Can Sex Help Your Spouse’s Work Stress?

I recently posted the following status update to my “J” page on Facebook:

Yep, “Spock” has been putting in extra hours on a major project, and I haven’t seen him as much as I’d like. He’s also been coming home with extra stress and less time to wind down. The hubster gets a few hours at home, and then he must gear up and head back into the world of project-evolving and problem-solving.

Overworked man at desk

Photo Credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

So what does this have to do with sex?

Well, I’ve been conducting an interesting, if not really scientific, experiment. I’ve tested out three approaches to dealing with my husband’s work stress:

1. I went to bed with him, and we both fell asleep. (After all, he hasn’t been getting enough sleep, and he’s extra-tired.)

2. I initiated lovemaking at night, after he’d been through his long day. (Then the sleep part.)

3. I initiated lovemaking in the morning, before he went out into the world to slay dragons make a living to provide for our family.

The results were that he was in a much better mood at the end of Day #3.

I honestly thought that making love after the long day would be a good way to connect and relieve the stress. That would probably be true for me.

However, it seemed that starting out the day by letting my hubby know that he is not only my friend, our provider, and a wonderful father but my hunka-hunka-burning-love gave him that extra oomph he needed to make it through the hours and hours of his intense project.

I do wish that I could interview a bunch of husbands and ask them which of the three options they would prefer . . . and more importantly, why.

My theory is that (most) husbands feel more potent in just about every area of life when they feel sexually potent with their wives. I have heard reports from men who say that connecting emotionally and physically with their wives, and in particular bringing their wives to orgasm, makes them feel like they can take on the world!

If true, that gives the wife an incredible amount of influence and opportunity. Honestly, it’s tough when your mate comes home with nerves all kinked up like a plate of curly fries. He (or it certainly could be she) may not feel like coming home and cheerfully helping with household tasks or having a long, leisurely conversation or engaging in some recreational activity. He’s simply worn out.

But making time to make love can be a loving boost for your sweetheart’s day. It can start out his day with positive vibes and a sense of readiness to take on the challenges out in the world. It can remind him why he’s continuing to work hard and long — for the love of a good woman and the provision of his family. It can help him stay focused to push through, knowing that when he’s finished he gets to come back home to your welcoming arms. It can act like a tether to his loving wife throughout the day as he remembers your time together, how beautiful you are, and how lucky he feels.

So today I’m encouraging wives to make an extra effort. If your husband is going through a tough time at work, see if having sexual intimacy can help with some of that stress.

Also look for other ways to be generous. Generous Wife is a great blog to follow for daily ideas on how to bless your husband.

(Just a quick note: Of course it could just as easily be the wife going through the stressful days, but this particular post addresses the husband’s work stress and how the wife can help.)

52 thoughts on “Can Sex Help Your Spouse’s Work Stress?

  1. happywife

    Timely post… my husband’s work week has been beyond crazy. Last night, I made sure to provide some stress relief with the hope that it would help him sleep well for the few hours that he was going to get to sleep. Honestly, he’s having to get up so early, that he wouldn’t want to wake up any earlier even for sex… LOL.
    There have been occasions when we both happen to wake up earlier than needed and when we take advantage of that time, he seems to like that. I need to remember to try that more often.

    This does remind me a recent morning (non-work) when he was being really crabby and short with me. He apologized saying he didn’t know why he was being so testy. I said, “Oh, I know why….” (it had been 4 or 5 days since we last made love) and then led him to bed. Fast forward an hour…. I looked him in the eyes, “So, you’re feeling much better now, aren’t you?” He assured me he was, and was much less testy the rest of the day. haha, I feel so powerful 😉

    1. J

      How lovely for you to notice how long it had been! Your paying attention and delivering some sweet intimacy surely made him feel important and loved.

  2. Anonymous

    J, I have conducted my own experiment just like you and my hubby would pick #1. He turns down #2 and #3. If work is tiring and stressful, he is turned off to love making and simply self-releases when biologically necessary. The longest went 3 months with no sex because he was too tired. Excuse me while I go pound my head against a brick wall.

