Insomnia and Intimacy

Have you ever felt too tired, physically, mentally, or emotionally, to be intimate with your partner? Have you ever felt like this for weeks or months on end? How has this impacted your relationship? Your communication with your partner? Your mood? Your satisfaction with your partner, your relationship, your daily life?

If you struggle with insomnia, I’m willing to guess that you’ve also struggled with intimacy, including the how and the when and the what-ifs and everything that comes along with them. I am writing to tell you that you’re not alone.

Dating and late nights together

When my now-husband and I started dating, we were living in 2 different states. We spent a great deal of our time texting and on Facetime, sharing our daily lives and our time with each other in the only ways we were able to.

My husband, who used to and now again sleeps very, very well, began staying up really late or getting up extra early to hang out with me. He adapted, in some ways, to my sleepless schedule and offered me as much of his time and his energy that he could. I love this. I felt seen and supported, and it made my nights much less lonely.

Insomnia impacts our intimacy

Once we moved in together, we shifted into a regular routine. This meant that he was more often sleeping at night and awake during the day, something that I couldn’t often align with. I’ve written before about my feelings on having a regularly sleeping partner, but what I didn’t talk about then was how that impacted our ability to connect intimately.

Many couples find that their sex life usually happens during one of 2 times - the evenings, before bed, or the mornings, before work. But, when you struggle with insomnia, these times may both feel challenging for different reasons.

I'm drained at the end of the day

To be honest, evening sex always feels harder for me - I’m drained from the day, I’m restless about the potentially sleepless night ahead, and I often come to bed much earlier or much later than my partner, depending on where my sleep schedule is at. This makes being intimate and having the energy to connect physically and emotionally with my partner much more difficult.

I feel better in the mornings

On the flipside, morning sex to me has felt better. Even on nights when I don't rest much, there’s something about new sunshine for the day that helps me get up and motivated, and oftentimes there’s the ability to stay in bed and rest for some time afterward. My husband usually starts his day before I do, so we use that to our advantage.

Midday intimacy would be perfect

Now, in a perfect world, if we both had daily flexibility, worked from home, didn’t have a toddler, and a number of other things, I’d for sure be a lunchtime/midday intimacy person. That’s the stretch of time that I have the most mental and physical energy, and there’s not as much pressure around if I’m going to sleep or if I slept the night before. However, as I’m sure you can imagine based on the variables - that’s not typically a regular option for me.

If insomnia has impacted your ability to be intimate, when or how or where you’re intimate, I’d love to hear about it below in the comments.

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