Cycle 2: HEY HONEY, WHERE DID OUR TIME GO?
In this cycle, both partners are so busy that before they know it, it’s been very long since they had sex. This reduction in sexual intimacy can create distance between partners. Often couples with this problem describe feeling like they are roommates instead of romantic partners.
Cycle 1: ONE OF US IS TOO BUSY TO GET BUSY
Tips for the partner who is very busy
“I already have so many demands on my time. When my partner nags me for sex or is cold to me when I’m tired, I get frustrated. It’s not like I don’t care!”
The more your partner brings up the topic of wanting more sex or pulls away emotionally, the more frustrated you become You may feel guilty for not having the time for sex or wish your partner would understand that it’s not personal.
- Make it a priority. Think about times when despite being very busy, you still made time for something important, even it was hard to make it work. When something is a major priority in life, you somehow find the time and energy to get it done. Try to use this attitude toward sexual intimacy- it may feel like you have no time, but if you make it a priority, you’ll ultimately find the time and energy. Remember, your sexual relationship is an important part of your relationship- otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading these tips!
- Try texting. You may feel you are too busy to have sex, but our guess is that you have a few minutes to send a flirty text now and again. This will help you both feel more intimate and interested in physical intimacy at the end of the day.
- Schedule sex. It may feel awkward, but scheduling sex can help you make the time until it becomes more natural. Consider scheduling a sex date. And consider having sex before you go out to dinner (so you aren’t so tired or full). If you have kids, make the most out of naps or send them to a friend or family member’s house for a few hours to create some alone time. If exhaustion at the end of the day is the problem, consider prioritizing your days off and/or setting your alarm early to have sex earlier in day when you are less tired.
- Define sex. Talk with your partner about what would feel good to him/her and satisfy his/her sexual desires. Sexual connection can involve a full evening or just five minutes. Your expectations may be different from your partner’s – he/she may just be asking for 5 minutes when you think your partner is asking for several hours. Remember people often have different sexual desires or different sex drives.
Tips for the partner who is less busy
“It hurts me that my partner will not prioritize our sex life over his/her time with other people or in completing tasks.”
The more your partner makes time for other obligations or people instead of for sex, the more frustrated you feel. You may feel less desired and hurt that your partner doesn’t make the time for your sex life. You may respond by pushing your partner for more sex or by pulling away from your partner.
- Be flirty. Your partner may not have time for sex on certain nights, but that doesn’t have to stop you from being flirty. Send a flirty text or leave a note letting your partner know how you can’t wait to be intimate when he/she is ready. Your partner may feel turned on and also appreciate that you are not pushing him/her to have sex on the spot. This will avoid flights!
- Schedule sex. One issue that might be making the problem worse is that you and your partner may have different opinions on when it is convenient to be intimate. For example, he/she may feel that certain weekdays are too busy or stressful for sex, while you’re more than ready. Schedule a block of time for sex when you both will be available and for which sex would not add stress. Your partner will appreciate that you respect his/her time limits and you both will feel better when you have uninterrupted time to initiate sex.
- Offer to help. Are there things that you can do to help your partner be less busy? For example, are there additional tasks / chores you can take on a home that would give your partner more time to relax … and perhaps get into the mood for sex.
- Create intimacy. Feeling emotionally close with a romantic partner makes most people feel more open and interested in sex. As easy as it might be to pull away when you are hurt by your partner’s priorities, try not to be. Instead, find opportunities to feel connected with your partner such as by laughing together, holding hands, or talking to each other about your days. When you create a stronger relationship as a whole, you better your chances of your partner wanting sex and improving your sex life.
Cycle 2: HEY HONEY, WHERE DID OUR TIME GO?
Tips for both partners who are busy
“Life is crazy right now. We know sex is important, but we don’t have the time and/or energy for it.”
No matter what you try, life seems to be filled with 1,000 demands leaving no time for sex. You may both feel guilty about this lack of time or frustrated that you are living more as roommates than romantic partners. You may each feel hurt and wanting more connection, but unsure how to make it happen, which can lead to arguments and feeling distant and withdrawn from one another.
- Use time management. You will need to work together to make this happen. Identify times when one of you is doing a task at your home- like washing dishes- for which the other could pitch in. This will make tasks go faster so you can utilize your extra time in the bedroom. You could also schedule a sex date or, if you have kids, get someone to watch them for a while. Another way to manage your time better is to turn off the TV, computer, or phone at an agreed upon time, thus, prioritizing time for togetherness and physical intimacy. Lastly, since you are both so busy, you might find it easier to make time for sex in the morning when you’ll be less exhausted and have fewer places to be.
- Schedule sex. It may feel unnatural at first, but making the time and scheduling sex will ensure you are both making it a priority. Overtime, you will probably get into this habit more and may look forward to your weekly sex date(s). It may even make you both turned on in anticipation of the date- you can always tease each other or flirt in between- which could improve things in the bedroom during the date.
- Try the 5 Minute Rule. Sometimes, we are so busy that we get into bed with no interest in sex. If you do not feel in the mood or feel too tired/stressed for sex, take 10 minutes to just kiss and be physically close. According to research, for many couples, 5 minutes of kissing and light touch will lead to arousal and wanting to initiate sex, even if individuals did not want sex at first. Giving this method a try is a lot like exercising- You may hate it at first, but often, by sticking to the exercise, you get into it and may even enjoy yourself.
Here are a few more resources to help you break the cycle you and your partner are struggling with:
Complete a Free, Online Self-Help Program. Consider working on your relationship using our proven, self-help relationship program. Our program is developed by leaders in the fields of couple therapy and pre-marital education and has been shown through extensive research to improve relationships – more than in-person classes and almost as much as marriage counseling. You’ll work with your partner to complete online activities and receive free support from one of our program coaches. Our program is developed by leaders in the fields of couple therapy and pre-marital education. So, you can be confident that it’s the best thing you can do to strengthen your relationship without the hassle and cost of a therapist. Not sure your partner would go for it? Take a look at these tips for how to introduce the idea. To find out more about our program, go to our home page.
Many couples find that life’s demands get in the way of a satisfying sex life. You now have tips for how to avoid this problem. Remember, it will likely take some time before you start seeing the benefits of these tips, so give yourselves time. Here are some extra resources about how to find time for sex, even when your life is too busy that are recommended by the OurRelationship.com experts:
Love Your Sex Life! The Busy Girl’s Guide to Getting Busy
The Ten Minute Sexual Solution: A Busy Couple’s Guide to Having More Fun, Intimacy, and Sex