    1. J

      Would you take a virtual hug from me instead of that brick-wall pounding? I’m so sorry. It really does break my heart. Hang in there. I’m praying for you!

  3. Amanda

    My hubby and I usually make love in the afternoon or evenings during the work week but the rare times that we get it in before work, he seems to fly high all day. I’ll get more flirty texts during the day than usual as well. I wish we could do it more in the mornings(we both get up between 3:30am and 4:30am) since we are both exhausted by the end of the work day. It is a good challenge!

    1. J

      3:30 to 4:30 a.m.??? That’s not morning; that’s middle of the night to me! LOL.

      Afternoon delights are rather nice, aren’t they?

  4. rockhisworld

    I applaud the experiment, I applaud your desire to make your hubby’s life better.

    In my years of marriage, I have had times when I had that type of support and I have had times when I did not have that type of support. Let’s just say, that when I got the support, it made everything better. I made me feel like I could take on the world. When I did not get the support at home, I felt like, “Why try? If I can’t even make my wife happy, (I felt like her not wanting to be with me was my fault.) how do I think I can finish this job in such a way to please those I need to please. YOU HAVE HELPED AND ENCOURAGED YOUR HUSBAND BEYOND BELIEF.

    As far as what time of the day do I prefer? I am tempted to say, “Both!” In reality, it would probably depend on the day. Never under-estimate the power of a good massage either.

    1. J

      Both? A little greedy, aren’t we? 😉 Just kidding. A twofer can be a particularly exciting day for a married couple!

      But many spouses are happy to have either intimate time, morning or night, to bolster their relationship and their personal confidence. Thanks for commenting, rockhisworld!

  5. Anonymous

    I can’t speak to morning sex since I get up several hours before my wife, but sex before bed helps me when I am stressed or super tired. Sex in these instances makes a short night feel much more refreshing.

  6. Lori

    It’s such a blessing to have a safe and welcoming spouse when life threatens to run you over. (Thanks so much for the link to The Generous Wife.)

  7. Aimee

    I think sex helps everyone overcome stress in life. It relaxes the body, promotes good sleep and gets those happy hormones going! 😉

    My hubby is up at 2am and in bed by 7pm during the week, so unfortunately, sex during the week is almost nil. My two teen boys from my first marriage still live with us too, so trying to find some quiet time is very difficult and hubby is often just too tired to think about sex during the week. We do try once in a while to make it work before he retires for the night though, but it doesn’t happen often.
    As the higher drive spouse, I can say it is very difficult for me too only having sex on Saturdays and an occasional Sunday. By Friday evening I’m feeling very disconnected and a little grumpy too. Ha! 😉

    I just try to keep focusing on how hard he works to provide for us, but wish we could make at least once per week happen more often.

    1. J

      What a challenge to work around your husband’s schedule! It would be nice to try to find at least one more time in the week, so that you’re not just having weekend sex. Best wishes, Aimee! I’m glad you do have that time together, though.

  8. Scott

    Thanks for encouraging wives to give themselves sexually to their husbands, even at times when he may not have a whole to give toward meeting her needs. It is so important to maintain that kind of connection. (The same is true for husbands to give emotionally to their wives when she is too maxed out for sex.)

    For me, mornings are great but time rarely permits except on Saturdays. We sometimes take advantage of the time right after dinner if the house is empty, because waiting until later often results in #1.

    1. J

      Beautifully put, Scott. We need to give extra attention to our spouse’s needs when they’re going through a tough time–whether those needs are sexual or emotional. Thanks for that!

      Ah, the empty house…what a rare and wonderful thing that can be!

