The reason I have time to write this blog post is that I had sex with my husband last night. Choosing writing rather than sex is a calculated risk for me, because it’s really me saying that I don’t want to pay attention to him that night. I did that a lot in my first marriage, and I’m pretty sure that contributed to my divorce.

In the beginning of my first marriage, we had sex a lot. Then I had a baby, and I breastfed, and really, the last thing I wanted in a day filled with twelve feedings was to having someone else touching my body. So I just said no. And he said okay. That was it. During the last six years of our marriage, we had sex twice: once to conceive when I miscarried, and once to conceive when I had my second son.

Later, my ex-husband would tell me he thought my second son was not his. I understand why he would think that. My ex and I have stunningly terrible social skills, awkward everywhere, but our second son is the life of every party. Everyone loves him. But the idea of me having sex with someone else while I was married to my husband and had a two-year-0ld and a job is laughable. I had absolutely no time for anything, let alone finding someone to cheat with.

After our marriage ended, I discovered that most married couples have sex. Even if the woman has young kids and is exhausted, they have sex. Or they get divorced. Millions of statistics support this conclusion.

So in my second marriage, I try really hard to make sure we have sex regularly. I keep a schedule in my head. We can’t really have sex during the day because we work from home and we homeschool. The kids are too old for us to sneak it inside, so all that’s left is a quickie in a white hoop building. Which we have done. But it’s hard to coordinate it during the day. Which leaves the evening.

But the evening is the only time that I can work without the kids interrupting me. I love the evenings. There is quiet and it’s just me and my words.

It’s also the only time my husband and I can be together. It’s the time we talk about schedules, we watch TV shows on Netflix, and sometimes, if everything goes well, we have sex.

Really, though, I would rather write. I mean, I hate how much effort it takes to have a good marriage. I like sex. I like my kids. I like my job. I like my marriage. It’s just that I can’t do it all. It’s just not all fitting, and the thing that is easiest to give up is sex.

We timed sex a few times. I was curious. Even good sex when both of you are caring and inventive and patient takes about ten minutes. Welcome to married sex. If you are married and you think you take a lot longer, try using a stopwatch.

So the truth is that ten minutes is not that much time. Of course I have ten minutes. But I gave all my emotional energy to my kids during the day. And I want my mental energy to go toward my work. It always seems like sex will be there next time but work is time-sensitive.

Of course, it’s not like that. We are human. We die. All relationships are time sensitive. And I would never even be writing this if it weren’t that my friend who is single and says that she has no time for men because her son and work take up all her time, sent me an article from the Harvard Business Review by Hermenia Ibarra.

I feel like Hermenia is my friend too. She’s not. But I interviewed her about ten years ago about her social skills research, and I loved her. She told me that people would rather work with someone they like than someone who is good at the job. People don’t mind incompetence if they like the person. Incompetent people sometimes even make teams stronger because of emotional synergy. It blew my mind. So Hermenia made me try much harder with my lame social skills.

And now, again, she rocks my world. She writes:

At one of the companies with which I work, the firm’s most senior line woman was asked to join a newly constituted high-level diversity committee, which included the company CEO. One of the hurdles that was holding women back, everyone agreed, was the high degree of transcontinental travel required of executives in the uppermost echelons, who had to attend a variety of global and regional and meetings. Asked about her experience, she told the high-level group: “Let me tell you what diversity means to me. My husband told me ‘there will be sex in this house at least once a week, whether you are here or not.'”

This says so much to me. It tells me that other people are having the same problem. That sex and work and kids don’t go well together because the only time that’s left over for sex is the time when you are done taking care of kids and have to make up the lost work time. There’s a reason that you have a lull in your email during dinnertime and then it picks up after kids go to bed: it’s all the parents of the workforce fitting in family time. And not sex.

So tonight I wrote this post because I knew if I didn’t write one tonight I’d be upset. I wanted to write it last night, but I told myself that I should do TV night which will lead to sex, because there has never been sex after I spend all night writing. And there has never been good sex if I ask if we can do it fast so I can go write.

But there’s always good writing once sex is out of the way. Once I know that I’ve taken care of the marriage. I don’t want another marriage to fall apart because I work all the time. But really, I don’t want anything to fall apart. And sex is the canary in the coal mine – it’s the first thing to go.

 

76 replies
  1. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    The first two comments are by men, not working women with children and a marriage. I can 100% relate to this post. Something is never over rated or over posted if it is a problem with most people.

  2. sarah
    sarah says:

    You are right. For men sex is like a glass of cool water and they need it more than women. My husband and I discovered he needs sex every three days to stay focused on me. Of course he is pysically tired at the end of the week night, but he says it counts if I offer, even if he is to tired. This does mean on the weekend nights are busy in the bedroom. Maybe that counts for the week nights? I will wait till he has fallen asleep and get back up too. I like the quietness at night too.

