Intimacy in Marriage

Encouraging Christian Women toward Healthy Sexual Intimacy

The Altar of Tiredness: Are You Sacrificing Your Sexual Intimacy?

This is Part 4 of our series “What Altars Are You Sacrificing Your Sexual Intimacy On?”

If you feel too tired for sex, listen in to what Paul Byerly has to say in today's post. Paul and his wife Lori are such strong advocates for nurtured sexual intimacy in marriage.  I'm fortunate to have them part of this series.

You’re dead tired, and he wants sex. Why would a man ask for sex when his wife is so tired she’s likely to fall asleep before he's done? Is that reasonable?

Clearly, it is neither loving nor reasonable to expect sex in this situation; however, being too tired for sex most days is also not reasonable.

In my experience most men are understanding of being too tired – if it's not the norm. When he hears "too tired" frequently, it is, at best, a problem, and at worst an indication that he doesn't matter much to his wife.

Think about it from his point of view – you're usually too tired for lovemaking, but still managing to do all kinds of things for others day after day. You can see how a fellow might take that as "You are not very important to me." If that is not the message you want to send, you need to do something.

To a great degree, tiredness is a season of life issue. As your kids get older, you will be less busy and less sleep deprived. When the kids can do more for themselves, you won't be as exhausted at the end of each day, and you won't be worried about crying or a knock on the door just as you are starting to enjoy sex.

But that is then, and this is now.

How do you deal with the issue until then?

How can you have enough energy to enjoy sex the way you want?

How do you keep your sex life alive so it's there when you have the time to desire and enjoy it?

How can you keep hubby from being grumpy and unhappy?

Start by explaining to him what I just said about time of life, and assure him that it is going to get better over time. Let him know you are aware of the situation, and you want to find ways to make it better now. Hearing this from you will help – especially if you follow up with action.

One problem is that most sex happens at bedtime – when we are the most tired. If you do the typical mommy obstacle course/endurance race each evening, it's difficult to be interested in sex – even if you're not too sleepy to care.

One solution is to help your husband understand that the evening grind is not compatible with you wanting sex.  Then ask him to help change things. What can he do to help you, at least some nights? If he put the kids to bed, while you soaked in the tub – in blissful quiet – might you be more open to, if not downright desirous of, a bit of love play?

Another idea - arrange a few days a month for morning sex. Maybe every other Saturday he gets up to make sure the kids have breakfast, then he comes back to enjoy a morning romp with you.

Explain to him that if you get up and see the kids, your mommy mind kicks in, and that is not what he wants. You get to relax in bed while he does the necessary parenting, and then you both get to enjoy sex – what a deal.

There are other ways to morning sex happen. One couple told us they have a Sunday morning sex date – he drops the kids at Sunday School, runs home to join her in bed, then they dress and go to church smiling. (Obviously this works if your kids are a little older and your church does not require a parent be on premises when their kids are in Sunday School).

Be on the lookout for the chance to have sex in the afternoon or early evening. Any time the kids are away, grab the opportunity.

Alternating car-pooling for after school events with another family can give you occasional home-alone-together time.   If all your kids are in school, you could have him come home "for lunch" occasionally (or both of you, if you work outside the home); or get wild and meet him at a hotel once a month on his lunch hour. (Grab something to eat during afterglow.)

Another way to meet his need, show you care, and still not ignore your need for sleep, is to learn how to pleasure him by hand; not instead of "real sex," but in addition to. It may take a bit to learn (ask him, he should be glad to help you get the hang of it), but once you do, this is a fast easy way to take the edge off.

Grab him in the morning or join him in the shower, and give him a bit of pleasure and release. You can also use this at bedtime when you're tired but you know he is feeling the need. By the way, if you offer this before he asks for anything, you get bonus points for initiating.

Aside from being fun and leaving him less frustrated, these kinds of things show him you care and let him know you are committed to meeting his wants, needs, and desires. Making an effort really helps in another way -- it's easier for a guy to cope with sexual frustration when he is sure his bride understands and is working to take good care of him.

Finally – studies have repeatedly found that being short sleep is very harmful. Most of us suffer if we get only seven hours most nights. If you are regularly too tired for sex, you are too tired.

Being too tired for sex is a warning sign that you need to make changes to get the sleep you need. (For husbands reading this, be sure to check out my post Her Sleep Is Important To Your Marriage.)

Paul "The Generous Husband" and his bride of 25 years Lori "The Generous Wife" have been writing and teaching about marriage and sex since 1997. You can follow them on twitter as @themarriagebed.

Don’t miss the other posts in this on-going series!  Sign up with the RSS-thingy so you can catch what other great marriage bloggers will be saying about the Altars We Sacrifice Sexual Intimacy On.

PART 1: The Altar of Time by Dustin Riechmann

PART 2: The Altar of Ideal Conditions by Lori Lowe

PART 3: The Alter of Inhibition by Kate Aldrich

June 18th, 2011 by