  9. Brian

    Women, listen to this chick! This is important stuff. It may sound like this is above and beyond the call of duty, but of all the sexual connections your man needs from you, this stress-relief-empowerment kind probably will have the most immediate positive impact on your marriage. J is absolutely right, you have an incredible amount of influence and opportunity over how your man handles stress. …(I’ve started writing several more things about this subject and keep erasing them because it comes too close to badmouthing my wife online for me to feel OK with. Suffice it to say this blog describes a type of generous love for a husband that I’ve can’t remember ever experiencing.)…

    I’d also prefer option #3. Though, disclaimer, that may have as much to do with wanting variety in our bedroom as wanting my stress-relief before breakfast. I’m only allowed morning sex when we’re on a romantic getaway weekend. Outside of that I’m told she “can’t do that” because it takes her so long to get fully awake in the morning. Incidentally, she “can’t” have sex most nights either, whether because the kids aren’t asleep yet, or she “has to get to bed” (sometimes as early as 8:30) so she can go work out at 5AM or leave for a day trip for work by 6.
    Really, there’s a whole list of things “we can’t” do with our sex life, that would be more accurately stated as “I won’t.” Maybe that’s a future topic for you; playing “my way or the highway” by blurring the difference between “we can’t” and “I won’t.”

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled topic.

    1. J

      Ha, I love that you called me “chick”! It’s what I often call myself. I’m that Christian sex blogging chick. 😀

      Thanks so much for giving your male perspective here.

      I’m saddened about your wife’s reluctance. I always wish in these cases that I could buy her a cup of coffee and chat a bit. I honestly believe some wives don’t get it no matter how much their husbands try to explain, and I pray that a godly woman will speak into her life and help her understand that you desire HER sexually, not just the SEX. Blessings!

    2. Brian

      You seem like a “chick” kinda girl. Probably because you have a sense of humor. It seems like it’s only the ones who don’t who resent the term “chick.”

      I’d love to send you two out for a cup of coffee. Even if no change came about because of it, I’d love to see her face when she got home and I asked “So what did you talk about?” I think the shade of red would be worth the price of admission.

  10. Paul Byerly

    I suppose it would depend on the kinds of sex. In the morning when you are all about attacking the day, slow sex is not on your todo list. A quickie however could be a great start to a tough day.

    I may have to do a survey on the issue time of day and sex.

    1. J

      (I woke him up early. Spock had to forfeit sleep, but he was still in a better mood that day.)

      But yes, quickies would work great! I’d love to see a survey on this from you, Paul.

    2. Anonymous

      Problem with quickies is they leave me, the wufe, sexually unsatisfied and then I am the one grumpy and miserable the rest of the day. But, they are a great gift to give hubby.

  11. Anonymous

    This is a reply to the first Anonymous. I am in the same boat. Right now it seems that all my husband cares about is work and sleep. Here is a hug from me, too, Wish we could chat over coffee!

    1. J

      *sigh*

      Anonymous, meet Anonymous. Coffee tomorrow at 10?

      Hang in there. I’m giving out another virtual hug…and saying a prayer.

    2. Anonymous

      Hi, anonymous. This is first anonymous. I am over at The Marriage Bed message boards. There is a lot of help and support there.

  12. Anonymous

    My husband has a high stress job, too. It’s not stressful just at times, it is almost all the time. It’s rare to see him not work-stressed, to be honest. That being said, he tries to never let it affect his attitude, and he is always awesome. Sweet, helps me with cleaning up after supper, helps with bath time and bedtime for our boys, takes the boys outside to give me time to myself, as I too have stressful days, taking care of our son with severe autism, our other son, and babysitting. Sex almost always happens at night for us because of our son with autism – we pretty much HAVE to wait till he’s asleep for safety reasons. There’s no putting on a movie for him and walking away – he will get into trouble, or worse, get hurt or escape from the house. I wish I could initiate in the morning more, but I am seriously out of it when he wakes up a few hours before me. I have a really hard time falling asleep, always at least an hour (usually a lot more) later than he does, and so when he wakes up, I am finally in a deep sleep. He’s asleep as soon as he hits the pillow usually. 🙂 We do mornings on the weekends and on days he’s off. Our sex life is great, no complaints from me, and he says he’s happy (I try to ask him often!). But I definitely notice he’s much happier and relaxed throughout the day when we have sex in the morning. Or when we just had a particularly good night. 😉

    1. J

      Wow, good for your hubby! I’m so impressed with all that you two juggle and still manage to find time for one another. It’s inspiring!

