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Sleep is the New Sex

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Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett:  I didn't have sex with my husband last night. Not news really, except that I intended to. Earlier in the day I put on some jeans that fit and brushed my hair and thought, "Gee, we should have sex tonight!"

couple in bed with wife asleep saying no really i'm awake let's have sex zzzzz

I caught up with a friend on the phone (both our children started kindergarten this week) after making dinner and feeding everyone, then walked my 13-month-old around the block 10 times to get him to sleep and came home and sat on the couch. I drifted off somewhere between Sarah Palin lambasting Obama and The Daily Show. My husband refuses to take advantage of me when I'm not awake, so no sex was had.

We had sex last week because I got back from a 10-day trip without him and even though I was more tired than when I left for this "vacation," he looked cute and was so happy to see me and we were lying on the bed after the kids were asleep and what started out as hand-holding...escalated.

It's not like we never have sex, or even have sex bi-annually, which I hear can happen. But most of the time, given my druthers, I'd rather pull a big soft pillow next to me and pass out. I guess my husband was sharing this painful reality with a female co-worker who has two small children and she said,

"Sure. Don't you know? Sleep is the new sex."

Tod came home and told me this and I felt much better.

As long as we are being chic in our waning intimacy, we really can't complain.

Dani Klein Modisett is the mom of two boys, and the creator/producer of Afterbirth...Stories You Won't Read in Parents Magazine.

30 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nic September 6, 2008, 10:11 AM

I have been there before. Sleep can be better then sex, IF there are other issues preventing you from connecting to your lover. (I like the word lover better then husband, even though he is;-)) My lover did not want to help me with our daughter, cook dinner, or do any of the house chores, let alone take us out anywhere. Hence, I did not care for the connection and would much rather have slept. Connection is very important for communication and confidence in yourself and your relationship. Sex grounds us to our lover and makes us feel special (releases endorphanes), releaves stress and anxiety, & burns calories. We like to feel attractive and wanted, so who would be better to share that with? I knew the difference and after many unsuccessful attempts to communicate my needs i changed my life and child’s life for the better. She will learn from my role in her life and my relationships with the people around us. I am not advocating divorce at all, i am advocating reliance on our relationship and self to make our families life better and stronger.

Willie Horton September 6, 2008, 2:03 PM

Ambien is the new Viagra.

John September 6, 2008, 2:09 PM

Remember women, you can have a low libido, or a faithful partner, not both.

Jamie September 6, 2008, 2:25 PM

Oh, I see, this site is owned by AOL. Well that explains the quality of this article.

Erin September 6, 2008, 3:25 PM

You have to make an effort. It’s like going to the gym, you might feel like you’d rather take a nap, but once you get up and go don’t you feel better? Sex releases endorphins just like exercise and improves your mood. If you make the effort you’ll be rewarded and you’re husband will be happier too.

Jeff September 6, 2008, 3:26 PM

If the author actually looked like the stock Getty photo, hubby would probably be happy to “take advantage of her when she’s not awake.”

Schooly September 6, 2008, 3:45 PM

Dear author of the article,
Your husband is sleeping with that female co-worker.

Husband September 6, 2008, 3:46 PM

A patient husband who loves his wife recognizes that there are times, some longer than others, when it is just not going to happen. But when you get to 2-3 times a month instead of a few times a week, and that goes on, and on, and on, month after month, and there is no reason other than “I’m tired,” even though the husband is doing more than half the house work, spends tons of time with the kids, and is working full time, well then the message Husband hears from Wife is, “I don’t want you.” Husband doesn’t really care whether it’s “I don’t want you for sex because now I have sleep instead.” Might be “sleep,” might be new boyfriend. The message to Husband is the same - you’re making all the effort for someone who is making no effort for you. Believe me, this comes up at the lunch room and in the locker room and if you think your H feels differently, think harder.

TG September 6, 2008, 4:04 PM

that’s it, I’m never getting married.

dennis September 6, 2008, 4:05 PM

right once a month then once a year ..
work full time pull your with the house and kids . then it is
your over wt … ok 15 lbs ,
your teeth are bad ( no they are not i have them all and they are clean )
its the stash ( shaved it off)
you act like a fool when i give in
( well i am happy)
real reason she just can not stand you
and really you just end up resenting her for using sex as poker chip .
i love her but if i had no kids i would have left after the first year of no sex … learn your lesson marry the girl you have great sex with you will find the love ,,, ..

