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Five Things That Trip You Up In the Bedroom

by | Sep 19, 2017 | Articles | 35 comments

In a new relationship, things often start out hot and heavy.  But they eventually end up in the all too familiar pattern so many committed couples find themselves.  Sex has become less frequent, less interesting, too routine, uninspiring, or even a chore.  Does any of this sound familiar?

While it’s not reasonable to expect that you’ll maintain the same level of curiosity and excitement present at the start of a new relationship, you are also not doomed to the cliché lackluster sex life that is too frequently characteristic of the long-term committed experience.

So what gets in the way of your ideal – passionate, stimulating, fun, etc. – intimate relationship with your partner?  Take a look at these five things that trip you up in the bedroom, and some valuable tips and resources that will help you overcome them.

Five Things That Trip You Up In The Bedroom




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1. Not Enough Time

Five Things That Trip You Up In The Bedroom

I’m a city girl.  For me, that means my 9-5 is rarely 9-5, and that’s not even considering my commute.  I’m fortunate to have a predictable Monday through Friday schedule, but my partner’s work schedule doesn’t align with mine.

Neither does his circadian rhythm.  I’m a lark.  I get up early because I’m most productive in the morning and that’s the only time I have for me.  He’s an owl.  Try as he might, he can’t get to bed before midnight, and that would be early for him.

We haven’t even talked about personal pursuits (I’m an entrepreneur.  He’s an artist.), family responsibilities, social engagements, etc., etc.  And SLEEP!

This city girl thinks there’s too much to manage on a daily basis.  I imagine the content of a rural life to be different, but I wonder if the time challenges aren’t similar.  Even if it’s strictly work and family that fills the time (doubtful), as human beings, we seem to reliably find a way to keep our plates full.

Still, in a long-term committed relationship, we’ve gotta make time for physical intimacy.  If one or both of you are busy, or your schedules don’t sync up easily, here are some things you can try:

  • Intimate connection doesn’t start when you get in the bed. Jamie Long, Psy.D. in Psychology Today suggests 12 “thirty second” ways to connect when you have busy lives.  Practicing any of these quickie methods throughout the day could lead to extended connection when you settle in for the night. 😊
  • Having strategies for sex may make it seem less romantic, but you know what’s not romantic,?  Not having sex!  Ben Kassoy in an article reprinted by the New York Post suggests some practical strategies for just making it happen: compartmentalizing, compromise, communication, and hard work.
  • Samantha Rodman, PhD in the Huffington Post shares some fun and practical ways to think outside the box so you can get into the bed…together, including turning off the TV for starters.
Five Things That Trip You Up In The Bedroom

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2. Not Enough Energy

Five Things That Trip You Up In The Bedroom

Sex requires energy.  That’s just physics.  According to Woman’s Day, having sex burns 144 calories per half hour.  That’s more calories than a person of average weight burns running a mile.  How would you feel thinking about running a mile at the end of your day?  Here’s what that looks like for me:  up at 4AM to work on my business (mental energy) and maybe fit in some exercise; get ready for my hour-long commute to work; work a nine-hour day solving problems and dealing with people (mental energy); race out of the office to begin my hour-long commute home; then figure out what to eat before I pass out at the end of the day.

I don’t have children.  I don’t prepare dinner for a family.  My extra-curricular commitments, like volunteering or community responsibilities, are currently quite low.  And I am WIPED OUT at the end of every day.  How about you?

However, if connecting physically with your partner on a somewhat consistent basis remains a priority, here are some things you can try:

  • Carl Honore in his TED Talk, In praise of slowness, suggests we slow down. And I have to admit that when I read the title, it sounded impossible to me.  But as I watched, I felt like he made some compelling arguments worth seriously considering, even for an Achiever like me.
  • This can be a real struggle for me, but I’ve personally seen some success with making healthier dietary choices and engaging in regular exercise. Not only do I feel more energetic when I’m on point with my health and fitness, I also feel more desirable and my sex drive is noticeably stronger.
  • Smiling? – In this TED talk by Ron Gutman called The hidden power of smiling, Gutman sites research that shows smiling is more powerful than chocolate in terms of making us feel good.  Considering smiling’s impact on well-being and longevity, it’s definitely worth a try.
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3. Not Enough Interest

Five Things That Trip You Up In The Bedroom

Waning interest in sex can be frustrating for both you and your partner.  I recently spoke with a single girlfriend who has been dealing with a lack of libido for more than a year.  As she talked about it, I was surprised that her doctor wasn’t offering any real solutions, and implied a lack of desire for sex is not significantly impactful.  I agree that it’s not life-threatening, but it certainly can be quality-of-life-threatening.

According to a recent study, there may be multiple physical and mental health factors that might be associated with a lack of interest in sex: poorer health, difficulty walking up stairs, long-standing medical conditions, depression, sexually-transmitted diseases, and sexual dysfunction.  Interestingly, in this study menopausal status was not shown to be statistically significant.  Nor was circumcision in men.

