10 Out-of-the-Box Reasons You’re Not Having More Sex

by | Sep 10, 2019 | Libido | 32 comments

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Why aren’t you having more sex in your marriage?

“Because I don’t want to!” or “Because he has a low sex drive!”

Those are likely the two most common reasons. And when the question comes around about why sex isn’t more frequent, we usually focus on one of two things: libido issues or relationship issues. Maybe she never feels in the mood, and so she tends to say no. Maybe he’s the one with the low libido!

(Women, if you’re the ones suffering from low libido, you need to check out my Boost Your Libido course!)

Then, if we keep digging, the next reasons usually given for not having more sex in your marriage is that one of you isn’t feeling loved and you’re not connecting. When there are relationship problems, sex often falls by the wayside.

All of these things are true, and I feel like I’ve talked about all of them a TON on the blog!

But you know what? Sometimes the reason you’re not having more sex isn’t just about the relationship.

Sometimes it’s about life. And so, while I do think those other issues are the most important reasons you’re not having more sex, I’d like in this post to look at 10 out-of-the-box reasons that we may not always think of–but that definitely do impact our sex life!

Here we go:

1. You’re too tired

Women need to be able to concentrate in order to make love. To feel good, our brains have to be engaged. That’s virtually impossible if we’re super tired. Many women actually have quite healthy libidos, but then they get into seasons of life when they’re so busy and over-scheduled that sex stops, not because they want it to, but because they’re just too tired.

Other times the guy is just too bone tired to want to make love. For many guys, stress and exhaustion are pretty much the only thing that lower their sex drives. Other than that, they’re raring to go. But when stress takes over or they go for too long without enough sleep, sex falls by the wayside.

If you are both chronically exhausted, that’s not sustainable, and needs to be addressed. It’s not good for your health, your marriage, or your family. Sometimes it can be solved by taking sleep more seriously. Sometimes you need to reexamine your lifestyle and cut back–especially with kids’ activities. Sometimes you need to say no to church activities! And sometimes you may even need to take another look at your jobs. But running on empty for too long simply can’t be considered the status quo.

 2. You’re eating the kinds of food that cause stomach and digestive issues

If you’re always farting, chances are you aren’t going to be thinking much about sex–and your spouse may be running for the hills!

The kinds of foods we eat can make sex less likely. If you eat a ton of junk food, or eat a very heavy, fat-laden meal soon before bed, you could feel so sluggish that you’re not going to want to have sex.  On the other hand, if you eat a meal filled with beans, you may not want to, either! Watch what foods make your stomach react, and steer clear of them at dinner time!

 3. Your kids are sleeping in bed with you

I’ve written at length recently about how having toddlers in the bed can wreck your sex life, and your marriage. Sleeping with older kids is even worse, and can impact their emotional well-being, too. And it isn’t always moms who want to co-sleep, either. Some moms are having problems with dads sleeping with kids! I know some families swear by co-sleeping, but if there are kids in your bed, you will have sex less, because you’re making sex more challenging. And whenever something becomes more challenging, you do have less of it.

4. Your spouse ISN’T sleeping in bed with you–because you aren’t dealing with issues like snoring, sleep apnea, or insomnia

We’ve had issues with snoring in our marriage on and off for years, and that can take a toll on your sex life. It leads to one of you not sleeping well. It often leads to one needing to go to sleep before the other heads to bed, so that the non-snorer can sleep. And if it’s sleep apnea, then the person with apnea isn’t getting a good night’s sleep, either.

If you can’t sleep together, I still recommend going to bed at the same time, talking and snuggling, making love, and only THEN splitting up into separate rooms. But even better is to figure out the underlying cause. In many of these cases, losing weight can fix apnea or snoring. But talk to your doctor to see if there’s anything you can do in the meantime!

5. You can’t switch your brain off

Work stress or personal stress will mean less sex.

But sometimes just having a ton of things running through our minds about what we need to remember for tomorrow is a problem, too.

