My problem is that my wife talks a lot during sex.
We have a very busy life, with three children in school, and both of us working.
There are a lot of to-do lists, schedules, school programs, special events, etc. to discuss and remember.
Unfortunately, it’s too often after the kids go to sleep and we can maybe have some intimacy, that she starts talking about what’s on the agenda.
When I’ve said that her timing puts me off sex and I’m frustrated by it, she gets defensive.
She’ll say things like she’s “too busy to pretend she’s my mistress” and not an over-stressed working mom.
She’ll insist there are too many places she, I, or we have to be, and too many tasks that must be remembered and done.
Our sex life is the only thing being neglected without her worrying about it.
I wish she’d understand that if we can just regularly spend some time alone, just being close and having sex without stopping to discuss the shopping list, we’d both feel less stressed.
And things would probably get done more easily because we’d have less tension from arguing about this.
How do I express all this without starting another fight?
Frustrated in Bed
A study published this year in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy might surprise you with new hope.
It found that people who communicate in bed tend to be more satisfied both sexually and in their relationships.
Of course, the communication that was studied mostly related to the actual sex act, e.g. about what a partner liked, or what made one uncomfortable, etc.
So, here’s one approach: Take that bedroom communication farther, and tell your wife that you understand how overwhelming these lists can be.
Then suggest that you hold that discussion weekly or as needed, in your kitchen after dinner. Or when the kids are all doing homework and only needing you intermittently.
Just not during sex.
Tell her you want to preserve that time, whenever possible, for the re-connecting so essential for remembering why you fell in love initially and started a life together with so many demands.
As for your current lifestyle, there’s something else to discuss, not in bed: Consider together, periodically, what you can drop from the must-do list.
If a child is heavily involved in a particular sport, it’s easier on her/him and yourselves if there’s a break from the other sport commitments, at least for a season.
Yours isn’t a unique problem, though the discussing timetables during sex aspect puts a new twist on the difficulties of finding couple time.
In 2010, Dr. Lois Meredith, a New York couples' and individual therapist told Psychology Today, that
couples' time is critical for busy parents who want to keep their connection and ensure their relationship remains strong.
She said, "Intimacy takes time; first at the level of self -awareness: what am I feeling? How can I express this to my loved one in such a way that they will feel supported and not just criticized.”
She noted that partners who are always on the run are immensely stressed, fatigued, ill-tempered and without patience.
For these reasons, events and disagreements that might have been brushed off, lead very quickly to angry exchanges, explosions, distancing, and eventually even dissolution of the relationship.
Tell your wife that what matters most is your relationship, not the timetables, and not just the sex.
My son, 15, is heartbroken because a girl at school dumped him.
She’d openly flirted with him and begged him to take her to a movie along with another couple.
He paid for both tickets and burgers afterwards. She messaged him the next day that she was now with the other boy.
He says everyone at school knows and he’s mortified and hurt.
How can I help him?
A wise counsellor who works with teenage boys once told me that, so long as there’s no abuse, such pre-adult rejection can be a learning tool that helps someone handle bigger disappointments in later life.
Unless he becomes withdrawn, refuses to go to school, or has angry outbursts, don’t join him in seeing this as a major disaster in his life.
Help him recognize how shallow this girl is, and not worth his pain.
If he can’t handle it, seek a counsellor specializing in teenagers.
Tip of the day:
Too much scheduling and discussions about it in bed interfering with your sex life? Find “couple time” for the relationship, not just for sex.