  3. Samantha Gluck
    Samantha Gluck says:

    Right on Penelope! Good for you. My grandmother once told me, “sex can’t ‘make’ a marriage good, but lack of it can sure can break a good marriage up”. I’ve taken that to heart in my marriage and it’s made a great marriage even better. So many women abdicate their roles as wives when it comes to sex and live lives full of bitterness and resentment instead. Thanks for this post because I look up to you and it reaffirms how I’ve always handled the intimate part of my marriage.

  4. Samantha S.
    Samantha S. says:

    Great post! While we don’t have kids, my husband and I do find that our work (and our play) can overtake our schedules and leave sex behind. We have a standing calender entry for “special married couple time”. We never seem to have sex when we’ve “scheduled” it, but it makes us stop whatever we are doing and think about it. I’ve also found the more I have it, the more I want it and vice versa. Thanks.

  5. Dee
    Dee says:

    I welcome the practical approach to this problem. One that I believed would help my marriage. But I don’t think it will save a marriage. My Wife and I have been married for 20 years have 3 children and one on the way. I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that addressed a very similar topic; This article introduced me to Dr Schnarch.

    Dr Schnarch has a book called “Intimacy and Desire” that has perspective I haven’t seen before that suggests there is a High Desire partner and Low Desire partner in every long term sexual relationship. He says this is normal and there are ways to make marriage and sex great when both partners are honest about the situation.

    Being practical and honest with sex is part of keeping a marriage relationship strong.

  6. Emily ENTP
    Emily ENTP says:

    This post made me glad that I have strong boundaries with my boss that allow me to do other things, like go to the zoo.

  7. Irving Podolsky
    Irving Podolsky says:

    The big elephant in the room, the open secret that no ones wants to admit, is that sexual excitement between any two couples, married or not, will eventually lose its luster. (Sure, always exceptions.) And the reason why sex with the same partner gets “old” after a while, is because the emotional risk and discovery has been completely explored. Sexual risk, suspense and vulnerability is exciting.

    Sex with the same person over a period of time is like reading the same book over and over – you appreciate the words but you know what’s coming.

    Repetitious sexual exercise satisfies physical urges but not mental hunger.

    With men, the idea of a sexual conquest and successful seduction is validating. I can’t speak for women but I’m sure their sense or purpose comes from other sources, like children rearing and in your case, writing. This is which is why you give those two responsibilities your top priority.

    Look, you can’t stop the depletion of your sexual excitement. That’s natural. But you CAN maintain the affection and attention to Mathew’s thoughts, if you’re truly interested.

    When spouses become best friends, there is always time for the sharing of anything. The connection is nurturing for both. Many people believe marriages break up for lack of sex. It’s not the sex, it’s the lack of interest.

    So the question remains, because not all marriages break up when the attention drops – How much of Mathew’s attention do you want and need? How much of your attention does he need. If you both agree on that allotment, all is well. If both of your needs are NOT met, someone suffers.

    Irv

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Thanks, Irving. This is a perfect rider to the post. The unspoken other part of being married for a long time. I think I feel like I can’t really write about that since I haven’t mastered that. But I know you have. So thanks for chiming in.

      Penelope

      • Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot
        Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot says:

        It’s not just attention and time (10 mins is not a lot) it’s intimacy and (for some people!) a physical need. So sex can fill several needs all at once which makes it seem like a winner when it comes to maintaining a great relationship because once you get good at it (to put a positive spin on things) it only takes 10 minutes. Yay for that.

        I must confess my husband and I talked about sex last night and postponed it (again) until tonight. Reading this is a great reminder that we need to follow through on that – it’s about much more than sex.

    • Amy Jo
      Amy Jo says:

      Excellent points, Irv, thank you for sharing them.
      As always, I appreciate Penelope’s honesty. I think that’s why she enjoys writing so much: it forms a meaningful connection to her readers.

  8. Cassio B. Carmo
    Cassio B. Carmo says:

    I admire your blog, read every single article and one of the things I like the most about you is that many times you end up your articles with a “That’s how it works, be adult and deal with it”.
    Please, I’m not saying you should have sex when not in the mood. What I’m trying to say is:

    ·Sex is the first thing in your list that falls;
    ·You think married life demands sex;
    ·You want to stay married.

    In the end, there are two options:

    #1: You realize that there’s no way to conciliate everything and let your marriage go – because men and women are different and lack of sex may even lead a guy to serious depression or even act in a way he doesn’t agree. Think of lack of sex for men as PMT for women. Of course I can’t say anything about husband and I DO realize that every person may be different from others :);

    #2: You realize that the modern way of life has changed a lot of things, emotionally, for women AND for men, and that demands a mutual effort to make things works, so, if you even fly to get your hair done, why not investing is some kind of self discovering activity (readings, therapy, whatever fits you best) to learn how to become more interest for sex? Maybe you will even find that writing AFTER having sex can boost your creativity – again, every person is different, I know.
    You say you should do yoga classes, right? The two things, yoga and sex, can be so co-related. Just an idea.

