Today’s question is a great one. Here’s what the querying wife asks:
We’ve been married 15 years and have very fulfilling sex…I’m just in awe of this beautiful gift God gave us and how through our years of marriage the sex just keeps getting better. My question….I have found that if we go too many days between sexual intimacy I get very moody and cranky. Is this normal? I haven’t checked my calendar to see the relation this is to where I am in my cycle. I’ve just noticed many times that if we get to 5 or 6 days without (due to husband’s travel, time of month or busy schedule) I start to feel irritable. It’s like I can feel my need to be intimate. I just wondered if others ever feel this way.
Oh, my young Padawan, you have learned much (“in awe of this beautiful gift God gave us”). Let me add to your great wisdom by affirming that oh yeah, one can get seriously cranky during a dry spell.
I could tell you so many stories couples have shared with me. I’ll come up with a composite one that goes like this:
We were feeling annoyed, just uptight and even arguing over little things. I felt this edginess and couldn’t figure out what was going on. And then suddenly we looked at each other and said, “Wait, how long has it been since we had sex?” Lo and behold, it had somehow stretched to eight days. We cleared our schedule for an immediate rendezvous, and afterward we felt so much better. Relieved. Happy. Satisfied. Equilibrium had been reachieved.
Why do we get grumpy when we have a dry spell? I think there are several reasons:
Sex relieves stress. We build up stress in numerous ways throughout our days and lives. And sexual intimacy is a proven stress-reliever. Sex lowers blood pressure, improves sleep, and produces feel-good chemicals in our bodies. It even boosts your immune system. (See 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex.) If we’re used to sex being one of the ways we ease stress, our bodies will notice when that help is gone.
Sex bonds us together. We experience relational connection with our husbands when we make love. Our bodies even respond through the release of dopamine (a pleasure and reward system) and oxytocin, the same body chemical released when a mother nurses her baby. We feel emotionally and physiologically connected through the act of sexual intimacy. Not surprising, therefore, if it’s been a while, we can feel disconnected. Even at odds with each other.
Sex expresses intimacy. Although there are many alternatives for expressing love to one another, sex is a rather special one. With other people, we can chat, spend time, do activities, hug and peck cheeks, etc. But there’s only one person in the world we should be making love to — our spouse. Because of its unique character, we can miss that special connection when it’s gone. Of course, not every couple feels this way, but those who “have very fulfilling sex” likely will.
Your hormones can also play into this feeling of crankiness. Not only do we ladies deal with what’s commonly called Premenstrual Syndrome, we can experience a spike in sexual interest around the time of ovulation. Feeling more randy than average, it can feel like a real letdown not to act on that increased libido. Hello, grumpiness.
So the bad news is that yes, a lack of sex can make feel grumpy. And the good news is that once you know that, you can adjust: by either having sex, or ignoring it until the feeling goes away. One way or another, it won’t last forever.
And in the meantime, you can do what I do and just recite positive scriptures in my head, reminding myself that my crankiness does not give me license to be frustrating to others. Rather, I just have to pray and work harder to keep my happy in place.
Until I can get with hubby, that is . . .