      And I’m saying a prayer for you and your daily challenges with an autistic child. I’ve known several in my life, all of them wonderful in their own way, but I know that it requires extra effort from their parents.

  13. Kate

    I am recently married, less than 2 months, but this is a second marriage for both of us. I have kinda come to the understanding that sex in the morning is for him, and sex at night is for me…. If we have the luxury to have alone time in the afternoon or early evening, it’s for the benefit of both of us. I try to work it in every which way I can! I have heard “Happy wife, happy life.” but I also believe in “Happy Husband, Happy Wife!”

    1. J

      Beautifully stated!

      And that got me thinking…what time of day would “sex for me” be? If it wasn’t for work, kids, etc., I think I’d pick mid-afternoon. Very interesting…

    2. Aimee

      We’re the same way…morning sex is more for hubby and I prefer lovemaking before going to sleep, although afternoon works too! And I think it’s because in the morning I don’t feel as fresh and obviously it takes me a little longer to warm up, whereas at night or afternoon, I have a chance to shower and get warmed up beforehand. 😉

  14. Anonymous

    Hi, J! I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, but I’ve never commented before now. It has been helpful to me in so many ways, and today’s post was very appropriate to my hubby’s hectic schedule right now. I tried a modified version of your suggestions, since the hubby has almost no time in the mornings. Using 2-3 minutes before he ran out the door, I initiated a little action (even though morning is not my preference, either). Even though we didn’t have time for much more than that, it definitely put a little jump in his step, and I was getting texts, etc., all day!

    When he got home, he was really affectionate (and he’s often dead tired when he gets home), and this opened the way to finish our morning start! I just wanted to add this because sometimes you can blend #2 and #3, if you don’t have quite enough time, and it was wonderful for me to see how happy just a few minutes made him, and how sweet he was when he got home! We haven’t been married very long, so we’re still finding what works best for us. Thanks for the great advice, and good luck to all the wives/husbands out there with working spouses who are exhausted!

    1. Anonymous

      We husbands (typically) love any kind of sexual attention, even if it isn’t finished. Even a more deliberate goodbye kiss in the morning is all it takes for us to feel great all day. Anything you gals do to let us know you think of us sexually is important to helping us slay the dragons.

  15. Anonymous

    I also have a high stress office job, but morning sex typically does nothing for me. Mostly because it just is a quickie and my wife doesn’t get involved due to being still drowsy. So it just becomes me getting a release with nothing in the way of intimacy. As you said, the most satisfying part is bringing my wife to orgasm, and that will not happen with a quickie. So I usually feel empty afterwards. (Of course bed-time sex isn’t much different for us either, I rarely get to see her O.) So as much as I hate to say it, #1 is our default setting.

    1. Anonymous

      I once honestly told my wife that I received more emotional fulfillment from her orgasm than I did my own. She laughed at me. Ladies, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your husband’s release is all he needs for sexual fulfillment. A man measures himself by what he can do, and that includes sex. If sex is nothing more than a weekly handjob for him, then he’ll still feel like a sexual failure…and then a failure in all other areas of life.

  16. Lauren

    Ok people. Here’s the thing. I’m all for morning sex with my husband, and I think he likes it quite a bit too, but what do you do about morning breath? His breath in the mornings is like a dead dog that’s been locked in a van in a wal-mart parking lot on the hottest day of summer. Because of this, I don’t think I’ve ever actually initiated in the morning. It’s really bad. But I feel like a jerk making him get up and brush his teeth before I can kiss him. Like it kind of dampens the mood. And unfortunately, mouthwash makes him gag. Any ideas?

    1. Brian

      Don’t feel like a jerk for asking him to brush his teeth. It’s all about how you frame it. “Hey. Go brush your teeth and when you get back, I’ll be here under the covers, but my PJs won’t,” is a motivating statement, not an ultimatum. Or if you don’t even want to do that, Anonymous’s method below could be tweaked a bit to where you roll away from him so you aren’t facing his breath, but scoot right up to him and “alert him to your intent” by rubbing your body against his and conduct all further interaction from that position. But any man worth his side of the bed would brush his teeth when asked for the sake of sex with his wife.

