired for Sex: One in four Americans married or living with someone say they are so sleep-deprived that they are often too tired to have sex". Many of my clients in my San Francisco private practice and couples in our Marriage Prep 101 workshops shared these sleep foundation findings with us. They were relieved to learn that other couples also say that they are too tired for sex. However, many of them also asked me for tips to help!
Too Tired for Sex: 10 Tips to Help
1) Remember that you are not alone. Fatigue is indeed a leading reason for couples to have less sex. However, do you really want to become one of the "No Sex/Low Sex" couples? According to research, 20% of all couples have sex less than ten times per year. When couples get out of the habit and ritual of being sexual with each other, they lose an important opportunity for connection, closeness, intimacy, pleasure and fun.
2) Look at your health & wellness. Make the commitment to yourself and partner that you will find a way to manage your fatigue so that it does not interfere with a good sex life. Rule out medical issues around low thyroid or iron deficiency. Look at your diet. Are you at a healthy weight? Do you eat enough protein? Do you get enough exercise? Are you getting a minimum of seven hours per sleep per night? Taking care of your own wellness and health can make a significant difference in your energy level and interest in sex.
3) Manage time at home better. You will need your spouse's help with this. If you have children, get them to bed earlier. While one spouse cleans up after dinner, let the more tired one take a bath, relax or read a magazine. Take time to release stress so sex does not become one more chore at the end of the day. Pick a time that you both will be finished working (including work details, laundry and emails) so you don't just fall into bed. Turn off the TV or computer at an agreed upon time. If your career or housework or childcare continue to take precedence over your sex life, no wonder you are too exhausted for sex. If you have sex only at the end of the night, you may end up choosing sleep over sex on a regular basis.
4) Ten Minute Rule: If you are not in the mood or feel too tired for sex, give it ten minutes. According to research, half of the population feels amorous or horny and wants to initiate sex. The other half is not at all interested in sex until after they start kissing and fooling around. Give it a try. Like physical exercise, if we start with ten minutes, we often stick around and get more into it. Next time you feel too tired, try kissing and fooling around for ten minutes and see if you get more aroused or interested.
5) Create windows of opportunity. Do you ever have a sex date? Rather than go to dinner and movie, stay home and have a sexually playful evening? Create windows of opportunity for sexual connection at times other than the end of a long day. Do you ever make love when little children are napping? Or send them to a friend's house, and stay home and make love in the morning or afternoon? What about wake me up sex where you welcome your partner waking you up while you are asleep to fool around? What about making love before you go out on a date? Set your alarm early and make love at the beginning of the day? Couples come up with so many excuses.