While physical and mental health factors might require intervention by a medical professional, there may also be a number of relational factors with much more accessible solutions.  Relational factors related to a lack of interest in sex included: having young children, a lack of satisfying sex due to differing preferences, a lack of sex, difficulty talking about sex, and the belief that people want less sex as they age.  If you’re dealing with a lack of interest in sex, addressing some of these relational factors might improve your circumstances.  Here are some suggestions:

  • The study suggests care for young children affects women more than men potentially due to an imbalance in child-rearing responsibilities. Cori Howard suggests a 50/50 split may not be achievable for every couple.  But better balance of parenting duties might lead to better balance in the bedroom. 🙂
  • Coping with different sexual tastes can create sexual friction. Kaylan10 suggests several steps to deal with sexual incompatibility, including seeking a middle ground.
  • The study seems to indicate a lack of sex (or masturbation) led to a decrease in sexual desire for women, while the reverse seems to be true for men. For women, that might mean that it can be particularly important for us to keep the mojo flowing.  Sex for One was written by Betty Dodson who has remained sexually active well into her eighties.  We all may have a thing or two to learn from Betty. 🙂
  • Let’s face it. Talking about sex can be awkward.  Call it a cultural issue, a religious issue, a social issue, a psychological issue.  Whatever the issue, sometimes couples need help.  One creative way to open the door to communicating about sex is to talk about someone else’s sex.  Read an erotic book or magazine together as a passageway to talking about your own desires, fantasies, or needs.  Nancy Friday’s female fantasy series can be a fun place to start.
  • And absolutely talk about what sex means to you as you age.

 

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4. Not Enough Knowledge

Five Things That Trip You Up In The Bedroom

In my early thirties, I was frustrated sexually.  I was married and in love, passionately connected, yet sexually unsatisfied.  And it wasn’t from a lack of effort or interest.  I just didn’t know what my body needed to be satisfied.  And worse, I didn’t know that I didn’t know.  I wasn’t even aware there was quality information available.

The natural progression of trial and error in my twenties had failed me.  Despite what they say, practice did not make perfect.  Then one day, the light was turned on.  I walked into the Love Boutique in Santa Monica, CA.  The sales associate spent 20 minutes with my girlfriends and I explaining one toy.  That 20 minutes transformed my entire sex life.  No longer was sexual satisfaction an unattainable mystery.

If you’re active and interested, but your intimate engagements aren’t fulfilling their promise, there’s hope:

  • Like a digital guide to getting it on, Gettin’ Physical helps you discover how to enrich, expand, invigorate or re-engage physical intimacy. From how to use touch to enhance your connection, to how adult toys can enhance fun, intimacy and satisfaction, there’s a little something for everyone.
  • When I was training to sell adult toys many years ago, the Guide to Getting It On was my favorite resource. Comprehensive, entertaining, and inclusive, this can be a really great resource to explore together.
  • Check out the TED playlist, Talks full of weird facts about sex. It’s guaranteed to be fun, entertaining, and as always informative and thought-provoking.

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5. Not Enough Good Will

Five Things That Trip You Up In The Bedroom

In a long-term committed relationship – even the best of them – things aren’t always roses and sunshine.  Disagreements happen.  Life circumstances create stresses and pressures.  Finances.  Child-rearing.  Professional setbacks.  In-laws.  The list goes on and on.

The weight of those pressures can have consequences for intimate relations.  Sometimes you’re just not feeling warm and fuzzy toward your one and only.  Unfortunately, physical distance can only exacerbate the challenges you’re facing.  When those patterns repeat over time, the strain on your relationship compounds.  It’s important to have effective strategies to navigate difficult times.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Getting to Win-Win: How to Compromise WITHOUT Sacrificing Your Needs in a Relationship is an article that shares ways to learn to compromise effectively and how to get to win-win agreements.
  • Staying Connected: Eight Epic Tips for Connecting Physically, Even When You’re Angry is an article outlines ways to create safety in your relationship to navigate challenges without having to take up separate sides. Stay connected and work through difficulty together.  Come closer during times of tension, rather than moving away from each other.
  • The Celebrating Men, Satisfying Women workshop was revolutionary for me in helping me understand men from their own perspective, rather than as broken and misbehaving women. I came away with greater love, compassion, openness, and an ability to get my needs met with men.  It was almost like I’d never seen them before.  I met my current partner shortly after I started participating in these workshops (nearly 10 years ago), and I think it’s been a big part of the reason things are so easy between us.

The good news is, if any of these five things are tripping you up in the bedroom, there are resources to consult, tactics to try, mindsets to shift.  There’s hope.  Always.  It’s not always easy, but take one step.  Follow it with another.  Then try one more and see where it takes you.

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35 Comments

    • Ms. Finks

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Reply
  1. Kalaw Sarah

    These lists are so true. I agree with list number 2. it is not only because of kids but work and stress too.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Work and stress! Yes, Kalaw. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. emma

    Kids = no time and we are so tired all the time! Great list of very accurate hurdles, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Leo T. Ly

    Being parents of young children is definitely challenging to find time for each other. I think that making the effort to spend time together is going to beneficial to a healthy relationship.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Yes! And a healthy family! Best to you Leo. Thanks for stopping by!!

