When the billion other things going on in your life seem to be conspiring against you getting laid, what can you do? Read on for some tips that have served us well and suggestions from your fellow Persephoneers.
It’s important to remember that this is all very much “YMMV” (your mileage may vary) and that what’s “normal” for one couple can be very different from what’s “normal” for another – some people do it daily while others are very happy having sex a few times a month. So it isn’t how often you’re having sex that is important but rather that frequency changing in a way that makes you and your partner go, “Huh, this has changed and we want to change it back.” (If things have changed and you’re both cool with it, carry on!)
If you’re a regular Frisky Feminist reader, you can probably anticipate our first suggestion – talk about it. Almost certainly, you both have noticed what’s going on (or, you know, not going on), so don’t let it become an elephant-in-the-room-sized problem. And if you’re both so busy and frazzled that you’re not sure if your partner has noticed and sees it as something to work on, mentioning it can be the first step in addressing and changing the situation.
One thing you might want to talk about (and might want to think about on your own for a while first) is, when do you usually feel like having sex and when do you not, and what things can you do to create an environment that fosters the former instead of the latter? This might seem really obvious, but if you’ve never articulated it explicitly to yourself, and to each other, it can be worth considering. Like, I (paperispatient) know that when I’m really stressed out, I tend to go on autopilot and not give nearly as much of my focus and energy to things besides whatever it is that’s stressing me out (an upcoming exam, a big project at work, whatever), and that certainly affects how likely I am to make sure that I make time for sex. Knowing that, I can think about ways to deal with that stress so that I can maintain my happy, horny attitude. (Regular sex helps relax me as well, so it’s just a really nice cycle to keep going.)
This might sound contradictory at first, but one thing that has consistently been a boon to our sex life is the exercise classes I do a few times a week. They help me manage the aforementioned stress, which is beneficial to lots of things in my life besides sex, and they also make me more in tune with and conscious of my body in a positive way. I can feel sexy while shimmying in Zumba or strong and proud of myself for doing more push-ups than I’ve ever done before, and that positive awareness definitely translates into the bedroom – it’s not uncommon for me to get home from a class and say something like, “My arms and calves are exhausted, but if you feel like topping we should totally do it now.” (It’s also something that lets me just focus on me and my needs, and I think it’s important to have things like that when you’re also trying to balance another person’s needs with yours.)
The main thing that helps us keep sex front and center during busy times is multitasking – taking things that we have to do and incorporating couple/sexy-time into it. When our work schedules allow it, we shower together; we’d have to do it anyway, and it feels really intimate and nice to talk and wash each other. Sometimes (on the weekends more so than when we’re running late before work) it turns sexual, other times it doesn’t, but it’s a good way to get some time together.
Another way we often do this is with cleaning and household chores – few things make cleaning go more quickly and more enjoyably than a naked someone following you around, ready to give you a motivating slap or two with a riding crop if you missed a spot while vacuuming! Anticipation builds in a really great way, and it give us another context in which to engage in a bit of dominance and submission besides strictly sex, which is satisfying for both of us. (Obviously, D/s and spanking isn’t for everyone, but you can easily tweak this to fit your interests more – some motivational fondling, perhaps?) And then if you don’t finish all the chores, well, as one commenter put it last week, it’s hard to be annoyed that the dishes aren’t done when you’ve had some great sex instead.
You’d probably prefer to spend some time with your partner not focused on other things, which may be why many of you suggested having a designated date night. The consensus was that scheduling sex tends to take the fun out of it, and we both tend to agree with that, though if it works for some of you, keep it up! The nice thing about a date night is that you can focus completely on each other and having fun together, and it provides an opportunity for sex as opposed to a “we are having sex on this day and at this time.” It can also be very flexible – many Persephoneers emphasized that it need not be the traditional dinner and a movie but could be hanging out on the couch watching TV together, and we think that’s really important. For instance, we know that we both tend to get somewhat sleepy and gassy after a big meal (what, it’s true), so on date nights we tend to go for the sex first, then once we’ve worked up an appetite, gather up our clothes and go out for dinner or to get groceries to cook something yummy at home. And if you do feel the need to schedule sex specifically, try to give yourselves way more time than you really need – it’ll feel a lot more natural to just let it happen at some point within a given timeframe, rather than trying to neatly squeeze it in between other things.
In addition to having a date night, a few commenters expressed their fondness for quickies, which are most definitely worth considering. If you’re concerned that a brief amount of time might not be enough for you and/or your partner to really enjoy yourself (whether that means having an orgasm or just having some kind of sex that makes you feel satisfied), you might want to try doing things to get a bit warmed up beforehand – yes, “sexting” is a goofy word, but it can also be fun and arousing so that by the time you’re both together, you’ve both been horny for a while and are ready to go. (Also think about incorporating any favorite toys.) Finally, you might also consider taking turns with quickies – from our experience, it can be really gratifying and satisfying in a different way to focus completely on one person during a sexual encounter, and it can also build some anticipation for next time when the tables are turned.
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 FriskyFeminist@persephonemagazine.com or send us an anonymous message via the spiffy, new Ask Us! feature here.