The Frisky Feminist

How Not To Be Too Busy For Sex (Part 1)

If you’ve been in a relationship for a little while, you may notice that sometimes it can be hard to dedicate proper time (whatever that means and however that looks to you) to your sex life from your life-life.

And truthfully, that’s the main thing we struggle with. From early on in our relationship, we’ve been able to communicate with each other about everything (sex-related and otherwise) pretty easily, and when we have sex, well, no complaints there.

But on Friday morning, while getting ready for work, we found ourselves having this discussion:

Future Mr. paperispatient: So when is your crochet class again?

paperispatient: Sunday afternoon – that’s when you’ll be at band practice, right?

Future Mr. paperispatient: No, band practice is in the evening. I have some time Saturday morning and Saturday night.

paperispatient: Saturday morning I have to go to the bank to deposit this check so I can pay my credit card bill and then I have Zumba. And I work at my other job from 7-11 in the evening, and after that…I’ma just want to go to sleep.

Future Mr. paperispatient: Monday night?

paperispatient: I have a meeting at work until 8, and then we need to write this week’s Frisky post! Hmm…

And we don’t even have college or kids to complicate things even more! If lots of different articles and advice column entries are to be believed (most of which, from our Googlings, put a sexist spin on the matter, which is why we’re not linking to any of them), we’re far from the only couple for whom this is an issue.

So, what do you do?

We wanted to raise the question this week in the hopes that some of you could relate and might have some suggestions, either things that have worked for you or things that totally haven’t; you can share them in the comments or via our e-mail or Ask Us message, if you’d prefer to be anonymous. In next week’s post we’ll discuss some approaches that help us keep sex (and our relationship, period) a priority without sacrificing important activities like sleeping, going to work, and watching Star Trek (TNG FTW!), and we’ll share some suggestions about how to balance your needs with your and your partner’s collective needs.


Keep the great ques­tions com­ing! (Hee.) Got a ques­tion to ask, sub­ject you’d like us to dis­cuss, or myth you’d like us to bust? You can e-mail us at or send us an anony­mous mes­sage via the spiffy, new Ask Us! fea­ture here.

By paperispatient

I recently earned my MA in women’s studies. I enjoy reading, working out, playing Scrabble, watching cheesy movies, and cooking yummy vegetarian meals with my partner and Frisky Feminist co-author, Future Mr. paperispatient.

29 replies on “How Not To Be Too Busy For Sex (Part 1)”

This is going to sound like absolutely useless advice coming from someone so young(22) and only attached for the past year, but our rules are simple:

1. If my partner wants to have sex, we have sex.*

2. If I want to have sex, we have sex.*

3. Yes. Even if we are tired.

4. Even if it only last five minutes.

5. Even if we don’t really feel up to it.

6. And finally, unless we having an extended session, we are responsible for our own orgasms.

And it really comes down to both of us having a high sex drive and willing to take a second away from work to fuck like bunnies. We have sex at least once a day every day. I can only think of a few days in the past six months or so where we haven’t had some form of sex, so you can have some perspective. This is just usual for us. Obviously, not everyone wants this much sex.

Even if it a project that I have due the next day, I can spare five minutes for sex. Of course,  we both benefit from sessions that last longer(though rarely would we go over thirty minutes unless it involved substantial foreplay or two or more rounds of intercourse), but I’m extraordinarily lucky to be with a man who can make me orgasm faster than my vibrator(the Wahl, if you are wondering, which and I highly recommend it if you want a cheap, fast, no-muss, no-fuss orgasm).

I think just having that physical connection almost every night(and sometimes in the morning or on his lunch break) keeps us focused on the good things. It’s pretty hard to be annoyed that someone forgot to wash the dishes when you’ve just had a raging orgasm.

And I think just being sexual in general helps. Hanging out naked mostly. Offering blowjobs while he attempts to work. Playful butt slapping. Kisses when we come home from work.