    2. J

      Thanks for giving the hubby side of that, Brian. I really like your answer!

      Lauren, first of all, you’re one funny lady. I laughed at your analogy for your hubby’s breath!

      Second, Brian’s answer is good. Also, you might keep breath mints or something like that by the bed. Plus, you don’t have to kiss or even face each other to have sex in the a.m., although I understand wanting to. (I like to look at my hubby at least once during the encounter, you know?)

      Or you could always introduce a sexual fantasy of making love to a bandit and use that excuse to strap a handkerchief over his mouth. 😀

      I love your question, by the way. There is a practical side to sex–things that just need to get worked out for everything to work. We should be honest about those things. I hope others will comment with their ideas.

      Best wishes!

    3. Anonymous

      OK – I know i’m single, but one possibility might be do teeth together – stoke fires with free hand maybe – then share a shower… (ok – ideas in the back of my mind for if God grants me a wife.. Please Dad?)

  17. Anonymous

    Completely agree with Lauren. I am not a biig fan of morning sex in the first place, but when I am I just want to roll over spur of the moment and get going. So stopping to go brush the teeth is a mood killer. What work for us: my wife isn’t a morning person and sleeps on her stomach, so I usually just jump on top and make love in that position, kissing on the back of her neck and back. That way you are not breathing directly on each other. It is also a sensual way to make love, a lot of skin contact.

  18. Janna94

    I have also noticed that sex helps relieve my husbands stress. I can see his physical stance change, and tension ebb in his face. I don’t know if he would choose night or morning, but nights are what we seem to do, and there’s a huge benefit… we BOTH sleep well. I have made the connection that if we skip a night, it doesn’t seem to fail, I wake up in the middle of the night and I’m awake for a couple of hours before I can go back to sleep.

    1. Anonymous

      That is great that you make a commitment to connect each night. You should consider waking him up on those nights you can’t sleep. I know that is an awesome surprise when my wife does that to me. That is really energizing and a stress reliever!!

  19. Married Blogger

    I’d prefer morning sex with the wife over evening during the week, simply because I work a manual labor job and when I get home from work I am extremely tired. I want to drink an ice cold beer, take an ice cold shower, and sit for a little while.

    Honestly, at the end of a work day for me, a foot rub would do more than sex lol

    I just found your blog today in a search for some solid marriage reading – I’m glad I did. 🙂 There’s a lot of touchy-feely, not-too-honest stuff out there. Keep it up!

    1. J

      Thanks for the input! Now I’m thinking about giving my hubby a foot rub (now THAT’s love).

      I also appreciate the compliment and encouragement. Blessings!

    2. Anonymous

      As a stressed husband, I find that I prefer a.m. sex, in part because I am more easily aroused when I’m rested. The testosterone seems stronger in morning anyway. Morning love-making makes everything better. In the evening after a hard day, I would prefer more nonsexual touch, perhaps in the form of a footrub or other body part massage. Of course, after some nonsexual de-stressing, I would quickly enjoy a more sexual touch.

  20. Anonymous

    I would LOVE to have a nice sexual relationship with my husband. I would give to him in anyway to help relieve his stress. We have not had sex since February! I love reading your blog, maybe someday I will have someone to bless with all I have read.

  21. Anonymous

    Morning sex, whats that? Of course, I don’t know much about evening sex either (4 times this year). Since night one of our marriage (yes, our wedding night – and didn’t consumate for 15 months. Then we had it 5 times, got pregnant, and that was it for another 18 months. So 33 months, 5 times – been married 20+ years, 4 times/year is the average, never more than 10 times). I always get the “too tired, too busy”. Of course, she’s not too tired or busy to have 1 child. Or 2. Or 3. Or 4. Or play on the church’s softball team. Or join the choir. Or volunteer at the horse farm. Or join the gym to wake up at 5:20. Or do ladies bible study at night, and stay after to play basketball to 11pm. But sex? “Too busy, too tired”.

