When Intimacy Feels Exhausting

Anna Sutton
Anna is a stay at home mom who is passionate about building strong relationships and a healthy life.

Jan 10,2017

Recently my husband and I celebrated our five-year anniversary. Our wedding took place halfway through his first semester of medical school and midway through my college career. I worked and went to school while he constantly studied and stressed over each coming test. After graduation, he was accepted into a prestigious residency program. Three days before his residency program started we had our first baby and we found ourselves once again overwhelmed by circumstances. Above all, we felt exhausted. 

Life hasn’t slowed down much. He averages 60-80 hours of work per week with perhaps one day off. I take care of everything else. I provide these details to explain that, although five years of marriage isn’t much, and although many people have far more experience than we do, we are experienced in the realm of exhaustion. Everyone works and everyone is exhausted. Exhaustion is a common theme in our society. So what do you do to maintain quality intimacy in your relationship when the exhaustion seems constant and sex just sounds like a lot of work?

1). Be honest. Communication truly is the key to a successful relationship and no less the key to a successful sex life. At different points my husband and I have both simply and honestly said “I really love you and I assure you that this feeling has nothing to do with you, but sex it just not my priority this week.” That doesn’t mean that you don’t have sex at all that week. It just means that you go in with the understanding that it is the time for easy sex as opposed to expecting a sexual marathon.

2). Think of your partner as more important than yourself. This unselfishness is challenging to do particularly when you feel like your load is heavier than theirs. Sometimes I honestly do not want to have sex because the baby was up 6 times last night, but I consider my husband as more important than myself.  I love him and sex is essential to a healthy relationship. This is where honest communication comes in. Since I have already told him how I feel, he knows to keep his performance expectations lower than normal. 

3). Set a time when it will be different. It’s important to connect sexually and that is why you make it a priority even when you are tired. However, it’s also important not to fall into a rut. Agree to plan on bringing back great sex sooner rather than later. Choose a time when you both decide that you are going to invest some quality time into intimacy. Sometimes that’s a week later, sometimes it’s a month later, but the important thing is that you both know you haven’t settled for a mediocre sex life. 

Valuing intimacy with your partner means accepting that your sex life will go through seasons like the rest of your life. If you maintain clear communication and always keep the other person’s needs at the forefront of your mind then you will find that you endure the hard seasons well together and appreciate the good seasons all the more. 

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