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Wifey Wednesday: Too Tired to Have Sex?

It's Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you follow up either by commenting or by writing your own post and then linking up!

Okay, on Wifey Wednesday we often get rather "intimate", so to speak, because I think it's important to have a safe place where we can talk about sex in a Christian environment. If you all are having issues, I really don't want you googling it and ending up at some porn site or some site that will tell you to watch porn! So I think it's best to be open and honest, since God created it, after all.

Photo by Mi Pah

And here's an interesting study I came across recently: 25% of people reported being too tired to have sex. That doesn't surprise me, actually. In fact, I'm surprised it's not higher. I remember when the children were little, and didn't sleep, and I was so desperate to get at least 6 hours a night (even if it was broken up), that sex was far down on my priority list. It didn't mean we weren't intimate; it's just that I was far more attuned to my need for sleep than I was my need for sex.

So let's talk about that today: what do you do when you're exhausted and you have no time for sex?

I don't actually think the sex part is the key to solving this dilemma. I think it's the tired part. How do you get to the point where you are actually available to yourself and to your husband, both with time and energy? So many things demand our attention and our energy during the day that it's just difficult to be available at night.

I talked about this in my book, Honey, I Don't Have a Headache Tonight.

We all have internal batteries that need to be replenished. And too often we drain them, but we do nothing to recharge. So if you want to feel alert with your hubby:

1. Recharge Your Batteries Appropriately. You know the things that drain you: talking to certain people, housework, running around after kids, paid work, chauffeuring, scheduling, all the things that go into a normal life. These things aren't necessarily bad, but you need to figure out what also charges you.

Much of this is based on personality. Some people are real extraverts, and they won't be charged unless they get a lot of time to actually talk to people. If you need it, you don't have to feel ashamed of it. Just schedule in some time everyday to talk with a friend, or go out for coffee after dinner with her. If you're an introvert, and you need time alone, tell your husband this, and ask if he can do the bedtime routine so that you can have a bubble bath. In other words, be realistic about what you need.

If you don't need time alone to feel invigorated, but you need time outside, then take a jog. But don't feel guilty for taking time away from the kids! They can stand to be with their dad for a while, and he'll be happier if you're available to him later.

2. Find Someone to Watch the Kids. Hopefully your husband will cooperate, especially when he realizes that he's getting something out of the deal! But if he won't, take the intiative to get some help. Find a teenager in your neighbourhood to watch the children for two hours after school a few times a week so you can get some time to yourself. Don't just use the time to do errands that won't replenish you; put a priority on doing what you need to do to feel awake. Or ask your mother or your sister to watch the children for a while. Find someone to be your ally!

3. Snatch Time to Rejuvenate. Don't let yourself come last in your list of priorities. Schedule time in now, during the day, for you to rejuvenate, whether it means taking a jog, doing a craft, having a bubble bath, or just praying. When you do have free time, use it for you, don't only fill it up with more "things" that you really should get done. The most important thing to get done, after all, is to pay attention to your marriage.

4. Keep the Long Term in View. It's easier to spend time on yourself when you see the benefit in it. You know your marriage is important, but realistically how much time do you dedicate to nurturing it? Do you only pay attention to all the "things" you can do for your family, rather than just being there for your husband? He needs you, not just clean laundry. And when you feel connected to your husband, you also feel more energetic and more excited to get that housework done later!

5. Say No to Overcommitment. We all know this, but do we do it? What is making you too busy today? Is it your church? Your children's schedule? Your hobbies? Whatever it is that is causing you to stop thinking about your husband and start thinking about other things needs to stop. We all need downtime. Make sure you have some.

6. Practice the art of compartmentalization. Men are wonderful at keeping things in their place. They're not as distracted nearly as much as we are because they're not naturally trying to multi-task. We do. We multitask naturally, all the time. And believe me, sex is not a good time for multitasking! You should not be writing grocery lists in your head while you're being intimate. You should not be planning vacations while he's kissing you. When you're with your husband, practice being with him. Concentrate on what he's saying. Concentrate on how he feels. And above all, stop thinking!

Here's the truth: often we think we're exhausted when the issue is we just have too much on our plate, and thus too much constantly going through our brains. Turn off the constant noise in your brain telling you to do more, and turn on that part of your brain telling you to slow down, and practice being in the moment. You'll find you're less tired, and much more in the mood than when you're always focusing on all the things you "should" be doing.

The biggest "should" in your life is about your marriage. You should be enjoying your husband. Are you? If not, learn to! Make it a priority. And turn everything else off!

Now, what advice do you have for us today? Have you ever had to confront your fantasies and throw them aside? How did you do it? Or do you have something else to tell us? Write your own Wifey Wednesday post that links back to here, and then leave the link of THAT POST in the Mcklinky below. Thanks!