*- Should be noted that we only have sex if it is agreed upon. So don’t think this is some kind of abusive thing. It’s just mutually agreed upon that we will always make an attempt. Generally speaking, the tired/uninterested party gets to be on the bottom.

Woo. That was a bit ranty. I hope you can maybe take something away from this, even though our sex drives are not at all typical. We really put an emphasis on physical love so the idea of not having sex for extended periods of time feels weird to me.

Hey, if you’ve found things that work for you, rant away! :)

Like I mentioned to another commenter below, because of the chronic infection issues I’ve had, it’s not physically possible for me to have certain kinds of sex as frequently as I’d prefer (before those issues started, we tended to be once-a-day-ers as well, and it was extremely difficult to change that), so I know that definitely shapes my approach because I don’t want to squeeze it in in ten minutes, I want to make the most of it. (The upside is that’s made us more creative about how to be sexual together, when we can only have some of our favorite kinds of sex in a limited amount, and I focus on that when I’m feeling down about it.) We do the other things you’ve mentioned, though – no clothes in the apartment and being very physical in other ways; I’ve always been a snuggly, touchy-feely person who enjoys being naked, so that just feels quite normal to me.

I like the date night idea. My boyfriend and I live together, so we fall into a routine of just being around each other, and not have sexy times. Also, both of us are full-time master’s students, but my classes are in the morning and his are in the evening. It gets to the point where we look at each other and say, “when was the last time we had sex?” Oh well. :P We try to have one night every week that is our “date night” (even if it just means ordering food and watching tv), and it has mixed success. You should try it. If nothing else, it’s a time block so you can sit back, watch tv, snuggle, have sex, go out to eat, whatever, and it’s scheduled in so you don’t have to feel like you should be doing something else instead.

Damn, I thought it was stressful when just I was working on my MA, but both of you in grad school! Future Mr. paperispatient and I had similar schedule differences during my second year of school – I had work and classes in the morning and afternoon and he usually worked late afternoon through evening, and some days it felt like we barely saw each other. So I can definitely sympathize!

I have no insight from personal experience, as I have just started seeing someone and we’re still in the “nothing is more important than going at it like ovulating rabbits every chance we get” stage of things.

However, I did live with a boyfriend in college (same suite, not same room, my college was not THAT progressive…) and I found that we ended up fooling around less once we lived together, because when we were seeing each other in the regular course of things (and living with friends) we didn’t really spend as much time just the two of us, or making it special.  Of course, because I was 20 and dumb, I didn’t really do anything about it except get upset and get into fights about it, but hindsight and what not!  But in retrospect, I wish I’d tried something along the lines of Amanda’s date night suggestion below (and if I remember this, if the boy is still around, six months from now when I’m getting cranky because I’m not having enough sex because we’re both so busy, I will gladly road test it.) Just having some time blocked in that’s just for you guys to be together without work/writing/friends intruding.  Not scheduling sex exactly, but it would be a chunk of time in which sex could be had, if that’s how you choose to spend it.  Or a chunk of time to spend eating  take out and watching Kung Fu Panda (also an awesome way to spend an evening.)  And then if you both have exceptionally busy weeks, at least you know you have ONE chance to get laid.

That concludes “suggestions from someone who has never actually tried what she’s suggesting and may in fact have no idea what she’s talking about.”

I really like date nights – like you said, it provides an opportunity for sex without you having to write “sex, 7PM” on your calendar.

And I think a lot of us have those “I was so dumb about that / handled that so poorly / etc’ memories – I definitely do. I think the key is doing what you’ve done, reflecting on what went poorly and how to handle the situation in a more positive/effective way if it comes up in the future. :)

I’m really good at hindsight, I just hope I remember to learn from it when I need to.  But like I said, I foresee an opportunity to road test this idea in the future, as I’m not sure it’s physically possible to keep up the amount of sex I’ve been having lately.  If nothing else, my need to sleep is going to put a damper in things eventually, haha.

