When Your Sex Life Is Under Time Pressures

woman frustrated while man works on laptopMy husband has been working crazy hours. He recently turned in a time card that was equivalent to two jobs, and he stayed up one night until 2:00 a.m. to finish a project only to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to go to a business meeting.

It’s not so easy to fit sex into that.

We certainly prioritize sexual intimacy in our marriage. But our usual routine has been thrown off by the constant demands of his workplace and the stress that comes with it. It’s a temporary situation, fueled by a major project and a lovely co-worker’s maternity leave shoving more work onto my husband. (Best wishes and many blessings to her!) But it still means our marriage and sex life are under real time pressures.

So what do you do when you’re temporarily getting less frequent sex than you desire? (For permanent issues, check out Help for Higher-Drive Wives and Two Words Your Higher-Drive Spouse Needs to Hear.)

Grab those crucial moments of affection. I don’t let my husband leave before I get a goodbye kiss or come home without a welcome kiss. That doesn’t always happen in our marriage, but now that our overall time is more limited, I really want to savor those moments of touch. Even if somehow you can’t make time for fifteen minutes of sex, you can likely find 15 seconds for a loving embrace or a passionate kiss. Or make it 30 seconds and do both! Staying in touch, literally, also releases a bonding chemical into your body, linking you to your mate, and reminds you of what you’ll be enjoying once this brief interruption in your normal routine is over.

Believe in the quickie. A quickie is any sexual activity you can fit into a short period of time. When life is handing you too many to-do’s that you simply can’t get to the long lovemaking, you can still connect sexually by treating each other to brief intimate interludes. It can be intercourse, oral sex, a hand job, digital manipulation, etc. — but find ways to fit a little lovemaking into your crunched schedule. To make this work, you’ll probably need to get your head in the game in advance, grab the lubricant if needed, and focus fully on pleasure. You don’t want an entire marriage of quickies, but it’s a great way to stay intimate when time is temporarily hard to find.

Count down the days. I know approximately when the madness will end, and, believe me, I’m eager for it! So why not tick off the days in anticipation? Not only that, plan something you can look forward to. Maybe you can plan a romantic vacation, a weekend getaway, or even a special date out or at home. Mark the date on the calendar and then watch the time get closer and closer. At first, it may seem so far away, but soon you’ll see it coming closer and closer. When you finally reach 3 – 2 – 1 – here!, you can truly celebrate with some extra lovin’.

Pray for your patience. We all know it’s hard to want something now and not get it. Including sex. Moreover, God has given us a natural sexual desire for our husband; thus, sex could qualify as a “need” of sorts. But we can wait. If we simply cannot have sex this very moment, even though we desire it, we can pray for our patience. A temporary break in our sexual intimacy is a bit like a sexual fast. As long as we know we’ll partake soon, we can hold off for a little bit. Couples separated by military service, business trips, or mission work deal with this very challenge. If we bring to God our longing and ask Him to bless us with patience, I believe that He will be faithful and encourage us right where we are. Our circumstances are not ideal, but they are do-able — with God’s help.

What are your tips for hanging in there during unavoidable yet frustrating time pressures on your sexual intimacy?

14 thoughts on “When Your Sex Life Is Under Time Pressures

  1. Mama R

    So, not sure about the 4 hour sleep night, but when times get crazy, sometimes its worth giving up a bit of sleep to get it on. We’ve done this when necessary (its been days, and likely to be days till the craziness passes), and have never regretted it. Might mean an extra cup of coffee the next day, but we can handle that.

  2. Chris

    During times like this, we find ourselves doing lots of texting and teasing using a phone app designed for couples. Quick messages and suggestive pictures throughout the day can help a quickie feel like something that results from day-long (or days-long) foreplay.

  3. Amy

    This is a way of life for us since my husband’s job requires him to be up about 3am and in bed by 7pm during the week. And with my 19 year old son still living with us and hubby’s exhaustion, sex during the week is pretty much out. We do try every once in a while to sneak in a quickie if we happen to the house to ourselves, but honestly, my hubby is just too tired most of the time.

