9 Things to Do When You're Too Tired for Sex

couple in bedYou like the idea of sex. You really do. And your husband has made it abundantly clear that he'd like to be intimate more often. But how, when you're feeling so drained from your exhausting life as a mom? How do you connect with your husband sexually in a way that gets you two closer but doesn't leave your feeling even more drained?

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It's important not to beat yourself up or judge yourself if you're feeling this way, says Emily Nagoski, sex educator and author of the forthcoming book, Come as You Are: The Surprising Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life.

It is perfectly normal and healthy for your interest in sex to diminish for a while, when you're exhausted, stressed, and overwhelmed, when your body feels completely different and you're constantly being pawed by little hands, when the entire MEANING of your body has transformed. Of COURSE your interest in sex wanes for a while.

Dealing with that stress is essential to reclaiming your sex life. Here are a few ways you can do that so you and your husband can feel closer -- sexually and otherwise.

More from The Stir: What to Do If You & Your Husband Want Sex at Different Times

1. Enlighten your husband. "A lot of women are reluctant to educate their husbands about what they do all day," says Lauren Napolitano, a psychologist and author of Over-Scheduled & Under-Sexed: How Busyness Is Destroying Your Marriage (2015) -- especially stay at home moms. What you do is so "mysterious," right? Wrong. "Put your husband in your shoes and show him how it really is incredibly exhausting -- maybe even harder than his job." You need HIS empathy to help you connect sexually.

2. Get your man to help out more. Once your husband gets why you're feeling so drained, ask him to help you more. "If you're feeling too burned out, you need to ask for more help from your husband," Napolitano says. "Whether it's kids or the household, you need to enlist him to do more around the house." Just keep reminding him what the payoff can be.

3. Reduce your chores and responsibilities. "You need to start eliminating things," Napolitano says. "It's tempting to think you can't, but we've all become too chore-driven." Simply try cutting back on non-essential activities and tasks, she says, and "that will help you feel more playful, more sexual, more spontaneous."

4. Plan special nights. Sometimes expecting two busy people to be spontaneous is simply asking too much. "If you think it's going to happen naturally," Napolitano says, "that's just too idealistic." Put it on the calendar, call a sitter, and carve out that sexy time. Don't just wait for it to "happen" on its own.

5. Don't have sex -- connect other ways. "Give yourself and your relationship permission to have a different kind of sexual connection for a while," says Nagoski. "Aim for affection, pleasure, no-strings cuddling, without the expectation that it will escalate into anything else." (Or try this classic couples Tantric technique: Stare into each other's eyes and try to sync your breathing.) Taking sex off the table might seem counterintuitive, Nagoski says, "but it takes away the performance anxiety that shuts down so much of a couple's sexual connection. It's actually the starting point for most sex therapy!" 

6. Try "The Linguine." This is an actual sex position! According to Cosmo, "the key to your pleasure is keeping your limbs as limp as a noodle." No problem. You lie on your side and then, since he has so much energy, your partner kneels right behind your butt, leaning a little over you, wedges a knee between your legs, holds your back with one hand for balance, and penetrates you. Enjoy the ride.

7. Think about sex throughout the day. "The more you think about sex," says sexy lifestyle expert Dana B. Myers, "the more you see 'sexy' in your daily life, the more desire you'll have." Find out more of Myers' tips for getting yourself into the mood for sex.

8. Arrange a playdate with yourself. Do a little exploring to remember what turns you on -- at a time that works for you. It'll help you feel more sexual overall, which should feed your sex life with your husband. Here are 27 ways to have sex with yourself, and because you can't have too much inspiration, here are 69 ways to have sex with yourself.

9. Deal with other issues harming your sex life. Nagoski says most sexual problems are a result of several sexual turn-offs hitting you at the same time: "stress, depression, anxiety, loneliness, feeling overwhelmed, exhaustion, body self-criticism, relationship problems, physical health issues." She suggests making a list of what's turning you off, and then talking with your partner about what you or he can do about them.

We know that sex helps strengthen your bond with your spouse. It can also give you more energy and an overall sense of well-being -- and that's good for everyone. "A mother is the energy source for the family, so when you're burned out, everyone suffers," says Napolitano. Making changes so you can enjoy sex isn't selfish, remember that.

Is fatigue slowing down your love life? What else keeps you from being intimate with your husband as much as you'd both like?

 

Image © Val Thoermer/imageBROKER/Corbis

 

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