Did you take the meat out of the freezer? Remember to put the crockpot on before you run your errands tomorrow morning. You need to pick up a birthday card for Mom. You forgot to answer Jim’s email about the potluck this weekend–don’t forget.

And all of those “don’t forgets” add up. As someone who suffers from this, here’s what I suggest: Take 10 or 15 minutes earlier in the evening to think about your day tomorrow. Have a to-do app on your phone that you can quickly write items in. If they’re there, then you don’t have to worry about forgetting them–you actually let them out of your mind, because they’ll be in your app tomorrow.

Talk through tomorrow’s schedule with your husband sometime earlier in the evening, too, so you both know what’s going on. When you feel like you have a plan that’s written down, and nothing will take you by surprise, it’s easier to turn everything else in your head off so that you can concentrate on your body being turned on!

6. You’re on screens until far too late

One Reason Not Having More Sex: You're on screens too late

Blue screens affect our circadian rhythms and make it harder to get to sleep! As the National Sleep Foundation says,

The truth is, using electronic devices before bedtime can be physiologically and psychologically stimulating in ways that can adversely affect your sleep.

Here’s what happens: Using TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, or other electronic devices before bed delays your body’s internal clock (a.k.a., your circadian rhythm), suppresses the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, and makes it more difficult to fall asleep. This is largely due to the short-wavelength, artificial blue light that’s emitted by these devices.

So they recommend setting a digital curfew when you turn devices off an hour before you plan to sleep.

“But, wait!” you may say. “We’re talking sex, not sleep!”.

Ah, yes. But sex is also easier if you’re relaxed. If you’ve been reading work emails, or going on rabbit trails that are making your mind race a mile a minute, it’s going to be hard to settle that brain down and just focus on your spouse. Besides, sometimes we get going on our devices with our spouse lying there, ready to talk (or something else!), and we think, “just one more game”, or “just one more email”, or “I’ll just check Twitter one more time!” And pretty soon 15 minutes have passed and our spouse is asleep, and now it’s too late.

7. You’ve got a TV in your bedroom

Maybe it’s a particular screen that’s worse for you, though. If you have a TV in your bedroom, it’s easier to turn to shows than to each other, and you could drown out that chance you have to connect at the end of the day. And watching CSI or some show about sex crimes is hardly going to be conducive to sex!

8. You don’t go to bed together

My husband likes to say this: “There’s a room where you’re more likely to have sex. And there’s a time when you’re more likely to have sex. If you want to have more sex, it’s best if you’re both in that room at that time, together!”

I mean, this really isn’t rocket science. If one of you turns in at 10:15, and the other one stays up until 1, sex is going to be less frequent. If you want more sex, be in bed, awake, ready to go, at the same time. Because adults need bedtimes, too!

9. Your bedroom is stressful rather than relaxing

When you walk into your bedroom, do you sigh and think, “Now I can relax!”, or do you sigh and think, “I’ve got to move that unfolded laundry off of the bed again before we climb in”?

You don’t want to walk into your bedroom and feel a heap of guilt. You do want to be able to climb into bed and feel peaceful and comfortable. So spend spare money on fixing up your bedding rather than throw pillows in the living room. Your bedroom is actually the most important room of the house! And special tip: Don’t have large pictures of your in-laws over your bed or on a bookshelf looking down at you, either.

10. You’re not getting enough exercise or you’re not getting outside enough

Getting your heart rate up a bit during the day helps you get your libido up at night! When we don’t move enough during the day, and when we don’t get enough fresh air, it’s going to impact your libido. The more you exercise, stretch, and walk, the more energy you’ll feel at the end of the day to make love.

So there you go! 10 reasons why you may not be having enough sex in your marriage.

And now I want to turn to our marriage challenge. Every week I like to give you a super-quick challenge that you can do with your husband that can help you grow together. So here’s this week’s challenge:

Why Aren't You Having More Sex?

Read through this list and identify the 1-2 biggest roadblocks to having more sex in your marriage.

Then have your husband read it and ask him to identify the 1-2 biggest roadblocks.

Now discuss together, and choose which 2 you’ll concentrate on fixing this week!

