My husband and I are night and day when it comes to sex — literally. Hubs like to have sex in the morning, before heading off to work. For him, sex and orgasm are a mood reset. It gives him the boost of dopamine he needs to stay in a good mood despite having a stressful day. Starting a day with sex makes his life better.
But for me, sex results in inactivity. Sex makes me sleepy. Not just “I’m going to yawn for a few minutes” sleepy. More like, “I will be asleep within five minutes and will take a minimum of an hour-long nap.” I think it’s the world’s best sleep aid, which means I avoid morning sex at all costs due to the demands of work and childrearing.
Naturally, you can imagine my need to be productive in the day time and his severe exhaustion after a long day leaves us feeling more like ships in the night than compatible lovers. And I know we’re not alone. Every couple deals with some version on sexual incompatibility — you probably have your own stories.
It sucks when you’ve spent the day thinking about all the dirty things you’d like to do with your partner only to fall into bed at the end of the day and find out they’re not in the mood. It equally sucks when you decide to be intimate but one of you is much more into it than the other.
There are hundreds of reasons for a sexual disconnect, many of which we could never guess. Thankfully, with healthy communication practices, it seems there are equally as many methods to overcome said obstacles and get on the same page.
Even if you’ve been together for a while, sex can be pretty hit or miss. There are some things that might require you going to see a professional to get things together. It’s also worth noting that no couple is going to be in the ideal sexual relationship all of the time. But just because your default preferences exist on different pages doesn’t mean you have to stay there.
Here are a few suggestions for how even the most off-centered couples can get their sex lives in sync:
1. Watch porn.
You had to know this was going to be on the list. Porn gets a really bad rep. It’s often discussed in the context of addiction and emotional neglect. But for plenty of couples, porn is a resource for creativity in a multitude of ways and can be great to help get things started. Along those same lines, it doesn’t have to be a “let’s try this” kinda thing. It’s perfectly fine for it to be a mutual activity that gets each other turned on. I mean, is there any lower risk way to test out each other’s kinks?
Side note: A lot of people falsely believe that masturbation lowers the chance you’ll have sex with a partner. But it can actually have the opposite effect. Masturbation, both alone and together, can be a great way to show what works for your body instead of telling.
2. Take turns.
Do you find that you’re into day sex, but your partner is into late night rendezvous? That’s a much easier fix than you would think. Either you can give blackout curtains during nap time a try – ya know, to replicate the darkness and the silence — or you can just compromise. This applies to most, if not all, sexual preferences.
If y’all can keep track of who had their preference honored last, you can just rotate back and forth between each other’s preferences. Who knows, you might even find a way to meet at a time in the middle.
3. Get a sitter.
It’s pretty common for one parent to be completely turned off when they know the children can walk in at any moment. Spoiler: I’m that parent.
The good news is, it’s totally acceptable to get a sitter for a couple of hours so you and your partner have time to think, talk, and have sex in a child-free environment. It’s so much easier to let your guard down when you don’t have to worry about the ominous silence coming from downstairs.
If you can’t afford a sitter, a slightly earlier bedtime twice a week never hurt anyone.
4. Engage in non-sexual quality time.
You’d be surprised how much some expectation-free quality time can get your engine revving. Sexual desire can grow from some of the most nonsexual happenings.
Dates are a great opportunity for quality time, but you don’t have to leave the house. Try some of the cheesy “date night at home” Pinterest boards.
Having twice a week family game night is a great way to preschedule family time. Knowing that sex is growing from a larger attempt towards intimacy can make things that much better.
5. Maybe get risky?
It’s a little unconventional, but plenty of couples are trying more risky things like sex clubs, swinging, and non-monogamy. The options aren’t for everyone — and I’ve never been there so I can’t give any tips for success in this area. But I’m hearing of an increasing number of couples suggesting a little risk-taking is what they were missing in the bedroom.
But PLEASE spend time doing work as individuals and a unit before you add some of these nontraditional methods to your routine. Communication – and often counseling – is key to making these kinds of circumstances work. If you’re already having issues, the risk can sometimes outweigh the benefits.
6. Try counseling.
Sometimes, frustration with the sexual chemistry between you and a partner feels like too much to make it through alone. First, that’s normal. Second, help is totally possible.
As it turns out, one of the best things you can do to improve your sex life is improving the state of your relationship. Communication, distrust, and low self-esteem are a few of the many things that eat away at our attempts towards good sex. There’s nothing wrong with starting from the inside out when getting to the bottom of things.
Getting out of a sex rut is hard (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes it’s a little more challenging to get things sorted in the sheets. That doesn’t mean the journey can’t be more fun than you thought!