My boyfriend and I have different schedules with regards to sex.
He likes to have sex in the morning, when I need to get to work, whereas I prefer it in the evening because I need less sleep than he does, and don’t feel hurried. How can we compromise? It always seems to be me who gives in but I don’t want to end up resenting sex because it makes me late for work.
As you are discovering, one of the major problems with sex in a long-term relationship is that few people have the same energy levels, bodyclocks or daily commitments, so finding a time when you both feel relaxed as well as turned on can be difficult.
In the early stages of a relationship nobody has to initiate sex because you both want it all the time, but that kind of compulsive desire only lasts about six months, tops. After that, you have to try to squeeze your sex life into a schedule that is primarily dominated by the pressures of day-to-day life.
Someone has to make the first move and if couples restrict that to times when both partners are simultaneously aroused and each has a window in their diaries, let’s face it, the human race would have died out years ago. Setting time aside for sex is the obvious solution, but many couples don’t like to do that because they think it takes the romance out of sex and makes it mechanical.
But why is sex different to any other aspect of your relationship? If you are going to have dinner with your boyfriend you have to agree on a time and you feel entitled to make that arrangement conditional. If you shop and cook, he clears up afterwards. It’s a straightforward negotiation that suits you both, and there is no reason why you can’t take the same candid approach to the sexual side of your relationship.
If you’re worried about how to broach the idea with your boyfriend, don’t. Once he knows that the deal is to have more rather than less sex, he’ll be willing to give it a try. Bring up the subject in a positive way so he knows that — far from removing the romance and spontaneity — you are trying to ensure that basic needs are met at the very least. He needs to know that you want to reach a compromise, and make manageable targets.
So, next time your boyfriend slides his warm body over to yours on a day when you have 1,000 things to do, say “no”, and as a sweetener, tell him that you’ll clear your diary for Saturday so that you can spend the whole day in bed. On Saturday, during his refractory period, get out your diary and try to identify the times of the week when you both have the fewest distractions and are most likely to be available for sex.
You don’t have to commit to having sex at those times, but it will give you both an idea of when you are more likely to get a positive response if you make the first move. Alternatively, you can block out the times of the week when one, or both of you, knows that you will feel too oversubscribed for sex.
Because couples cling to the spontaneous model of sex, when sexual advances are rejected it is hard for the person who initiates it not to interpret it as a personal rejection. A man or a woman who says “no” to sex on a busy Wednesday morning is not saying no to the relationship, and isn’t saying they never want to have sex again, and in any democratic relationship that should not be a problem. In romantic narratives, passion and desire always overwhelm other commitments.
In the real world, there are other things that sometimes need to take precedence – compromise is what gets us to happy ever after.
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