Are you in a committed relationship and find it difficult, especially after a long day, to motivate yourself to be intimate with your partner? It’s normal. One of the biggest hurdles couples face in their sex life is exhaustion. Just too tired for sex, couples put it off over and over again until weeks or even months pass. When this happens, one person or even both may feel needy or deprived, or create unrealistic expectations for the next sexual encounter, only to inevitably be disappointed. What a recipe for disaster. Luckily, the body can be replenished and partners can regain their sexual passion.
Exhaustion is defined as extreme physical or mental fatigue, the state of being completely used up. Millions of people, especially in their 30’s to 50’s, are simply overworked and burdened with stressors, and as a result, consistently feel worn out—physically and mentally—leaving them with nothing left to give. And that means sex is often the very last consideration. Making matters worse, when we learn to live in this state of exhaustion, our sex life can take a big hit and even disappear altogether.
A vacation may help, but it’s not the whole answer. It can take four to five nights for the body to decompress from work and family responsibilities, not to mention the added stress of planning a vacation. Sex toys, costumes and new positions are good ideas to help rekindle the spark, but you have to have the energy to bring to the experience for success. Alcohol and marijuana help release tensions, but they can also make an already-exhausted person too sleepy or antisocial for sex.
The best way to counter exhaustion is a combination of good old-fashioned sleep and lovemaking. For this prescription, start by blocking off seven or eight hours with no interruptions. Cancel evening meetings or scheduled calls with family or friends, and complete any tasks that need to be accomplished prior to the following morning. Then prepare your body for a night of sleep by practicing good “sleep hygiene” practices: decrease light exposure and sources of stress (shut down cell phones and computers) at least one hour before bedtime, and avoid alcohol and heavy foods for two hours before bed. And, finally, make love. You don’t have to have sex—simple gestures like touching, massage, hugging and kissing can be enough to kickstart something more passionate. But it’s okay if it doesn’t—affection and attention of any sort can keep the foundation of intimacy alive. And you may be pleasantly surprised that you can climax more easily while tired, due to a decrease in oxygen going to your brain. Also, climaxing leads to a restful sleep, which can help counter exhaustion.
Once sleep and lovemaking are added into your routine, you can refocus your attention on sex with your partner. It’s okay to rely on sexual techniques that worked well in the past, and save new techniques for the weekends or vacation, when you have more energy to bring to the experience. And, if you’re in the 30 to 60 age range, commit to making love at least three times per month. This helps set expectations and keeps performance pressure at a minimum while decreasing feelings of neediness and deprivation. No matter how you approach it, remember that a stronger emotional bond with your partner can make you feel like you have more to give in your daily life.
- Accept affection and pleasure. People with a lot of responsibilities often feel guilty or self conscious receiving sexual pleasure, and this suppresses the sexual response. So try to accept sexual pleasure in your life, without guilt or self judgment.
- Initiate lovemaking. This month, reflect on what time of day, or what day of the week, your body has more energy, and when it has the least. Gently initiate lovemaking or sex when you naturally have more energy, so you can be more responsive sexually.
- Be present. Be mindful of your partner’s level of interest, so you can gauge the most appropriate times to initiate. Be in the moment during sex this month, using all of your senses including smell, taste, touch, and sound. Your senses will help you to override your exhaustion.