GoodBye September 6, 2008, 5:04 PM

Welcome to the end of your marriage. If you can’t be bothered to save a little energy for your husband at the end of the day, you can’t expect him to just shrug it off and say oh well good night dear. Trust me, while you are snoozing (literally and figuretively) he is out looking. Sorry just a fact of life. Tod is already talking to a female co-worker about his absent sex life. You can bet she is not the only one he is discussing this with. Eventually, another woman will be more than happy to let you have your precious sleep.
Nighty Night :)

greg September 6, 2008, 5:16 PM

thankfully there are plenty of women willing to step in and satisfy your man while you sleep.

Reality Check Time! September 6, 2008, 5:21 PM

“I guess my husband was sharing this painful reality with a female co-worker…”

Are you naive or what? If your husband is discussing his sex life with a female coworker, he is on the prowl. (he might not know he is, but he is. Believe me.) Why? Because he’s a young man who’s wife writes things like ” But most of the time, given my druthers, I’d rather pull a big soft pillow next to me and pass out.”

So why was he not on that 10 day vacation with you? You don’t have a marriage. You have an arragement. Okay, so you fell asleep in front of the boob tube. I do that sometime. But I will also wake, ready myself for bed and make gentle love to my wife and then drift off with her. It’s no big deal.

Also, your children should have enough information about sex so that you and your husband do not need to be concerned about their “hearing little noises.” That way, you put the darlings to bed and then you and hubby can immmediately have quiet sex (save the earth moving encouters for when you’re alone). The kiddies must understand that when your bedroom door is shut, it means that mommy and daddy are having private time and if they need you they must knock and wait.

You younger women are convinced that you can have it all. Well, you can, but the quality of what you have isn’t terribly have. Chose yourselve, your husband and your children first. You really can do without most other things..

WH September 6, 2008, 5:28 PM

My wife and I have been in an almost sexless marrige for almost 4 years, (yes that is when our daughter was born) and I have heard almost every excuse givin. “Im too tired, The dog is in the bed, The baby will hear us, My feet hurt, You dont help, You dont listen, You, You, You,) and after 4 years, nothing has changed as far as our sex life. I have started taking days off work to take care of the child, to clean the house, to cook dinner, I have made arrangements for date night and a babysitter at least once a month, and to no avail, still no sex. Everyone that I talk to has told me she is cheating on me, and trust me ladies, Men are not the only people who cheat. It does take 2 to tango. It is pretty bad when I beg to even get hand stimulation from her and she still says she is too tired. Dont get me wrong, I love my wife, but sometimes the lack of physical contact drives me crazy. I havent cheated on her, but yes, the thought has crossed my mind. and as far as sleep is concerned, 20 min longer is not going to make you more tired in the morning. and I agree with all the other people on here that are saying that while the woman sleeps, the men are out prowling. I agree because I have plenty of offers, and I have considered every single one of them. and you can only dangle a piece of meat infront of a dog for so long untill the dog jumps.

mum September 6, 2008, 6:44 PM

Dude, you guys are all making comments about their marriage life like you know-it-all. She’s feeling guilty she’s been tired a lot lately. Her two examples seem to balance each other out. First example: she was tired but he was cute and so things worked out; second example: she fell asleep and he’s a decent enough fellow to not hold it against her. End of story. You act like they’re on the brink of divorce. Sheesh, ever heard of SEASONS in marriage??? Sometimes guys mess up and talk to other women about their home life. It doesn’t always mean he’s cheating, just a little boggled. They both need some mandatory R & R. Since when was marriage about showing off who could work the most to make it work? Competitions always have a loser, that’s why marriage ISN’T one.

giftedone? September 6, 2008, 7:56 PM

oh my, he’s talking to a *woman* about his poor sex life??? honey, wake up and smell the bacon!! yes, that’s your bacon and it’s getting cooked right now!! wake up and treat your husband like you want him to stay faithful OR go to the doctor one day for a mysterious STD that you … got from a toilet seat???

Husband September 6, 2008, 8:09 PM

I’m not into judging the author’s marriage, both because of lack of info and because its really none of my business. I was just commenting that, based on what I hear from other guys about their wives, they really are expected to go an entire “season” without sex. As in, like the entire summer. One guy’s wife just told him she wants to take an indefinite break from sex because “she is not that interested in it anymore” and “there is too much going on.” For the guy that is too honest to cheat and loves his kids too much to hurt them, she just condemned him to a year or two of hell, at a minimum, either until she has a change of heart or he finally realizes that he’s not doing the kids any good by being miserable. For the guy who is a faithful partner, good dad, and a normal guy with normal desires, it just seems like a lot to ask. He married her in part because he wanted to have sex with her for the rest of his life. Anyway, want to know where all the bitter middle aged men come from - and why internet porn is so popular - you’ve got one big answer right here: the sleeping wife.