Want more intimacy tips on how to get in the mood? Listen to Sheila's audio download, Honey, I Don't Have a Headache Tonight! Filled with lots of laughs and practical tips to boost your marriage!
Download it now!


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At 7:11 AM , Blogger The Happy Domestic said…

Excellent post, spot on!


At 7:32 AM , Blogger Llama Momma said…

Great advice! My only "tip" would be: sex during the day, if you can swing it. Waiting until bedtime sometimes isn't the best thing. :-)

I think it's also good to remember that some stages of life are a season and will pass. Don't put your marriage on the backburner, but DO give yourself a break.

When we brought our premature twins home from the hospital, life was hard. For a long time. I think we had sex twice that first year. But we were both okay with this. We were exhausted and overwhelmed...we kept talking and laughing and we got through that first year.

I remember confiding in someone at church about how hard things were, and she really came on strong that I needed to "make my marriage more of a priority."

Well, when you've got babies who don't breathe and eat right, guess what? THEY become the priority!! I felt undue guilt over her comments.

Fast forward eight years...the twins are in third grade and we've got a four year old. And a healthy marriage and sex life.

And when someone confides in me that they haven't slept in a year? I offer to babysit so they can take a nap.


At 8:46 AM , Blogger Sheri said…

I haven't posted yet so I'll be back but I have two thoughts (and take into account I have headache and skimmed the post. I'll re-read it in a bit):

1.) Mid-day sex. You always have more energy at noon than at nine. And besides it feels a bit naughty. LOL (I didn't just post that did I?)

2.) Make yourself get in the mood. Unless you are quite literally passing out from exhaustion make yourself. You'll sleep better and you will keep an important connection and seriously, you won't regret it.


At 8:48 AM , Blogger Sheila said…

Llama Mama--
Excellent point, too! Life is different when we have babies, especially two at a time! I think the key is to keep communication open and let your husband know that you do not intend for things to be like this forever!

And I love what you said about baby-sitting...


At 10:41 AM , Blogger Megan said…

Were you reading what was going through my mind at 2am this morning, when I was already up for the 3rd time with Super Fussy Pants (and I mean my baby, not my husband ;-)?? It was along the lines of: how on earth can I find the energy to desire my husband when I can't even speak coherently? And why doesn't my husband even notice that I'm speaking gibberish and can't walk straight?


At 11:20 AM , Blogger Stam House said…

Tired, up with 3 girls 3 and under tired is part of my vocabulary on a daily basis lol

Does it mean that my husband is getting down on the priority list, not at all, his needs comes first, yes even with a newborn I still find time to have sex with him, That is probably why we have 3 children 3 and under LOL

But I always ask him what is his needs and try to fulfill them, and the Lord always give me strength :-)


At 11:44 AM , Blogger forthelove0f4 said…

i have to say i love your blog and am now your newest follower


At 12:48 PM , Blogger Sheila said…

Megan--I totally hear you about being exhausted! In fact, I think maybe this needs a separate post, about how to communicate to your husband when you just simply need more help in order to function coherently (let alone be there for him!). There are seasons in our lives when life is almost impossible. We're just so tired, and we're at a loss as to how to get any relief. But those seasons do pass, and if you can cling to your husband even when it's really hard, you'll end up stronger.


At 7:26 PM , Anonymous Sherry said…

16 years of marriage, 4 children and many rough times in the sex department make me feel a bit like an expert in this. A few things that helped me:
1) I agree wholeheartedly with daytime sex- best thing ever. Even if hubby and I have a night to ourselves- dinner, movie, etc... I almost always suggest having sex BEFORE we go do those things because inevitably, I will be exhausted at the end of the evening.
2) Sex really doesn't take that long. I know for years when my kids were younger (they are currently 16, 15, 10 & 8) I always felt like it was going to take forever and I was sooo tired... but really? 5-10 minutes really can be enough.
3) Shower together. My husband and I shower together at least 1 time a week. It fulfills his need to "be" with me, and it works with my desire to fulfill him and be productive at the same time. ;-)
4) Be the initiator- super important! Don't make your husband feel like the only time you make love is if he asks for it. Make him feel desired.
5) Put him first regardless of your fatigue, you have to nourish this part of your relationship.

Hope this helps! Great subject!


At 10:22 PM , Blogger Megan said…

Sheila -- I look forward to that post. After nearly a decade together, I think I'm pretty good with communicating to my husband. But I seem to have hit a dead end with this topic. I've told him what I'm going through and what I need, I've written him the same thing, and he's even witnessed a complete breakdown. But he still doesn't seem to get that my lack of sleep is a serious issue for me and for our family that needs to be addressed.


At 8:59 PM , Blogger David Jace said…

These are wonderful comments and suggestions... if you are at home during the day and can find time for bubble baths or lunch-time sex. But what if you're at work 40 hours a week with an hour commute? What do you do to fix that? Two years until work can be gone so that children can come. THEN, there can be bubble baths and naps and lunch-sex.

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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