    You seem to be an incredible person, and so does your husband. Face the problem together, devote some time to something that may guarantee a happy ever after, or, at least, happier than now :)
    Please note that I’m writing it trying to be as respectful as possible.

  9. Gary
    Gary says:

    What’s depressing is lack of interest, lack of affection, being somewhere else mentally, feeling “penciled in” when every possible other thing has been done, SIGHING. At least use your imagination, and make me feel as if you desire me. Just sayin, wife. I love you. Regards, Depressed

    • RJ
      RJ says:

      If you want a vagina sex pocket/human masturbation sleeve because you must achieve orgasm every three days and you ain’t gonna use your own hand and you feel entitled to it and you threaten your wife, directly or indirectly, with “getting it somewhere else” then of course it’s going to be a chore for your wife.

      Emotional connection in a marriage is a two-way street. Your wife is not going to open up to you emotionally or physically unless she feels supported, respected, and safe. Even books books like “The Love Dare” concurs with advice from people like Tony Robbins — disparate sources but they both say the same thing: You have to try harder than your spouse and give it everything you’ve got to win them back.

  10. Cheryl Child
    Cheryl Child says:

    Those are great hoop houses. I’d have sex in them. Dirt floors? Even better.

    Absolutely none of this is important after menopause. Which is why people should only start working at around 60 (you continue to delude yourself with sex for about a decade after menopause).

    Before 60, everyone should just be out there like rutting pigs. You live on a pig farm don’t you? Now there’s a place to learn social skills.

  11. Tony
    Tony says:

    The timing for your post couldn’t be better for me. I am 66 years YOUNG, retired and still sexually active. My wife of 43 years is 64 years old and retired. Even at our age we have sex at least once a week. We have found that having sex, even if it’s a quickie keeps us happy in our marriage. I know this sounds like we have a perfect situation. We don’t. The reason is for years we have scheduled Friday night as our have sex night. I am getting bored with it always being the same time the same place the same thing. I sure don’t want to end my 43 years of marriage, but I need to find a way to talk my wife into doing something different in the sex department. Thanks for your great blog I wish I could get my wife to read it. X

    • LisaP
      LisaP says:

      I am gong to be very foolhardy here and relate a personal life lesson about sex and marriage, ready? here it goes: 9 years go I met a wonderful guy, he had been married 22 years when I met him, very traditional marriage. He was desperate for attention, respect and SEX. Neither one suffered from any illness or debilitation, it was just not important at all to his wife.The had sex less than once a month, and right before we fell in love he said it had been nearly 4 months. We have an amazing Married sex life, we have been married 7 years now. He begged me to promise him that we would have sex at least twice a week, and we do, always unless there is illness. He is a tender, kind lover and I cannot imagine denying this man my heart and my bed. by the way, we both have Graduate degrees and 3 kids among us, who all live at home. The question is, where is your heart?

      • Andrea
        Andrea says:

        Seven years is nothing…let us know when you hit 20 years and if you are still banging up a wind storm. I’ve been with the same man for 20+ years and we were passionate in and out of bed.
        But bango like a balloon that ran out of air, the inflation is gone…

  12. Lauren
    Lauren says:

    This post really spoke to me. My husband and I went through a really rough time last year and a lot of it had to do with sex. For years my husband would yell at me for not having sex as much as he wanted it. I feel like he was emotionally abusive to me. He would go out drinking and come home and tell me he told the other guys in the bar how little sex he was getting and their response was they couldn’t believe he hadn’t left me yet. I honestly didn’t care how often we had sex. We have 3 children and we both work. I have a lot of other things on my mind. After awhile I decided I had had enough of his yelling and emotional abuse and I decided to totally stop caring about my marriage. The lack of caring evolved into actively wanting to cheat on him. I didn’t want to walk out altogether, though – I’m not sure why but I wanted him to be the one to leave. We went through a lot including me eventually cheating. I tried to tell him we were separated but it made me too sad that I took it back almost immediately. I also didn’t want to break up my family because of the kids. We went to counseling. Things aren’t perfect. I felt myself slipping into depression and I’ve gained back all the weight I lost last year. Now I don’t want to have sex because I feel disgusting. I also still try to have sex regularly though because I know if I don’t my husband will be like he used to be, angry all the time at me and saying things to make me feel like shit. Not sure why I shared all of this but I think because of this post I realize I didn’t understand there would be consequences if I put sex on the back burner. I know I should have known, I’m not sure why I didn’t.

  13. Jillb
    Jillb says:

    Thank you! I have successfully applied many of your career tips, and now am inspired to make sex (romantic and/or interesting sex) with my spouse more of a priority for me. I am so guilty of Everything you just wrote about. Thank you for writing so candidly. You are the best!