    1. k

      If your marriage wasn’t consummated for 15 months you should be concerned that perhaps your wife has sexual abuse in her past. A couple of years ago I found out my mom was molested repeatedly over a period of 2-3 years as a child but did not remember it at all until my parents had been married almost 30 years (lest you don’t believe this could happen, when she finally talked about it with her sisters, the same thing had happened to two more of them, who confirmed the same person, an older brother, sexually abused all of them). My parent’s marriage was not consummated for nearly a year. I would venture a guess this may be your wife’s issue and, whether or not she consciously remembers, her body remembers. I know you’ve been married a long time and are obviously hurt and angry but, maybe there’s more to it than what you are seeing. And, speaking for myself, not all women who have this type behavior are intentionally cruel, there’s a learning curve and having an understanding man would help. Have mercy.

    2. Anonymous

      I honestly don’t want to start a sex war, but at some point in time, I think we in the Church need to recognize that one partner’s continuous sexual disinterest is just as much outside God’s will as the other partner’s pursuit of pornography. Obviously, neither sin justifies the other. But think of it this way. Next Sunday at church, there will be some poor soul wracked with guilt over his/her viewing of porn earlier in the week. S/He will seek forgiveness and find it. But, how many others will joyfully sing hymns to the Lord all the while they continue to express sexual disinterest in their spouse without feeling a stitch of conviction?

    3. k

      Is this the same Anonymous I replied to before? You are right that one sin does not justify another. However, maybe you do not “KNOW” or cannot understand your wife’s sexual disinterest or aren’t interested in her or your relationship enough to try to find out. For me, I AM interested in having a complete relationship, including regular sex (not just when HE wants it)but for 30+ years my husband either cannot understand my need for something other than being continually ignored until he’s ‘ready to go’ or else he just doesn’t care. Believe me, I’ve ‘explained’ until I want to scream, given in until I feel like a used whore, gladly participated, etc. Nothing changes his behavior towards me for more than a day or two. So, while there will be those who seek and find forgiveness at church next Sunday for their porn use, where is the Church speaking up and calling husbands to conviction for not truly loving their wives which, by the way, is a lot more than a three-word phrase and which is a command. (I am not accusing you of this. I do not know your situation.)I am first a person, then a woman but, either way I want to be acknowledged for the whole person I am, not just my husband’s ‘only legitimate sexual outlet.’ That’s demeaning and especially damaging over the long haul. I realize a husband may have sexual needs. I am willing to meet those needs but not at the expense of my mental or physical well-being if my husband refuses to look at any of his own stuff, ever. No exaggeration. Maybe you should pray for your wife that God opens her eyes to her issues on this subject and helps her safely address them, whatever they may be, and for Him to soften your heart toward your wife, to be a safe place for her to look at herself and hopefully grow and change. Growing and maturing are hard and harder still when you feel like someone’s constantly looking over your shoulder being your judge.

    4. Anonymous

      K, you misunderstood my post as a complaint about my wife. Far from it. My wife is a very willing sex partner and I love her dearly. Also, to answer your question, I have taught many, many Sunday School classes in which I encourage husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church. It is a constant topic in my church. I’m sorry you don’t feel that from your husband and I have just now lifted a “flash” prayer for you both. My only point was that it has been my perception (perhaps unjustified) that there are many people (notice I’m not specifying gender because that’s not important) who are unwilling to consider that their sexual disinterest is *not* God’s design. It is easy to consider yourself more spiritual because you are less interested in sex, so while one’s spouse (male or female) is struggling with guilt over having too strong of an interest in sex, the other more “spiritual” spouse is blind to their own sin in sexual disinterest.

  22. upwithmarriage

    Love the whole idea of the ‘experiment’ (sometimes best way to get the answer is just do-it-yourself.

    I heard, somewhere (and I cannot remember where I read it) that men’s testosterone is highest upon waking up in the morning. But remember nodding to myself, “ahhh, that explains it.”

    Thanks for the reminder J, that, sometimes it’s just not about ‘us.’

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