Sex and time is one of the most interesting categories for me on here.
There’s the obvious issue of scenarios where we genuinely feel time is against us and we’re just too busy for sex. Perhaps the actual time we get to spend with our partner (and actual opportunities for sex) are minimal- we work shift work, the children sleep in our room, we live in different cities.
There’s also the element of feeling exhausted. Our lifestyles have become so super busy (read: work, kids, socialising, hobbies, chores, caring responsibilities- the list is endless) and we’re often so overloaded that sliding into bed at the end of each day, sex is literally the last thing on a very long to-do list. Often it falls right off in favour of sleep. This is completely normal- many couples go through periods of being busier and the frequency of sex does decline as they try to find a balance between getting other basic needs met (e.g. sleep).
Time in this sense links neatly to our mindset and mood. Stress, worry and tiredness all play havoc with our libidos- which makes total sense! The precious free time we have left at the end of every day we want to sleep, rest, recuperate, and sex just seems too much effort. It can also feel difficult to prioritize sex when there are so many things competing for our attention. And sometimes we can convince ourselves that everything else is more important than a bonk).
What else to be aware of with time and desire?
However there are four additional elements to not feeling like sex when time in’t on our side. Understanding these really helped me to unpick what was going on for me which was slightly more complicated than just a lack of time….
1. Feeling more exhausted than my partner: it’s often women that take on more of the domestic work within the home, e.g. cooking/cleaning/childcare etc. This invisible, underrated and unpaid labour is known as the “emotional load” which creates additional layers of stress and pressure. Although in modern families this gap seems to be getting smaller, it’s worth considering the breakdown of labour within your home to consider whether there is additional weight you’re carrying which adds to your end of the day tiredness.
2. The impact of responsive desire. If you’ve spent some time looking into different models of desire you’ll know if you tend to experience desire in a more responsive or impulsive way. If you’re more responsive, sex can feel like an absolute CHORE. Because you don’t really want sex or feel warmed up to it until you’re likely a way into fooling around, the very thought of getting yourself warmed up and ready to go can feel like effort. If you’re starting from a point of being quite cold to the idea, you might find yourself feeling like you can’t be bothered to try, or clock watching to consider how long it’ll take and calculating how many hours of sleep you’ll have if you start now. This might lead to worry or just not being able to stay in the moment– two big buzz kills!
3. What does sex give you? Often we tell ourselves that we don’t have time for sex. We’re too busy, stressed, tired. And yet we usually ALWAYS time for the things we want to do. Which suggests that maybe sex just doesn’t make the cut. And it’s worth asking ourselves why that is. Maybe it’s because sex just isn’t that good anymore? Or it feels like it takes from us more than it replenishes? Sex done well can be energising, stress relieving, relaxing, fun- and it leaves us feeling it was worthwhile. But if sex doesn’t feel that great, you’re again clock watching because your partner takes too long, or we’re finding ourselves thinking of all of the jobs we’ve got to get done in the morning, we’re not in the moment or gaining the things we could from sex. Check out the section on sex and desire to find out more.
4. Not making time to feel sexy: This is one that’s often ignored in the grand scheme of low desire, but it’s really important. Each of us have specific conditions or environments that make it easier for us to open up to having sex. This could be having a tidy house, at least an hour free of interruptions, feeling clean, wearing perfume, donning matching underwear. The list is unique to you, but if we don’t find time in our lives for “sexual self-care” we find ourselves much less likely to want sex.
How to find time to feel sexy and prioritise sex?