Many couples choose nighttime as the default time for sex. For most lovers, late night is probably the worst time for this important bonding activity. The last few minutes before sleep coincide with our lowest energy; to sleep is the reason we are in bed at this time in the first place. Sex requires energy; good sex requires lots of energy! As a habitual practice this may be dangerous. Regularly having sex when you are tired can all but guarantee that your sex life will fall into uninteresting routines which are vulnerable to dysfunction. As couples age this likelihood is heightened. Only one incident of dysfunction can cast a long shadow of sexual troubles.
The reality is that in the early part of most relationships, sex is marked by high heat, passion and frequency, but has slowed, reduced in quality and importance ever since. Relegating the last moments of the day for sex may be one contributing factor in this trend. Too many couples already populate the swelling “sexless marriage” category.
Keeping sex varied and exciting is vital. Changing up the times of your pleasure will help to inject some fun, but also provide the all-important energy needed for good sex. The early morning is an excellent opportunity when privacy may also be available, obtained by setting the alarm a few minutes earlier. This is when the world is quiet. You aren't a morning person, you say? If you make yourself receptive, you may find that sex and its arousal are more effective than coffee at waking you up. This way you will start your day with pleasure! How about a bathroom tryst beginning with a shared shower? This is a way to make your daily preparations more fun. How about an interlude of afternoon delight? Have you considered a before-dinner romp? Is an occasional lunch-time quickie ever possible? All these times in your day are superior than late night for satisfying sexual connections.
For partners who differ in their amounts of sexual interest, because one partner is hopeful and eager to sexually engage, while the other is equally eager to avoid that eventuality, tension is injected into the late night when relaxation should be fostered, a factor needed to prepare for a restful sleep. For some, a sexual experience not only arouses them in excitement, but also arouses their energy, so afterwards sleep is unobtainable. Not a great way to insure being rested for the next day.
Here are some reasons why couples choose the late night for sex, though none of them eliminate the destructive influences of this choice: 1. Opportunity for sex is afforded by evening togetherness. 2. For couples with young children, the late-night provides an occasion with privacy. 3. An orgasm is a wonderful stress relief which functions for some as a sleep aid. 3. For others, the evening is a time when lovers have "wound down" sufficiently for sexual desire to surface. 4. For others the anonymity and therefore safety of darkness is available to make sex less anxiety-provoking. 5. If sex is not desired by a partner, procrastination efforts reach the end of the line in the late-night.
Of course the argument that nighttime is the only available time when both you and your partner are together is probable often true. In this day and age, our lives are pushed to the limit with stress and demands. It is not just our sex lives that may benefit from choices which keep our lives very simple. The late-night choice proclaims that sex is the lowest item on your priority list. Giving it the crumbs of energy by making time for sex only when everything else, important or not is complete, all but guarantees that your sex life will eventually wither, dry up and evaporate.
Saying “no” to nice but unnecessary commitments can improve the quality of our lives overall, and provide us with more time for essentials. We all want good relationships; maintaining yours by giving it the nourishment that it absolutely needs will reward you with that increasingly rare phenomenon...a happy, and long-term relationship. Andrew Aaron, LICSW, AASECT is a sex and relationship therapist who practices in the New Bedford Seaport.