I find that a helpful analogy when approaching this dilemma is to think about any other health or wellness activity such as exercise. It is well understood that exercising has many physical and psychological benefits, such as cardiovascular and muscular, as well as positive emotional changes and regulation. While not everyone is quick to get excited about incorporating a few trips to the gym into his/her weekly routine or setting the alarm clock at 5am to go for that morning run, many of us will agree that when we are finally able to establish a healthy regimen into our lives, it makes us feel better. We feel good knowing that we’re doing something good for our mind, body, and mood!
Research shows that healthy physical intimacy, especially in trusted relationships, has many of the same benefits as exercise. These benefits include: improved immune system, sleep, libido, bladder control for women, and pain tolerance and decreased stress, blood pressure, and risk of heart disease (Onhealth Magazine).
It pays to encourage ourselves to step up (exercise pun intended) when an opportunity to connect (sexual pun also intended) presents itself. Of course, sometimes we are just too exhausted at bedtime and want our partner to respect our biological need to surrender to sleep. If we know we are prone to fatigue at night, then maybe sticking to a daytime intimacy routine is best for more reliable, albeit likely fewer, opportunities to be physical together. That being said, I suggest generally mustering up the will to rally for the sexual activity as an act of commitment to our relationship, because it makes our partner and ourselves feel good in the moment and afterward. It is good for our relationship health and our own health. So give it a try, and there’s a good chance you’ll have a better night’s sleep as a result!