Is fitting sex into your daily life a struggle? “Everybody I know is crazy busy, overscheduled, and running,” says sexuality educator Sheri Winston, author of Women’s Anatomy of Sexual Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure. Given your hectic schedule, you might not even notice that the intimacy you once enjoyed is now just tired sex, if it’s happening at all. But there’s reason to turn the situation around: A better sex life improves your health and overall quality of life.
One of the leading reasons you may say you are too tired for sex is that you don’t want to face a problem in your relationship. “It can be a lot easier to say you’re tired than to sit down and say there’s something we need to discuss,” notes sex therapist Sheri Winston. Anger and resentment are among the emotions that could be contributing to tired sex. If you still can’t face the conversation alone, air it out with a therapist and rebuild your sex life.
Too Much TV:
“It’s easy to flop in front of the TV at the end of a long day,” Winston says. And then, before you know it, your partner has gone to sleep (alone) and you are fading, too, or facing sleep deprivation. Winston advises turning the screens off early and cuddling instead to jump-start your sex life. “It’s terrible to have a television in your bedroom, which should just be for intimacy and sleep,” she says. This advice applies to screens of all sorts — for better sex, remove work and video games from the time and space devoted to intimacy.
An Overbooked Life:
Being over-scheduled could mean that you truly are too stressed out even for tired sex. But good sex is so important to your personal quality of life and your partner’s life that it shouldn't take a backburner to, say, volunteering for the rummage sale. “Look at your life and what you are doing,” says Winston. “You have to cut back somewhere,” but it shouldn't be in terms of your sex life.
Pressure To Perform:
Once you are in the rut of tired sex or no sex, you might find that the pressure to perform is causing you to avoid the bedroom. Winston suggests taking a step back. “Ease off the pressure and just cuddle. Many times, that will lead naturally to sex, but if it doesn’t, so what?” Affection and tender physical contact are also important investments in your happiness and, ultimately, a better sex life.
Early warnings of heart disease include difficulty with erections, which can certainly impact your sex life. If you don’t have the “get up and go” you once had, consider talking to a cardiologist about your heart health and the health of your sex life. “Congestive heart failure makes you feel tired in general and takes away a lot of functionality, sex included,” says urologist Craig Niederberger, head of the department of urology at the University of Illinois in Chicago. When you have early warnings like fatigue, you could be less than five years from your first heart attack, so get it checked out.
When your hormones are out of whack, your sex life can peter to a standstill. “Libido is controlled in large part by testosterone,” says Dr. Niederberger. “So that’s the first thing I would look for.” Men can talk to a urologist and women to their ob-gyn if they are concerned that their hormones aren’t functioning correctly and, therefore, impeding good sex. A simple medical fix can put you on track to a better sex life.
If you are too tired for sex as well as everything and everyone else you used to enjoy, it’s possible that you are depressed and experiencing sleep loss or sleep deprivation. The first step to a better sex life is treating the depression. Talk to a therapist about how you can improve your mood and regain your enthusiasm for life. Depression treatment often includes medication, but many people can regain their joie de vivre through therapy and changes in diet, exercise, and sleep habits.
Tired sex might just be the result of boredom in general. One way to rebuild sexual energy and revive your sex life is to become passionate about something else. “If you have something to share about a hobby or a book you are reading, it gives you a little spark,” Winston says. So, whether your secret passion is amateur astronomy or Thai cooking, investigating it further can translate to good sex.
Exercise improves your sex life by keeping you fit enough to enjoy romping with your lover, but exercising too much could just wear you out. Everyone should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, reminds Winston. Fit people can do more than that in a day, of course. But stop pushing yourself till you drop or, if you are training for a specific reason, talk to your trainer about when to take breaks and conserve energy for better sex, itself a fitness activity.
There is a strong link between sleep deprivation and a less-than-satisfactory sex life. A study of 827 men demonstrated that those who snored the most often had the least satisfying sex lives, although their sexual function was not impaired. Addressing the problem that keeps you from sleeping — whether it’s snoring or simply not getting enough sleep — can lead to a better sex life.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:
If you've been tired for months and sleep doesn't refresh you, you could have chronic fatigue syndrome. This condition, which often is at its worst at the end of the day, can slow you down to about half of your normal capability — and lead to tired sex. See your doctor for medical treatment and remember that your sex life is flexible. Try to be intimate during the time of day when you feel your best, even if that’s the middle of the morning — good sex can happen any time and anywhere.