  14. Esther
    Esther says:

    Do you find sex distracting or something? Or does having sex with your husband feel distracting? Because if it only takes 10 minutes to have sex, 10 minutes is NOT hard to find.

    What can be hard is getting in the mood to enjoy the 10 minutes. Especially because you seem like you’re always under the influence of a million thoughts per second.

    Try meditating or listening to sensual music or doing something that stills your mind – then you’ll be in the mood to have sex.

    And this is a great stress reliever! You deserve it. It’s probably good for your writing too if it makes you feel like a more confident woman in a more connected marriage.

    I vote for Penelope having more sex.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Okay. I just want to point out that we could say the same thing about having obsessive drive. The book Flow (find it on Amazon) is a phenomenal explanation about why life is more meaningful and fulfilling if you develop and expertise.

      However the book also talks about how developing expertise requires an obsessive drive that most people don’t have.

      People who are consumed with their passion – Marie Curie, Mother Theresa, Hitler, even, I mean anyone — is not as interested in sex because sex is not related to that thing that they are driving toward.

      I’m not saying they are mutually exclusive, but i am saying that not everyone prioritizes sex in the same way. People who are not searching for Flow – for that moment when they are obsessed and consumed with that thing they are most expert in – people who are not searching for that will have a lot more interest in sex.

      Penelope

      • Gary
        Gary says:

        The problem with your idea, at least for me, is that it leaves out the wild card: testosterone. When I get “backed up” (Seinfeld’s term), I become aggressive, irritable, unable to concentrate well, and a thousand yadas. That can be directed to bring on a productive streak, I suppose, for sculptors, surrealists and the like. If my wife is on a trip, however, I will turn to “Rosie”–sorry, folks, but it’s the truth–if I can’t stand it. I can then forget it, and go back to my studying, or whatever.

  15. Liane
    Liane says:

    My husband has been the one who pushes us to keep our sex life interesting and to continue to increase intimacy (knowing each other fully) even after 31 years of marriage. Yes, it takes work. No, I’m not usually in the mood (although I can get that way!). We were created to need this kind of intimacy…..and orgasms are great for your moods! :)

  16. Tony
    Tony says:

    I know that the women reading this are going to want to crucify me. It has been said that having sex could take 10 minutes or less. Ladies if you don’t want to enjoy the sexual experience for yourself isn’t your husband worth 10 minutes of your time?

  17. Chris Yeh
    Chris Yeh says:

    Even though sex only takes 10 minutes, it’s really hard to go back to work afterwards. Every time I have an ambitious goal to write for a couple of hours after sex, I find that I lose my motivation and fail to achieve my goal.

    The solution, of course, is to accept reality, have sex, go to sleep, and not feel guilty!

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Chris that is SO true!!! You make me realize that it’s not the ten minutes. I need to count the amount of time it takes at the beginning to do the self-talk to tell myself that my life will be total crap if I don’t stop working to have sex. And then I need to add the time afterwards where it’s impossible to transition out of sex mode.

      This makes me feel better. Sex is a disruption to the day. Not just ten minutes. So of course i need to write this post!

      Penelope

  18. Gary
    Gary says:

    Honestly, ladies, I don’t understand this. I know a lot of women well; almost all are horny. You folks are treating this issue as another business decision or management tool. Even your preferred euphemism, “having sex,” seems to reduce it to a physiological/mechanical action alone. You know, it encompasses a whole lot of emotional, mental and spiritual content at the same time, and is VERY important to a healthy union, right up there with money. It’s not an afterthought, it is a primary function of a healthy adult. I haven’t read all the comments yet, but has anyone called it “making love” yet? Has love and respect for one’s partner even been brought up? My first wife was a nympho; my wife now is about the same as most of you. Talk, counseling, pills, more talk–it will never be resolved, imo. I would be so content with moderation, having experienced both extremes, and so would she, if she only realized how important it is. FOR BOTH, ladies, so don’t start on me. ☯

    • Tina
      Tina says:

      You’re right Gary, it is important for both partners. When I make sex/making love/intimate time a priority, I always feel better between the connection as well as the endorphins. I’ve always had a high drive, but like many women find that I often feel “used up” and sex sometimes does occur like work. Switching from “work mode,” to “mom mode,” to “sexy mode” can make my head spin. Making the 10 minutes to simply give my husband what he needs sometimes is the best solution, and I completely respect his need to have more frequent release–after all, most women masturbate too, no big whoop. I’ve often said that the some of the best foreplay a man can give is housework, or any activity that takes some of the endless coordinating and juggling off our plates….especially if we don’t have to ask. My friends and I have a running joke that there’s nothing hotter than walking in on a man vacuuming. :)