Note: If you’re not having more sex because you have some big relationship issues, I’d recommend instead reading 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage this week.

Why Are You Not having More Sex Challenge

Now let me know in the comments: What was the biggest reason for you that you’re not having more sex in your marriage? Or is there a #11 that I’ve missed? Let’s talk!

Written by

Sheila Wray Gregoire


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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. AaronG

    I love this, so many good ideas. My wife and I have never had a TV in our bedroom and it shows. We have an awesome sex life.

  2. Ina

    If being exhausted is the problem and it’s not an immediately fixable thing, having sex any time other than bedtime can be helpful. I actually really dislike sex right before bed. During naptime on the weekends or early in the evening once the kids are in bed works way better for me as a young mom. Mostly, at least. At this point we’ve accepted that a slightly lower frequency is good enough for us in these baby and toddler years and look forward to when this (at this point, anyway) last baby is born and we can move out of the sleepless fog.

    • ANW

      I’m the same way! If we waited until bedtime we’d never have sex. Once the kids are asleep (generally by 8:30) it’s go time. Then we move out to the family room and watch tv after.😆

  3. Hannah

    A tip for the to-dos–get a small notebook and pen and set it next to your bed. Then when those reminders come up at an awkward time, you can just reach over, scribble it down, and go right back to what you were doing. I’ve had to do that several times, and the 10 second interruption is worth it because it’s far better than continuing to worry about it. You can also use your phone (which is what I’ve done, because I haven’t been on top of things enough to have a notebook at hand), but it’s more of a pain and obviously way more distracting.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great idea!

  4. Arwen

    Having a sleep schedule was one of the best things i have done in my life. Every night, including weekends, i go to sleep at 10pm and wake up 6am. And i stick to it even if i’m at someones house or if i have guests over. If friends need more time with me they can meet me at 6am in the morning. In CA during the summer we have 14 hours of light! Sun comes up at 6am and goes down at 9pm! You have 14 hours to interact with the person.

    It literally changes your entire day. You feel like you have been awake for so long only to realize it’s only 8am and you have the rest of the day to do more stuff! I can’t stress the sleep schedule enough. I just love it. It’s wonderful!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes! So true. I read a book on sleep when I was seriously sleep deprived with my babies and Keith was working 120 hours a week, and one of the things it stressed was to never sleep in. Like, if you need to get up at 6 for work, then get up at 6 on the weekends, too, and just make sure you go to bed early enough. It talked about the problem for radio DJs or morning show hosts who have to be at work at 4:30, and said the only thing to do is to go to bed earlier, almost all the time.

      So I started doing that, too. We get up at the same time on weekends as we do during the weekdays. And the biggest change I’ve found? I haven’t used an alarm clock in years!

      • Arwen

        Exactly! Someone used sports as an analogy for sleep schedule. Athletes practice the same sports over and over again so that it becomes second nature to them. It’s the same thing with sleeping, you train your body to sleep and wake up at the same time and it becomes automatic/second nature. I haven’t used an alarm clock either. And the reason why i stick with it even on the weekends is because i don’t want to mess up my routine. Not a smart idea to mess up your routine for 2 days off (for some of use 1 day off, still have to get up early for Sunday Church).

        Sleep schedules also help you eat properly. I read an article lack of sleep causes people to eat at random times, comfort foods, etc. How you sleep really does affect the rest of your day and your future. In every area of life!

        “Early to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise.”

        • T

          Except if you hate mornings altogether and are much more an evening person. I am most productive as an individual in the evening. My brain is sharp and I’m all fired. Mornings I’m in a fog for hours. Literally until 9-10. It doesn’t matter when I go to bed. I’ve been like this since childhood. Lol

  5. Laura

    When our kids were toddlers, they often found their way into our bed during the night, but we still made an effort for 2-3 times a week since they slept pretty soundly in their own beds until midnight or so.
    The teen years and sleeping in til noon is amazing for sexy time opportunities. Mornings have always been better for me physically, so it became a standing date. I wake at 5:30 for work and can’t sleep in on Saturdays, so hubby and I enjoy each other and then often grab breakfast as a date.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That sounds like a great solution!

