Having sex while tired is a bad idea

What’s more important for a healthy relationship: sleep or sex? The answer may surprise you.
What’s more important for a healthy relationship: sleep or sex? The answer may surprise you.

WHAT'S more important for a healthy relationship: sleep or sex? The answer may surprise you.

Earlier this year, I was in a state of extreme sleep deprivation. I was stressed, and my young children were restless. For 18 months straight, I barely slept. My only opportunity to sneak in some shut-eye was the two-hour window after my kids dozed off.

Unfortunately, it was also the perfect opportunity to do something else.

For parents of young kids, time alone is rare. With so much to do and so little time, tough choices are inevitable.

But I didn't even feel like I had a choice. Like most women, I've been told by countless relationship "gurus"- on websites, in magazines and across the table at brunch - to just push through my exhaustion, for my relationship's sake.

After all, the risks of swapping sex for sleep are dire: We're told our partners might look elsewhere for sex, or exit the relationship altogether. And there are so many ways to work around one's need for sleep!

What matters more sex or sleep?
What matters more sex or sleep?

A quick online search reveals handy "hacks" for reviving oneself pre-sex, plus plenty of guidance on the best "lazy" boudoir positions. So I pushed through - even though it was usually the last thing I felt like doing.

In my head, I heard so-called sexperts chorusing, "You'll be glad you did!" But I wasn't glad. I was just tired. Worse, I was starting to resent my husband.

Women are disproportionately targeted by this "power through" messaging, Laurel Steinberg, a New York-based clinical sexologist, told The Post. In fairness, they're usually the sleepier ones. "Men's desire for sex seems to override any exhaustion they may experience," the Columbia University psychology professor said. Because of this, she added, women may feel more pressure "to acquiesce, even when exhausted".

But women slogging through bedroom antics to please their partners is backfiring on men, too. Sarah, a 38-year-old mother from Maine, initially tried to work through her exhaustion like me - until she found that the experience was hurting her sex life, not helping it.

"I felt turned off and a bit used," she told The Post. Thankfully, she was able to work it out with her husband, but you won't catch her having snoozy sex again.

"Telling women that their relationships will be at risk [if they don't have tired sex] is immoral and manipulative," she said.

Michael Aaron, a Manhattan-based psychotherapist, said that research aligned with Sarah's experience. "Relationships generally start to suffer when people prioritise quantity over quality, he explained. "People begin avoiding sex when it feels lethargic or obligatory." In other words, forcing yourself to have more mediocre sex makes sex less ... sexy.

Also, it's possible that your partner doesn't want so-so snoozy sex any more than you do, added clinical psychologist Alexis Conason. The New York expert believes that men can be just as negatively impacted by this gotta-get-it-done mentality as women.

"We have a stereotype in our culture that men are always ready for sex and women are always too tired," she said. But if a man isn't in the mood, "his manhood is called into question," Dr Conason said.

Everyone feels pressured by this must-have-sex dynamic, which can be suffocating and cause relationship issues.

Does all of this mean you should never have sex when you're tired? Of course not, said Dr Conason. If you genuinely want to give it a go despite your heavy eyelids, by all means, go for it. But "don't just fall into the pressure. Honour what you want and need," she said. And if you're on the fence one night, remember this: "You need sleep in order to live and be healthy," Dr Aarons said. "No one has died from not having sex."

This article originally appeared in the New York Post and has been republished with permission.

Topics:  dating parenting relationships sex

$100 vouchers to help pay for kids' sporting cost

ACTIVE KIDS: Casino West Public School girls defend against the onslaught of St Marys girls on the netball court at the primary school Beef Week Cup. Photo Samantha Elley/ Express Examiner

Financial incentive to sign kids up for sport and fitness activities

Strange smell: Creek investigations under way

ON THE NOSE: Thousands of fish and other marine died by suffocation in November last year in Tallow Creek.

There is an odour and change in the appearance of the water

Local Partners

Facebook ‘birth’ post: ‘Disturbing and creepy’

A WOMAN who posted her ‘birth photos’ on Facebook has divided the internet with the images.

Australian roads ‘not ready’ for driverless cars

Mercedes-Benz is trialling autonomous vehicles in Australia. Picture: Joshua Dowling.

Report reveals roads need infrastructure improvements.

premium_icon Jacinda Ardern’s news is a win for men

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (C) speaks during the meeting with Japan's PM Abe in Da Nang, Vietnam on Nov. 10, 2017.

JACDINA Ardern is expecting a baby in the middle of year.

Boy cliff jumps, rides home with fractured back

Boy fractures back after cliff jumping in Moorooduc quarry. Picture: 3AW

A 12-year-old daredevil defied his mother’s warning by jumping from a 20m cliff

Hyundai’s coming Ioniq makes a power point

The new Hyundai Ioniq will arrive mid-year in Australia.

Here comes Hyundai's answer to the Toyota Prius.

Revealed: Whincup’s new Red Bull wheels

Jamie Whincup gives a sneak peak of his new Holden ZB Red Bull.

First look at Jamie Whincup’s new Red Bull Racing ZB Commodore

New cancer screening test set to save lives

The new blood test will help identify eight types of early-stage cancer. Picture:   Khuloud T. Al-Jamal & Izzat Suffian

A NEW blood test is set to save millions of livee