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      It’s pretty safe to say that farmers do not have sex in the mornings. They wake up with the sun and go do chores. I’m constantly blown away by
      1. my husband’s body clock being perfectly tuned to daylight
      2. his ability to bound out of bed, even in a blistering snowstorm, and head straight for morning chores

      Penelope

      • cindy
        cindy says:

        I totally forgot about that, the whole farm/farmer aspect of this. Honestly, we get up and going pretty damn early ourselves, 4:30 or 5:00. Maybe that’s why it works for me, I’m a total morning person. The farmer would probably be distracted by chores needing to be done though….Another thing that hasn’t come up is, I hate the way my body feels after dinner, wiped out from the day, kind of full……I just want to digest! I feel much sexier in the mornings or wee hours of the night, say 3:00 if I wake up for some love…..

  19. At the end of my rope
    At the end of my rope says:

    Sometimes it’s the woman who is willing, but has a husband who would rather spend his 10 minutes with porn. Or maybe it’s just me? I am willing to do a lot, but he just blows me off and says he’s too tired. I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

    • Dee
      Dee says:

      If he’s in to porn, that’s an addiction and he needs to get help. Otherwise check out Dr Schnarch’s book “Intimacy and Desire” Hopefully that helps. Read my post from a bit earlier. Gives some history. I wish you all the best.

  20. Tony
    Tony says:

    I totally agree with Cindy that morning sex is a great way to start the day. I feel it’s important to have regular sex regardless of the time of day that works best for you both.

  21. mh
    mh says:

    Here’s what works for us (married almost 20 years; homeschool):

    1) Shut up
    2) Put out

    There’s a time and a place for everything. Talking is overrated… sex is a decision.

    And there’s nothing like having kids around all the time to really spice things up. We think we’re so clever, but I’m sure the kids know. “Dad’s just going to help me clean out this closet…”

  22. Alina
    Alina says:

    Wow…This is my eternal struggle. Like tonight for example I am typing this on my phone as I wait for my son to fall asleep, debating my strategy for the evening.

    The first 6 years of our marriage I had time to myself to work on stuff because he went to bed and I worked. We went to marriage counseling and now have a fantastic relationship that I am very grateful for.

    However this new-ish dynamic creates constant internal conflict for me. Do I hang out or do I work? I very much want to do both. So I tend to swing between crazy sex every night for two weeks and then working every night for two weeks. Sex is not easy for me to give up. I’d say housework is my canary in the coal mine.
    Compromise sucks. I have to be all in and making progress on something.

    I have always had a relentless drive to work and develop new projects but yet I also deeply want to be a good mom and connect with my husband in the little time we have. As Penelope said, you can’t do it all. So then what?

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Courtney, that was so brave of you to write. Thank you. I think there are so many people who could write that about ourselves. But it feels so bad, so we don’t. Thank you for being honest.

      Penelope

    • Freddie
      Freddie says:

      It’s never too late Courtney, to save your marriage if BOTH of you want it to work! Making love with your spouse is only one aspect of marriage…..My wife and I thought the same thing, like you mentioned, that there was no hope to save ours. While at our custody hearing, we both realized we wanted to be together, but didn’t know it until then, both thinking too that there was no hope. 12 years of marriage and 2 children later, we are so much in love it!!!

  23. Diana
    Diana says:

    I’m so surprised. Is it an American problem? I have never heard of real couples who don’t want sex in Europe. All of my friends get married for love and nothing can keep them from going at it. I’ve been married for ten years, and we still have sex at least once a day. I’ve had two kids and the longest we’ve gone without was six days after childbirth. Sex helps so much with the lowered self-esteem that comes with giving birth! A woman needs sex not just to avoid being cranky but also to feel adored and loved. I just don’t get it. Judging from the comments, this is a typical problem.
    “I like sex. I like my kids. I like my job. I like my marriage. It’s just that I can’t do it all. It’s just not all fitting, and the thing that is easiest to give up is sex.” Really???? How about giving up housework, dishes, laundry, commute, eating, doing nails, hair, jerking off, anything! Surely you can find 10 minutes! Of course, if one does it twice in six years, it might seem like such a big deal that you just don’t feel up to it. Once you do it every day, it’s just like saying I love you one more time. Are you all saying you don’t spend time kissing every day? Surely if you count every time you kiss and hug throughout the day it would add up to more than ten minutes, right?
    Please, ladies, back me up, or the comment section will make an impression that life without sex is normal or even typical, when it’s just not!

    • Gary
      Gary says:

      Yay, Diana! Maybe not everyone can get after it once each day, but you raise an excellent point, well, two:
      One: Gratuitous affection, complimenting, touching, hugging, kissing, butt patting, and naughty talk, or at least double entendres, are all part of making love. If we really love each other, we can carry out our duties with a smile on our collective face, looking forward to the reward that awaits us!
      Two: You are correct. I’ve been to Europe a couple times, and you people are crazy horny all the time!

