Sex File: He fell asleep during sex - I was so insulted 

Sex File: He fell asleep during sex - I was so insulted 

Picture: iStock 

My boyfriend fell asleep during sex the other night. I couldn't believe it. I was so insulted. Can someone be that bored in bed? He says he had just had a long week at work and was exhausted, but I've never done that, however tired I am.

It is worth trying to remember who initiated sex that night. If it was you, he may have been responding in order to please you, even though he was actually too tired to perform. If this is the case it would be worth having a chat about expectations and boundaries.

It is important that both of you feel able to say no to sex you don't want. If your partner initiated it, even though he was exhausted, he may have been using sex as a way to de-stress. Sex, indeed any loving physical contact, significantly decreases the level of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.

If you want to avoid this happening again, stick to having sex when you both feel relaxed and refreshed. Saturday and Sunday mornings are the most popular time of the week for couples to get it on because leisurely sex can be followed by a blissfully soporific snooze together. Although jokes about men falling asleep after sex abound, recent research has shown that women actually fall asleep sooner than men after sex.

It may sound a little out there, but there is some evidence that orgasms experienced during intercourse have a different hormonal impact from solo sex orgasms. Lots of research has shown that levels of prolactin, the hormone that regulates the refractory period in men and makes you feel really, really sleepy after sex, increase after orgasm.

Prolactin is not the only hormone that makes sex the ultimate sedative. Orgasm floods the body and the brain with an endocrine cocktail of norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin and nitric oxide that leaves you feeling relaxed, satiated and deliciously sleepy. This flood of feelgood hormones and neurochemicals creates feelings of deep relaxation and calm and when it happens in a comfy bed, after a long, hard-working week, falling asleep is an occupational hazard. Darkness also triggers the pineal gland to produce melatonin, which also triggers sleep.

To be fair to your partner I'm not sure why his explanation about being tired wasn't enough for you. Life hasn't exactly been a picnic lately and although working from home has cut out presenteeism and boring commutes we haven't been doing any less work. In fact, data shows that 65% of us have been working the same or longer hours than normal.

Falling asleep during sex is not ideal, but I do think most people would laugh something like this off and let it go. That you have taken it as an insult suggests that you may have some underlying concerns about his interest in you. Are you secretly worried that he is bored? If so, you need to address the bigger issues in your relationship, rather than focusing on a single, and ultimately forgivable, first-time offence.

  • Send your queries to suzigodson@mac.com

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