  6. LM

    My hubby works from 6-2:30, and then is on the computer gaming from almost the moment he gets home til about 8:30, when I pull him to the couch to see a show together. We usually watch 2 episodes, so by the time we’re done, we head to bed around 10:30 so he can get up early. At least that’s what he says when he turns down sex, but he’s a night owl, so stays up on his phone for I don’t know how long (I fall asleep first). Our best time for sex is in the afternoon if we both need a nap, so head in the bedroom together. He’s also about 160 lbs. overweight, so I’m sure that plays into his lower drive. Tho when we get away for our anniversary weekend (once a year), he’s away from his computer and is suddenly wanting sex twice a day… lol!

    • LM

      PS Evening show time–at least one episode–is greatly needed by me to be able to calm down and decompress after a stressful day mom-ing my 2.5, 3, and just-turned 5 year olds (motherhood has been much, much harder than I ever anticipated!). I’m a type A, so rarely sit down during the day. Yes, seeing hubby vegging at the computer through all the chaos can be hard!

    • Alena

      This is what my husband and i use to do, watch TV show or movie “as our way to relax and unwind” and without even realizing that was exactly what made sex harder to look forward because your not communicating or engaging in any way. So instead we found something else we enjoy doing together that forces us to communicate with each other either verbally or physically and helps us relax at the same time…after we do an activity where we communicated a little we feel more connected and more drawn to have sex even if we are tired….

  7. Melissa W

    Great list Sheila. I absolutely think if your sex life is struggling then it is important to evaluate your relationship and make changes in areas that will improve your sex life. With that said, we have always had a tv in our bedroom and have always had a great sex life. I know, it’s a big no no but for us it is very much a part of connecting and helping us maintain going to bed at the same time. We always get in bed between 9:30 and 10:00 – sometimes earlier and watching tv while snuggled up in bed is intimate for us. It is physical connection even if we don’t have sex that night. Also, we watch shows that we wouldn’t watch with our kids or our kids have no interest in and we have all kinds of inside jokes and such because of what we watch just the two of us. The other reason I like having a tv in the bedroom is because of sex. We have teenagers and playing concerts we have recorded provides some noise to drown out activities, is great background music for having sex and the tv provides just the right amount of light for being able to see each other without being blinded. So, if the tv is hindering your sex life then by all means remove it but if it enhancing your relationship and contributes to having a great sex life then keep it. It is going to be different for every couple.

    • Joanna Sawatsky

      We also have a tv in the bedroom – frankly it’s a holdover from living in a tiny apartment for 4 years and needing to have both the bedroom and the main area be spaces that were usable. That way we could get away from each other if we wanted peace and quiet – which was very much a thing since we were both students! Honestly, I can totally see it causing problems but I LOVE getting into bed with my husband and watching a show at night when we feel like it. It’s not for everyone and certainly, if it’s causing problems it’s time to chuck it, but I’ve really enjoyed it!

  8. A regular reader

    I want to second your great advice about being active outdoors regularly. I have noticed this is true for me, as it wakes me up, so to speak, gets my blood pumping and heightens my awareness of my body and how it feels. Great for my libido!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It really does help! I work at home, and the days when I never get outdoors (especially in the winter) are brutal. And it’s all too easy for a day to go by and I haven’t left the house. I’m trying to change that!

  9. Jane Eyre

    Adding on to #8: count backwards. Let’s say that the early-to-bed spouse wants to be asleep by 11 pm, and that the couple usually spends about an hour when intimate. You can’t join your spouse in bed at 11 pm and say, “Hey, we’re in bed at the same time!’ and expect sex to happen – you’re either in for pity (and resentful) sex, or fast sex, or a spouse who feels that it’s his/her marital duty to go without adequate sleep. None of those things are good for a marriage.

    What you want to do is start initiating around 9:30. That means that you don’t pop in a two-hour long movie after 8 pm – you choose a board game, TV show, talking, etc.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      YES! Exactly. I’ve said that, too. Think of when you have to be asleep, and then start your bedtime routine (which may include reading a chapter of a book or something) at least an hour earlier.