  24. Leah McClellan
    Leah McClellan says:

    I absolutely agree and applaud. Sex is critical in a marriage. If I had to name 1 reason why I divorced my ex it’s sex: he has/had serious issues/problems. Why would I stay married to a man who won’t/can’t have sex with me and won’t do anything about it? We didn’t even have kids. It was more involved and complicated than that, but that was a big symptom that was related to all his other issues.

    Sex is what holds a couple together. That’s the bond. The glue. The energy. Without it, the center cannot hold. And eyes wander, frustrations erupt, and everything falls apart–sooner or later.

    • cindy
      cindy says:

      I totally agree, Leah, sex is bond and glue. It helps me feel connected to my partner in a more intimate way. I love what it does for a relationship.

      I was married for 25 years and can say that it does ebb and flow. You do go through cycles where there is less, than more. And, the more always feels better. I felt better about us and the relationship as a whole when we connected physically regularly.

      We divorced 8 years ago. I am in an incredible relationship of 2 years now. It’s 4:30 am and we just had sex. I can’t say the thought of this article didn’t cross my mind : ) I posted last night about the joy of morning sex…..anyway. It’s so good! I’m going to make that suggestion again.

      Morning sex is a great solution to the “when” and “how” do I fit sex in when it derails me from the other things I want to focus on. Shower at night. It feels great to go to bed after a shower. Then, you are clean if you wake up at 3, 4, 5….or whenever…..and take time to make love. Then, you get to go back to sleep if you want! I cannot think of a downside to this, really……

      Good morning everyone! I think I’ll write now…..

  25. Gary
    Gary says:

    My wife gives me about ten minutes or so, and lies there like a wooden Indian. We used to crawl all over each other, play, and do all sorts of things. It sickens me, I feel as if I’m doing a whore or an inflatable doll. But I do get the job done. Whoopee. I used your blog, P, to start aNOTHER conversation about this. She’s afraid I’ll leave her for sex (and won’t change a thing for me?). I told her I’d never do that, but that an “emotional affair”, if that’s even real, is probable. Without give and take, it’s just not intimate, satisfying, or fun. For either participant.

    • Whitney
      Whitney says:

      As long as your wife is afraid she will not feel confident enough to be the lover that you wished she would be. Step back a bit, and take the pressure off. Dedicate yourself to making her feel amazing, beautiful, secure and treasured. Give yourself to her without expecting anything in return. Flirt with her. Make her laugh. Tell her she’s beautiful. Repeat Repeat Repeat. Make love with her every day in ways that are not explicitly sexual. Give her ample time, and if time changes nothing, seek help from a professional. Give this time too. Your wife was once a joyful, playful lover and that women is still in there somewhere.

  26. Zen
    Zen says:

    Well I just want to add that my boyfriends been complaining that we dont have sex often enough. We have been together almost 2 yrs. We now live together. Recently I started a catering business in addition to my full time job and helping my sister who is a single parent of 2 with a new 5 month old. I told my boyfriend that he needs to come and spend time with me in our bedroom so we can talk and cuddle and bond which we used to do all the time. However every time I come home from work he is on the couch with a video game, movie, or hanging out with his best friend who lives with us as well. He comes in later talks for about 20 minutes then falls asleep. Then he blames me because I’m on the computer when he walks in. I don’t feel desired or like I am a priority. He says sex always has to be on my terms but where else can we do it except the bedroom when someone else lives here? It also seems like he’s the one who wants it on his terms….Whatever!

  27. Skweekah
    Skweekah says:

    “And sex is the canary in the coal mine – it’s the first thing to go.”

    He he he! That’s funny! I notice that the canary has usually lost it’s feathers and is barely perched on one leg but manages to tap into some unknown source of energy in a last ditch effort to feel connected once again.

  28. Jen
    Jen says:

    Your continued willingness to be frank and forthcoming inspires me. I think this is probably the least written about or spoken about topics when it comes to work/life balance — and it’s because no one really wants to admit what’s going on (or not) in their bedrooms. Loved the segue into the workplace conversation and the link to the HBR article too. Two of my favorite conversations that hardly anyone is willing to talk about: sex after marriage and what we really think about our colleagues Thanks!

