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How to stay intimate when you are too tired for sex

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In modern life the speed and pressures are such that many couples find it hard to maintain a regular sexual connection. Situations like broken nights and money worries or  the combination of juggling parenting, work and possibly other family responsibilities such as aging parents  really present challenges to fostering an ongoing close and open partnership.Do you find yourself asking the question how to stay intimate when you are too tired for sex? What starts as just feeling a little tired can quite easily and quickly shift into becoming more and more shut down from each other. The longer this goes on the harder it can feel to regain a sense of intimacy between you again and tiredness and lethargy can set in. Once this happens it can feel very hard to know what to do to address it and often people feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit that their relationship has closed down in this way.

What does Intimacy really mean?

Intimacy is fundamentally about trust. Broken down as a word some people use the phrase ‘into-me-see’ as another way of describing what we are talking about when we explore those close moments of really showing ourselves to another. In our culture, sex  and intimacy are often confused and many people don’t realise that it is possible to have very touching and tender moments together without full sexual penetration taking place. If sex really doesn’t feel on the agenda for one or both of you it may be that something has built up and is getting in the way. Resentment or overwhelm are both common blocks to lovemaking and if life is in a busy phase these feelings can remain unnoticed in the unconscious.

In order to maintain a close connection with your partner or to reconnect with them after a break it is really helpful to approach the arena of sex from a much wider sphere of intimacy. Take the pressure of yourself to get anywhere with them and challenge any beliefs that you become aware of about having to have intercourse in order to have a satisfactory connection.

Your lifestyle

Think about your relationship with your partner and reflect on how often you speak to them, touch them or just look at them. When there is so much practical focus in your lives like home and kids a partnership can slide into the arena of business rather than lover. Make a decision to have a practice of being as present as possible in as many of your exchanges as possible and try some of the following suggestions for cultivating a more intimate exchange with them.

In communication try making eye contact in such a way that you can be seen. too tired for sexThere are two ways of eye contact, the first is when you are looking out at someone, your eyes act as a defence and don’t let that person in. The second is where you look to be seen and your guard is down and you allow the persons gaze to enter you. If you’ve never experienced this before it can feel a deeply profound exchange and you may feel quite vulnerable. Intimacy is about being with the truth of what is happening rather than feeling that you have to be a certain way. Allowing your partner to really see you is an incredible gift to them and to yourself.

Listen to each other

Also, practice really hearing what they are saying and find ways of letting them know that you have heard them. Its all too easy to get into finishing off each others sentences, shouting from upstairs or walking away mid conversation. Find ways of acknowledging their feelings, and appreciating anything that you can see that they are doing for you and your family.

Become mindful of the way that you touch your partner. Similar to the open eye contact this will communicate way more about yourself than an automatic stroke that they have experienced hundreds of times before. As you touch them, be aware of how you are feeling in your emotions and in your body, feel the sensation of their arm or hair, be as present in that short moment as possible.

Make it a habit to write them little notes that they can find in the day, or send them appreciations by email without any mention of family duties or house care. Let them know that you have noticed what they are doing for you and that you really value it.

Date with”no strings” attached

Make time for dates without pressure to have sex. Agree that if that is what you both want to do then great but that if one of both of you are too tired or stressed you will find other ways to connect. Have a bath together, give each other simple massages, listen to some music whilst in bed, hold hands on a walk or just sit and look into each others eyes and remind each other of what you love about each other.

Some of these simple practices are capable of revealing if things have become very stuck or blocked between you. If you find that eye contact or conscious touch feels too edgy it may be that things have built up to such a point that outside help could be useful. Relate http://www.relate.org.uk/home/index.html  see 150,000 people a year for relationship advice and support so have a look at their website and consider whether getting in touch would be useful for supporting your relationship.

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About Jenny Smith

About Jenny Smith

Jenny Smith is a freelance writer and facilitator specialising in mental health, well-being and ecotherapy. She writes for National Mind and The Working Parent and facilitates training in the Work that Reconnects and Ecotherapy. She is inspired by nature, gardening, love and non-duality teachings

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