    And while I respect that and try hard to understand, it is difficult as a higher drive wife. So I told my hubby that what I need to get through is lots of touch and sometimes just hearing that he wants me.

    It’s easy to drift apart from each other and I admit to being guilty of letting that happen because I get upset over having to wait 5 to 6 days. I have to really keep reminding myself of how hard he works and how much he still loves me, and that Friday night is right around the corner! 😉

    1. christy

      I like what you said Amy,
      I too am in the same boat as my husband is exhausted. In his defense he is not home regularly and so when he finally gets home from a long shift or being on a fire for a week I’m good to go and he’s near dead ha! So I patiently wait…….and then try to give him plenty of warning. 😉

  4. S

    I like the things you’ve shared here, J! — especially the affection part. That’s so important.

    Acknowledgement is key for us. If things are crazy and we haven’t been able to have sex for awhile, we try to communicate that. We always say, “I miss you.”– and we both know what we’re referring to. That way we’re reminding each other that we are thinking of the other even if we haven’t been able to be intimate.

    Also, middle-of-the-night sex.

    ~S

  5. ~K

    What is “digital manipulation”? Are you talking about suggestive texting/emailing?? Sorry…new term to me…

    1. J Post author

      Oh no, did I use a weird term?!! “Digital” as in your digits (fingers), and “manipulation” as “to treat…as if with the hands…especially in a skillful manner” (Merriam-Webster). So touching with your hands.

  6. Jenn

    I can’t speak to most of this, but…amen to the countdown building anticipation!! 143 days to the wedding! We’re both more than ready but are waiting because it’s the right thing to do.

    1. christy

      You wont’ be sorry Jenn. Hang in there and know God will honor your faithfulness. What seems like a such a small, pointless sacrifice in the world’s eyes is a HUGE step towards obedience to God in all things in the future of your marriage. Blessings in your upcoming marriage.

  7. libl

    This is a great list of being generous and respectful of your husband, but I do want to address something you didn’t.

    You mention quickies….maybe we have different definition of quickies, but in my marriage, a quickie means “just for hubby.” There isn’t enough time, effort or stimulation for ME to orgasm, so while having quickies can get a busy husband by, it leaves me in the lurch.

    Perhaps by quickie, you mean a quick interlude where you BOTH orgasm as opposed to a long evening of foreplay, passion, intercourse and afterglow.

    Could you clarify your definition of quickie, please?

    1. J Post author

      I’m going to go with the Wikipedia definition: “A quickie refers to a brief or spontaneous episode of sexual activity, with the act finishing in a very short amount of time.” Orgasm is optional — maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t. Not every sexual activity needs to end in orgasm to be pleasurable, even for men (believe it or not). Of course, climaxing is a particularly satisfying experience, so if you can reach it in a short time, go for it. Some wives can do so with more anticipation, added lubricant, and/or concentrated stimulation of the clitoris. Ultimately, you have to decide what works for your marriage, and that includes how you handle quickies.

      Thanks for the great question!

  8. Pastedreams

    My husband and I have a mostly sleep-trained 6 month-old, but we are living in a 1 bedroom apartment and it’s this difficult to get it on…we are moving in a couple months and definitely looking for a 2 bedroom ;). I just want to add that when there’s little cuddling/physical affection during the day, it’s hard to get revved up for sex. The same with sharing emotional intimacy. We have nightly chats and time to cuddle and that often leads to something sexual :). Now if we can just turn off our analytical brains and say YES. We have time for that!

  9. Gerald pimpleton

    I read all your posts and entries even though I know it’s intended for ladies and not guys like me. But it’s simply good stuff! Hard to find good stuff for guys that isn’t cookie cutter nails, sports, fishing and farting….Just saying. Your blog really helps me understand my wife and what she’s going through and could be thinking. Thank you as we struggle through trying to figure out how to make us work.

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