  29. Grace
    Grace says:

    In my marriage experience, a woman has sex if she is relaxed and focused and a man has sex to become relaxed and focused. In my own marriage, this meant that I enjoyed sex once everything else was taken care of at work and in the home and my husband enjoyed sex before tending to the demands of life or as an escape from them. But the chores and demands never end. In my marriage, I was too tired from work and kids from morning til midnight and was flabbergasted when I crawled into bed and my husband wanted sex. I was always exhausted and said no. Then my husband cheated and blamed it on our lack of sex. Which I blamed on the fact that 90% of the breadwinning, household management, and child rearing was left up to me. I think that maybe if he had washed the dishes while I bathed the kids, or read the kids a bedtime story while I folded laundry, I might not have been so tired and my bed would have been used for more than just sleeping.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      If I could somehow get rid of sports, which would allow him to be home on Saturdays, stop him from watching sports on tv every night, stop the bowling every Wednesday night and eliminate the five fantasy baseball and football leagues he is in that would allow him to help around the house. My job requires me to work more than 40 typically 50 a week not including travel time. He ONLY works 40. He is responsible for laundry, but we now have a teenaged son who suddenly needs to learn how to do laundry, so he gets out of it. We are not divorced because if he gives me enough wine then he gets it. Yes he admits he is an enabler. SAD! I ask for what I want and he calls it nagging.

  30. Lou
    Lou says:

    So here’s a personal story to add to the discussion…
    I’ve been married 14 years. My husband does everything he can for me: housework, child rearing, supports me in my career. He’s utterly devoted and I love him. But I’ve never been that interested in sex for the reason’s mentioned – kids, work, writing time, academic pursuits. Or so I thought. Recently I met someone on a business trip and desire rushed back into my body and my brain. I didn’t act on it, but really, really wanted to. So what does that mean? I don’t enjoy sex, or I just don’t enjoy it with the man I am married to? In our marriage sex has never been great for me, but I thought I didn’t need it so that was okay. I thought I was happy, content, lucky. I didn’t feel I needed sex, until now. Sadly, the sex I get from my husband, despite his best efforts, doesn’t have the effect on me it should. I cherish my marriage and family life, so maybe a fulfilling sex life is a sacrifice I will have to live with. We cant have it all. Right?

  31. Anwell Steve
    Anwell Steve says:

    I understand how empty life can be without pleasure from a married life. Sex is indeed one of the basic needs of every human, let’s just admit it. But I believe there’s it’s not really hard to manage your time if you only know your priorities in life. :)

  32. Stephanie Thomas Berry
    Stephanie Thomas Berry says:

    The reality of homeschooling and working from home is that the kids are almost always home, too. Which is why I am so very thankful for my studio tucked away at the top of the hill. With the loft furnished with a mattress and pillows. Penelope, you need a little studio tucked away somewhere! Much more comfortable than a hoop house, though definitely not as steamy.

  33. Chris M.
    Chris M. says:

    This is the absolute saddest thing I ever expected to read today- no judgement to fear. I just think you’re writing what many grown women experience but either can’t say, won’t say or don’t know how to articulate so well (your writing skill is obviously helpful in that regard).

    What saddens me is I’m a grown male. Grown males aren’t children. We don’t expect our lives to be teenage makeout sessions in the back seat of convertibles our parents gifted to us. What we do see expect, or hope for, is a fulfilling life. There are obviously many pieces to the ‘fulfilling life’ puzzle that we try to discover and incorporate along the way to adulthood, but one that we can’t live without is intimacy.

    We are human, animal creatures no matter what we wear, what job we take or hold, what possessions we do or don’t have. At the heart of it all is a being that needs another, at least one, who is physically close. Some may guard that intimacy jealously, some may try to seek it from many, but it is a need we hope and some expect, to have if nothing else. This is why the Pyramids were built, this is why men went to space. It might seem silly that so much is done just to massage a foot or less of cylindrical skin, but it’s deeper than that: It’s security, it’s acceptance, it’s acknowledgement, it’s safety, it’s where we feel we can belong in a world that reminds us we don’t belong in it at all.

    That it is a secondary consideration to all the increasing demands women place on themselves for workplace and financial parity makes me think our culture and society has taken a step backwards- or at least that we shouldn’t really dream of all those things that make us feel like we belong in the world.

    The funny thing is, at least to me, is that when all our work is done (we do die, you know), we should never fear, because there’s always more for everyone to do. I hope it’s very fulfilling to those future generations too.

    • Cindy
      Cindy says:

      What a wonderful response, Chris. Thank you for this. It bothers me to read about men being Neanderthals so often. And, I’m not talking about here, on this forum. I belonged to a support group of women, that I finally left, because I could not stand the way men were portrayed and spoken about.

      “This is why the Pyramids were built, this is why men went to space. It might seem silly that so much is done just to massage a foot or less of cylindrical skin, but it’s deeper than that: It’s security, it’s acceptance, it’s acknowledgement, it’s safety, it’s where we feel we can belong in a world that reminds us we don’t belong in it at all.”

      That puts it so well….. I am in a wonderful relationship with a man I cannot say enough about. He makes my life better by his being in it. He is an amazing role model for my sons and does more for them than their own father. He sees a need and does something about it. He works tirelessly to provide extras for us all, out of the goodness of his heart.