      • Suzanne

        I like all your ideas Sheila and im really going to try my best but my husband has low libido and is reluctant. I love the idea of snuggling then talking then making love but Im certain he uses ‘prayers first’ as an excuse because he knows that i relax as we pray and end up falling asleep! I often feel as if i hardly know him as ive not been able to coax out of him what he enjoys about our rare lovemaking. Its a lonely place. I think im going to talk to him again to see if we can pray earlier before we head up to bed or in the morning although i guess he’ll say we must thank God for the day before we sleep.
        Thanks for all you do to help women like me who long for closeness and true intimacy.
        God bless you very much!

  10. FaceinFive

    The “other” issues is a big one… and he doesn’t want to deal with them, so he sleeps on the couch every night so I can sleep.
    BUT… he’s also always said he doesn’t know when to initiate so he wants me to ALWAYS be the “starter”… and I don’t get that. He’s never had a confidence issue in 23 years in any other part of life, and I haven’t been critical or demanding… ???

    • Lisa

      I’m dealing with the exact same “starter” thing. I keep telling him that I’m a “sure thing”…not sure where the problem lies, but its discouraging.

    • Daniel

      FaceinFive: Although it’s probably different in your marriage, I’ll let you know a few of my thoughts on why I don’t initiate sometimes. Actually, it typically boils down to one thought; She looks tired, or has mentioned that she’s tired. A caring and loving husband is tuned to his wife’s needs, and that may be what is going on with you guys… perhaps not tiredness, but just something that makes your husband hesitant to initiate because he is concerned about you. Maybe you can give him suggestions about when is a good time, and when is a bad time to initiate?

  11. Anon

    I was finally going to be able to buy the boost your libido course and my coupon code had expired… 🙁

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      I’ve just sent you an email!

  12. AspenP

    We are guilty for most of them, but we don’t have a TV in our room so at least we’re doing something right. 😂

  13. Kathleen Bailey

    My husband stays up all night long because of insomnia and sleep apnea and sleeps during the day. So what we do is he “tucks me in”. He comes to bed, we do our thing and then when he’s ready, he leaves to continue his night awake. Currently we have a kid in our bedroom though so that’s been harder but once her new bedroom is ready, we can go back to tuck ins.

  14. Melanie

    So true, sometimes it is life. I love the practical points you made about adjusting the things in our lives that might be undermining sex. I just listened to your podcast from a few years ago on “Stinkin Thinkin”. Also great! Making changes to how we think about sex and each other and then making changes to limit the obstacles that get in the ay of sex being everything God designed it to be. Just makes sense.

  15. alena

    The last couple months my husband and i started a business and we have been busy working all day and going to bed later then usual, this is when i noticed our 3-5 days a week of sex go down all way to 1-2 times a week. We started going to bed at different times and because of that its harder to have sex and he has been having a hard time getting it on or keeping it on because he says that his mind is so occupied with the business that he just cant do it….so I started helping him get things wrapped up before bed so that we can go to bed at the same time and get some stress off of him and i try to initiate walks together in the evening to help us relax and connect, also we find every evening we find time to spend with God and prayer together but the sex is still as low as 1-2 times a week. Im just worried because he use to be the one always wanting it 2 times a day and now i feel like we would have 0 sex a week if i didnt initiate it. He says he is just really tired and has alot on his mind, which is understandable, but I really would like to bring our sex back up to 3 times a week because i really do notice we are way closer to each when we do so. Advice Please!

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Alena, it may honestly just be stress. Starting a new business is stressful, and that does tend to be one of the things that has the biggest impacts on guys’ libidos. As long as you’re on the same page and you see it as a temporary thing, and you’re both aware of the issue, it will likely resolve itself. But if you’re worried that this period is going to turn into workaholism, then talking about boundaries may be a good idea. What Keith and I had to do for me (since I work from him) was agree that after 5 I get off the computer. It really does make a huge dfiference.


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