      Reply
  4. Cecilia

    Take good care of the people you love. And of your relationships! ❤

    Reply
  5. Angela Ricardo Bethea

    This is quite a touchy subject but I’m glad you posted this. When you become so busy sometimes you forget things or lack the time and energy for it.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Angela, you’re so right. This can be a topic that is so uncomfortable for some to talk about. But that’s what leaves us isolated and without strategies to address the bumps before they become mountains. I appreciate you stopping by and joining the conversation. oxo

      Reply
  6. Wanderlust Vegans

    Very important to maintain a healthy relationship. Sometimes its hard to ignore all of the distrations around. Working opposite schedules can be draining on its own.

    Reply
  7. GoodnightTheSkye

    Some of these are really interesting and things I’d never thought of before – but I guess they’re only going to get more relevant as I go through life!

    Reply
  8. thatlife86

    I agree with so many of these. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  9. Enjoyfreebies

    So many of these topics ring true for me. As I am aging and going through perimenopause, I am finding that my hormones are kind of messing me up physically and emotionally. These tips are excellent. A trip to the doctor is definitely in order for me.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Good for you! Sometimes it’s just good to have a reminder that there’s something we can do about our circumstances. Best of luck to you!!

      Reply
  10. Sondra Barker

    These are things most people don’t want to discuss, so thank you for being so open about it! I know timing is always difficult.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      I agree, Sondra. Not the easiest topic to talk about for some. But my special gift is making it easier to talk about. Who knew?!? Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Reply
  11. lavandamichelle

    This subject comes up often during my Lady night events and sometimes that we all try to fix. However, we were confused. You opened my eyes to a lot. I never thought throughly about bit, because I am happy and not experiencing some of things my girls are. I’m just usually stress about work, but after a massage the stress is gone. I am certainly sharing this next month with my gal pals and emailing this to my gal pals I have email address for or phone numbers. Thanks for such a wonderful post.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Lavanda, thanks for checking it out, and thanks so much for the love!! I hope it’s helpful to your crew! 🙂 oxo

      Reply
  12. Aditi

    This is such a great post that touches base with so many issues that come up in the way of physical intimacy in relationships, majorly due to the work pressures. Usually, by the end of the day all the energy, will, interest, etc. are all going downhill and the intimacy part generally takes a backseat.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Aditi, it’s a lot to manage for sure. I’ve found that if we continue to make it a priority, it can have a positive impact on all the other challenges. So there’s that. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  13. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    It’s so important to keep the lines of communication open and to be able to listen and express without judgement or retribution. I have always considered sexuality a complex emotion that is the sum of many smaller feelings. I love how your list of five things starts the process of breaking down a big complex issue into manageable bites.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Thank you for that, Jenn! I so completely agree with you. And when I learned that there were resources, information, practices to help us navigate this complex area, it changed my life, which is my inspiration. Thanks so much for stopping by! oxo

      Reply
  14. Lyka

    I’m not really the one to speak about this issue since I’m a single person. But thank you for the tips! I’ll keep it in mind for when I find the right person.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Lyka, thanks for stopping by! Best of luck in your search! 🙂

      Reply
  15. Sylvie Anne Hanes

    This is a very well written post. Like anything else, time and commitments of a daily life take a toll on our intimate times together, so having a date evening strictly for romance and closeness is essential otherwise life takes over. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      It’s so true, Sylvie! If we’re not careful, life definitely takes over. And before you know it, time and distance make it even harder to get back on track. Like with our health, it’s best to pay attention now! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!!

      Reply
  16. Melani

    As we are growing older our libido decrease follow the hormones level. We are not doing that as frequent as when we were younger. Our busy daily activities also make the condition happened. I have read that have sex regularly is good to keep our health and keep the body immune system. So I have subscribed to get your latest articles. I also want to inform you that certain essential oils scent can help us to increase the mood or libido.

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Melani, you are so right about the health benefits! It’s such an important area of life, and there are so many good reasons to tend to it and keep it fresh and thriving. I really appreciate you stopping by. And I’ve heard what you mention about the essential oils. I’m not ready now, but I would love to invite you to guest post on my site in the future. What do you think? 🙂

      Reply
  17. Holly

    Lack of energy – that one resonated with me!! It’s also easy to feel “touched out” after a day of kids hanging on me constantly!

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      Haha! “Touched out”. I love that. I don’t have kids, but I can totally see that dynamic. It sounds like somebody needs some me-time! 🙂

      Reply
  18. Your Whole30 Coach

    I completely agree with these, especially # 1 and 2. Once you have kids, there is never ever enough time or energy!

    Reply
    • Ms. Finks

      So true! It can get a little tricky! 🙂

      Reply
  19. Tracy

    Accurate list of obstacles.

    Reply

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Welcome to Intimate Explorations!

I'm Tanya Finks - Dating and Relationship Coach | Gallup-certified Strengths Coach | Sex Educator | Passionate advocate for dating intentionally, building collaborative romantic partnerships, and fostering fulfilling physical intimacy.  I also love my partner (madly!), international travel, and anything superhero.

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