      The first time I brought him a cup of coffee in bed, he choked up and got tears in his eyes. I bring him coffee every day. I also love to cook, so our dinners are nice…I make him up a lunch the next morning. Simple….. He thinks he’s getting the best thing ever! What? Really? All I do is make his lunch and that chokes him up too….

      I have my own business. I have two boys. I take care of my finances. I’m a responsible adult. But, he’s the icing on the cake and I tell him so, in so many words, daily. He’s my gift.

      His maleness is such a gift to me. His desire to make life better for us, to make me feel “safe, secure and loved”, brings tears to my eyes often.

      When two people are committed to making the other’s life nicer, to making sure the other’s needs are met, you get yours met too. Everybody wins. It’s beautiful, not a “battle of the sexes”.

      • Chris M.
        Chris M. says:

        It’s nice to know two people can be there for one another. I sometimes fear that work is a double edged sword that seems to drive itself more and more between couples.

        It’s obviously nice to be in a work environment where one is appreciated, rewarded, acknowledged, challenged and fascinated. There are so many great things about work (should one get a great job) to describe. But what do we work for? What are we hoping to get from life? Sometimes I think the world works just for the purpose of getting more work. A twist on Orwell’s ‘Power for the sake of Power’ and ‘boot stamping on a human face – forever’- a sinister reward for all of our energy and enthusiasm.

        Perhaps work and family life have always been a delicate balance, but when does our culture begin to value our family more than work? Is the family unit too boring? Is sex not as fulfilling? Are we becoming a new species? Is this our evolutionary development? I wonder.

        Anyway, thank you for sharing what you and your husband share. It really is a beautiful thing I hope (and am sure) you will both cherish indefinitely. :-)

    • Cindy
      Cindy says:

      Titos, I’m a straight female and I often wonder how men can stand women. Yes, I know, it’s a two way street. And, if a man is truly a selfish, lazy, insensitive, clod, thats a different issue. I’m assuming people love their partner. So much freaking whining about an act of love that is supposed to bring people closer!

      I’m sure I’ll get thumped for this, but the way it often looks is that women want all the perks from a man, as long as its what and how they want. “Go out, alpha your way to the top, use your protective instincts, be my rock….Then, take out the trash, tuck in the kids and check your testosterone at the door, I’ve got PMS..”

      I cant turn my hormones off at will, why do we expect that of men?

      Why do men put up with it? Because they want love and companionship too.

      I’m not always in the mood. I don’t have sex when I don’t want to. But, I want to on a fairly regular basis because I want that connection too. And, if you are overweight and physically miserable, as one woman said, I’m sure it doesn’t feel good. But you can take steps to take better care of yourself so you feel better overall. That’s not his fault.

      This whole thing is really sad. It should be about love and connection and desiring that, not who wins in the contest of who does more and who is more tired.

  34. Sushant
    Sushant says:

    First of all I am so happy I discovered this blog.

    I admire Richard Branson a lot because he married a housewife. I think it probably makes his married life much easier and happier. His office is his island so he can be the king of the hilll, lead a healthy and balanced life even with so much going on in his business life.

    I am not a woman but I think it is probably a lot harder for a woman entrepreneur to balance work and marriage if the male counterpart is not willing to work with her.

    (Thought experiment) A lot of times I think entrepreneurs can probably benefit from just taking a day off and looking at their lives from a higher ground, perhaps just imagine yourself as your older self 20 years down the road and looking at your lifestyle today and the decisions you are making today. I think from this perspective many times we will find that we are like dogs chasing our own tails going round and round and missing out on some of the important things.

    But then again, sometimes (as is the case with Elon Musk), if you are doing something REALLY meaningful and changing the world, you are probably better off married to your work.

  35. successfulandhappy
    successfulandhappy says:

    Time is limitied. Mr Codes in his book for motorcyclists used an amazing analogy: a 10-dollar-bill. The more time you spend or attention you pay to one thing or person, the less you have for the rest. There is no way we can change it, we just have to deal with it…

  36. KJ
    KJ says:

    I look at sex like exercise: I may not feel like doing it at the moment, but I never regret doing it after I’m done.

  37. Joanne
    Joanne says:

    Your post makes me sad. My husband and I have been married for 20 years, I have two grown stepchildren, and we own our own business. I’m busy, but not overburdened, and have time for sex if I want it. The problem is that he is a narcissist. I’ve always felt like I was low on his list of priorities. Even after telling him how he made me feel when he would be hours late after work (stopped off for a beer with friends), take off for the whole day on Saturday to play golf, leave me to deal with housework, repairs, bills, etc., he refused to change his ways.
    I’m sorry, but I CAN”T have sex with someone who makes me feel like an employee rather than an equal and partner in life. His sarcasm and silent treatment to punish me for not having sex are not helpful.
    Forcing myself to do it just to keep him happy makes me feel like a whore. I’d rather be alone.

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