JIm September 6, 2008, 8:21 PM


While there are marriage seasons, mens eyes are always on, and always require disciplined behavior.

I see no indications the author is feeling guilty.

I see nothing that says he is a decent enough guy to not hold it against her. he doesn’t force himself on her, but that doesn’t mean he is “ok with it”.

While I don’t think its a good idea for men and women to have such close relations to be sharing marriage and sex details, others opinion will very, but I do believe that it is an indicator that there is an unmet communication & intimacy need. Certainly a man or a woman may come to a marriage with friends, but there _should_ be changes during a courtship and after a marriage.

Marriage isn’t a 100%/100% deal. Its not a 50%/50% deal. Its 100%/0% That’s unconditional love. Of course, people have trouble with that, especially if they start thinking its really turning out to be 100/0. 100/0 is the mental model of sacrificial serving, not the intended life-long practical model.

SleepApneaGone -- HappyAgainWithSameWife September 6, 2008, 10:06 PM

My first question is whether the guy is a snorer. Follow me on this one. I mention this because you usually hear of the low libido issues with women when men hit their mid-30s, 40s, 50s. That’s also the same age where sleep apnea can come along. My father, for as long as I can remember, snored to the point that I had nightmares as a kid. About nine years ago I started down that road. It got the point where my wife was nudging me to wake me up in the middle of the night so I could keep breathing. Most know that if you have sleep apnea you are constantly tired, getting bad sleep and running your body down. It can take years to reach the worn down part, though. The toll on your body is gradual. But it may be quicker for your spouse. She wasn’t getting good sleep either, because my snoring kept waking her up. Combine that with the stress of raising kids, and bam, the wife is too tired to want sex. She would get grouchy if I brought it up, and would rather play on the computer, sleep, etc. After years of disregarding her suggestions to go to a sleep doctor, I hit the physical wall that sleep apnea sufferers eventually hit. I was a few months shy of 40 and didn’t want to live this way any longer. I had no energy, fell asleep at work, nodding off in the car(did that for years, should have known then), and my general health was a mess. My doctor said I was headed for a stroke because of my weight and general health. So I finally broke down and went to a sleep specialist. I dreaded the diagnosis that I knew was coming, as it meant I would have to wear a mask that pumped extra oxygen into me, like my dad had. Sure enough, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, and was given the cpap machine. I sucked it up and stuck with the mask so I could feel better. The first day, I was better and my wife look more rested than she had in years. Within a week both of us felt rested and happier. And the best side effect of all came along :). After that first week the sex was back and amazing. And it’s only gotten better in the ensuing months. We’re talking almost every night. I ignored her lack of energy and why it might be occurring. Her doctor agreed that my sleep apnea could have affected her libido.

So here’s my advice, even if you don’t have sleep apnea. First off communication is key. Guys have to be willing to initiate the conversation again and again (in a nice, non-whining manner) until the woman relents and discusses it, and the woman has to be willing to discuss the problem. Because it IS a problem. Both parties need to stop denying that it is NOT a problem. As far as I’m concerned if the woman isn’t willing to discuss the problem, it shows she doesn’t care about the relationship as much as the guy, and because we men know if she has a problem we doggoned better care! The men need to be willing to listen, and not just when they are talking to the lack of sex. With women, external problems affect her emotionally and can affect her drive. If I had done that earlier, and been less stubborn, I could have fixed our problems years earlier. She was tired all the time, my snoring bugged her, and we never had any time without the kids around. Is apnea a problem in all these cases, no, but it does show that communication helps.

Moon September 7, 2008, 3:53 AM

Whoa whoa whoa! Wait a minute here! It’s unfair to think that it’s only WOMEN who would rather sleep than men. I’m in a long term relationship where I (a woman, who works full time, has a side job, and takes care of the house thanks) am more than willing to have a wild quicky or pleasure my lover every night. And guess what? 6 days out of 7 HE’d rather sleep! Women, there are just as many men who are too tired for sex. It’s not just us who are slacking in the nookie department.

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