Momma's Too Tired for Sex

Yes, I said it. Probably more times than I would like to admit. I am currently the mother of a 6 (“6 and a half” as she likes to say) and a 5-year-old. Kids are a handful, especially when it comes to young ones who still need some assistance and aren’t as much help around the house as they will be when they are older. In addition to being a working mother, I was a doctoral student for the last 4 years. If you quickly did the math in your head – that means I started as a full-time doc student with a 1 and almost 3-year-old. Am I crazy? Some would say “yes”. I said “no!” I am simply demonstrating to my children the importance of education, never giving up on your dreams, and hard work pays off. Right?
With all of that said, I am also no spring chicken. I am about to turn 39 (The 10th anniversary of my 29th birthday, if you ask my closest friends). This was not an easy trek for my spouse either. Not only did he carry the burden of financially supporting the family and shared household duties with me, he also fell to the bottom of the “to-do” list (pun intended). We rarely made it to bed at the same time and even when we did, I was exhausted. No morning nookie either, the kids jumped into bed with us somewhere in the 6 o’clock hour. Most often our love making occurred infrequently, at separate times, and with the power of our imaginations.
I knew that our relationship was starting to become strained, not just because of the lack of sexual activity, but because of the lack of overall intimacy. We only had time to discuss the necessary aspects of our days and what we needed from each other. “We are out of milk”, “The girls have dance tomorrow at 9”, “can the dark wash wait another day?”, and so on. It began to feel like we were simply two people co-existing in the same house with shared responsibilities. I do not believe that our experience was too far off from what many couples experience after long stretches of time together, after changes in career expectation, and while raising children. Clients may come to you with the same or similar complaints about their sex life. So, what can we advise them to do about it?
According to Dr. Laurie Mintz, in her book “A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex”, we can use what she calls, the “Five T’s and a Bit of Spice” approach. The five T’s are for Thoughts, Talk, Time, Touch, and Trysts. The spice is the things you add into liven things up further, according to your own taste. The first step, Thoughts, are positive sexual thoughts clients can put in the forefront of their busy brains. Also, trying to keep their busy thoughts out of the bedroom (at least during sexual encounters). I read once that our beds should be used for only sleep and sex. How many of us really keep it to only those two activities? I know it can be difficult not to think about all of the things that are not getting done while in the moment, but trust me, keeping your mind in the game really helps to enjoy those orgasmic moments.
The second T is for Talk. This step focuses on learning healthy communication between partners. This includes both communication about sex and in general. If communication in your client’s relationship is an issue, you may want to work on some healthy strategies that may translate to more sexy communication as well. Improving communication will help during subsequent steps. The third T is for Time. This involves evaluating what is important for your client and what your client chooses to commit spending time on. This includes nonsexual affectionate time as well as organizing daily life tasks together. The fourth step, Touch, is encouraging your client to use touching techniques that will ignite passion in both them and their partner. Finally, the last step, Trysts, is when you may encourage the client to add the spice to their sex life.
Of course, using these steps with your clients may take some time. Some clients may jump right in and get to work with their partners and other clients may have more complicated struggles and challenges. One things that is important to remember is that if you are not a Certified Sex Therapist or if you are not trained to use the techniques with your clients, you must only do so under appropriate supervision or refer your clients to someone specifically trained in sex therapy. And, of course, you can always encourage clients to pick up Dr. Mintz’s book.
Mintz, L. (2009). A tired woman’s guide to passionate sex: Reclaiming your desire and reignite your relationship. Avon, MA: Adams Media.
Originally posted: August 27, 2019 at https://www.counseling.org/news/aca-blogs/aca-member-blogs/aca-member-blogs/2019/08/27/momma-s-too-tired-for-sex

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