I think if we required all sex columnists to have sex completely figured out before they began writing, advising, or initiating these conversations, no one would ever talk about sex at all. I’m looking forward to the next article. It made me feel better to know that people whose sex lives I admire (who are able to talk openly about it, try new things, and take it seriously as a meaningful aspect of their relationship) sometimes struggle with the same things I do.

It appears that my well-intentioned comment was totally misinterpreted (and I’m responding to everyone in this thread for the sake of email notifications and such).  I think she should push unpaid internet writing back a day or two in favor of doing something that she obviously really really wants to do, and then possibly take that experience into account when she writes her article.

I think we should allow PiP to decide which is more preferable to her. I, as an editor here, appreciate her dedication to her “unpaid internet writing,” as you so kindly put it. Not that we wouldn’t be flexible with PiP if she DID want to take time off, but that really isn’t anyone’s business.

Your implication that PiP isn’t fit to be writing this column currently because of her lack of sexytimes isn’t very cool. Talking about her sex life, the good and bad, is her way of getting our readers involved, and it’s something I appreciate about her as a sex columnist; it makes her advice more believable, that hey, this is coming from a real person like me. This is not a lecture hall, it’s a forum for discussion. PiP’s current lack of time for sex doesn’t have any bearing on whether or not she can lead conversations on sex, and I think many would say it makes her more credible, showing that there is always fallibility and room for improvement, even for “experts.” She brought up a very important topic that does plague many couples, and even sex experts are humans that are subject to periods of business where sex falls to the wayside.

I read that conversation and wonder why you are having it as opposed to “doing it.”  Saturday morning before the bank, why is that not an option?  Sometimes other things have to be sacrificed if you want to have sex.  Can the boyfriend be 15 minutes late to band practice?  Can sex be your exercise that day rather than go to Zumba?

I’ve never been a fan of scheduling sex.  It makes it another task and tasks feel like chores; it removes all the pleasure.  When articles suggest scheduling, I take it as schedule time to be together.  Not sex, but intimacy.  My parents have raised 3 daughters across a 12 year age span.  No matter what, Friday was always date night.  It was their time.  This is something I’ve brought into every relationship.  Making a relationship a priority now ensures that when things get complicated, it will be a priority then.

In response to your question, because I’ve been dealing with chronic yeast infections for a little over two years, I can’t have the kinds of sex that involve my bits nearly as often as I’d like (frequent sex was a huge contributing factor to the problem), so when I do have those kinds of sex, I want to make it count – I want there to be ample time and not to have to squeeze it in at 5AM before work. I prefer to be wide awake and able to dedicate the right (for me) amount of energy to it! :)

The dreaded yeast infection!  It’s like a cruel joke Mother Nature likes to play.

I totally understand the energy thing.  In combination with the yeast, I can understand wanting sex to fulfill what you need and not some half-assed not fully there 5 am quickie.

What about mutual masturbation?  Would that satisfy you while not irritating the yeast infection?  I’m trying to think of some creative solutions, but they all seem to involve scheduling or at least making sure that there is enough time.

Unfortunately no, it seems like any sexual activity (besides anal sex, which is a big plus) can be enough to do it – though I appreciate you trying to help! And things do seem to be looking up, so I’m hopeful that improvement will make it possible for us to get back to that spontaneity I really like as opposed to trying to plan it out.

TBH, mostly what you do – notice we haven’t had sex for a while (by our standards, YMMV), check in about possible reasons and schedule clashes, and just basically notice that it’s something we want to do. Also, sometimes, one of us will like the *idea* of sex but just not be feeling “oh my god yes definitely”, so we’ll kiss and touch for a bit, and if that doesn’t lead to sex, fine, but if it does, great. i.e.: allowing for responsive desire rather than waiting for spontaneous desire (h/t Emily Nagoski on that one).

Scheduling is one of the first things almost every article I’ve found about the subject suggests, and…I have very mixed feelings about it, for myself. In almost every other aspect of my life I’m all about planning things out, and I prefer sex not to be that way! We’ll definitely talk about that next week.

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