Oh, baby, put me to sleep!
May 12, 2012 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Please help me make sex boring.

I can not fall asleep after sex. Not just in a "I can't roll over and start snoring" kind of way, I mean this in a "I will not fall asleep for several hours - if at all" kind of way. It's become a problem for my relationship and I could use some suggestions to make sex more... sleepy-making.

That's my basic question: please help me figure out how to fall asleep more easily after sex.

Here are the relevant details of my situation:

- I have a sleep disorder (Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome) which is otherwise very well controlled. Post-coitus is the only time I have trouble sleeping. However, controlling a sleep disorder means I'm already taking medication and can not add OTC sleeping pills or get a prescription for Ambien or the like because I already do that. I'm already medicated to get sleep. I can't change my medication as it took *years* to get it right.

- I have a young child and can not simply move sex earlier in the evening. My partner and I were able to do this pre-baby and it worked fine. However, we currently need to wait until kiddo is asleep which means that pre-my-bedtime is the only available window of opportunity for getting it on. Putting the tot in front of the TV for an hour isn't an option - I would absolutely not be able to focus on sexy fun times in that situation.

- I'm 31, a lady, and have been in a monogamous relationship with my partner for five years. The sex itself is great. No complaints about that. It's always been true for me that sex ramps me *up* energy wise instead of calming me down. This has been true throughout all relationships. It's becoming a big issue now as after pregnancy and breastfeeding my hormones are now starting to even out and I'm regaining the libido I lost - only to find that I'm very, very wary about initiating sex or allowing it to happen at all as I know I won't sleep that night. This makes sex a pretty rare event around here, which bothers me, and while my partner hasn't outright complained - I know that he very rightly would like to fix this issue.

I think that's it - please help retrain my brain to find sex less exciting!
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Running the risk of pointing out the obvious here but... morning sex? If it energizes you then I can't think of a better way to wake up!
posted by hazyjane at 7:41 AM on May 12, 2012 [20 favorites]

Yes, morning sex. If you're worried about the kiddo being up, set an alarm for an hour earlier than wakeup time.
posted by DoubleLune at 7:49 AM on May 12, 2012

Have sex in the morning.
posted by pwally at 7:49 AM on May 12, 2012

Morning sex might be hard with DSPS. What about a once a week babysitter who takes your kid(s) out to a park/museum/dinner so that you and your partner get at least one night of early evening fun?
posted by Zen_warrior at 8:12 AM on May 12, 2012 [8 favorites]

I have exactly the same problem with not being able to sleep after sex. We solved it with early morning sex. I get up afterward and husband goes back to happy sleep. We've done this since the kids were babies.
posted by saffronwoman at 8:14 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I agree with the babysitter. You should try using the t.v. It will be awkward at first, but you will get used to it. Also consider jumping in the shower together while kid is in front of t.v., less chance of noise issues.
posted by myselfasme at 9:06 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

nthing morning sex. I'm also not one to fall asleep after sex, and my first hubby and I had four kidlings as well as a healthy sex life. Early morning sex is one of the best ways to not get interrupted by the kidling and not have to worry about staying awake all night.
posted by patheral at 9:26 AM on May 12, 2012

Maybe a bath or a massage after sex. Or read something dry.
posted by maurreen at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2012

So I think we can safely assume that anonymous has heard the morning sex suggestion loud and clear. But, yeah, for people with a sleep disorder, waking up bright-and-early and expecting to be in a fun-having mood and do something active and vigorous may really not be an option at all.

Anonymous — It seems like there are probably two pieces of this problem. (1) Fucking is fun and you don't get to do it enough. (2) Being sexually intimate and knowing your partner finds you sexy and all that shit is important and you don't get to do that enough either.
Solving #1 may indeed be tricky — it's tricky for everyone with kids, if that's any consolation, and the standard solution AFAICT is the one that involves babysitters — but #2 seems like it's amenable to all sorts of solutions.

Much of the standard advice for people in long distance relationships seems like it could apply here, because it makes sexy interaction time-shiftable. Write each other dirty notes! Take naked pictures! Do it one at a time and let the other one watch the kid! And it's possible that you'll find that it's specifically the exertion of sex that keeps you up, or that it's specifically an after-effect of having an orgasm. In which case, paradoxically, a lot of the advice for people who are trying to deal with low libidos also applies: don't focus so much on sweaty orgasm-causing things, but make a point of doing a lot of cuddling and necking and complimenting and checking-each-other-out and perhaps occasional ass-grabbing and so on.

None of this is a perfect substitute for getting to fuck the person you love as often as you like. But the way I tend to feel about it is some intimacy is better than none, and if those are your options you should go for "some." Hopefully you'll find ways to have a lot more hot sweaty orgasm-causing sex. But if not, you know, keep this stuff in mind?
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:58 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

[This is a followup from the asker.]
I hadn't considered morning sex, however, with DSPS this is a very bad idea as it's hard enough for me to wake up on time in the mornings! I couldn't possibly get up an hour earlier and still function normally throughout the day, let alone feel sexy. What I said about pre-bedtime being the only time is taking my sleep disorder into account.

The babysitter suggestion isn't a bad one, but isn't a practical solution for us right now. I'm looking for suggestions about specifically falling asleep after sex, not about re-scheduling sexy time.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:59 AM on May 12, 2012

while i don't have a diagnosed sleeping disorder, i am prone to anxiety, which means i'm often pretty wired at night, even when i'm exhausted. things that have helped me calm down enough to sleep:

1. warm bath with epsom salts (magnesium sulfate helps you relax)
2. calcium + magnesium orotate supplement--this usually relaxes me within 20 minutes of taking it. for me, it's a bit like a mild xanax.
3. actual xanax (if it doesn't interfere with your current medication)
4. back & shoulder rub.
5. other supplements you probably already know about: chamomile, valerian, ashwagandha.

good luck!
posted by guybrush_threepwood at 10:42 AM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]

The best solution I can think of is to get some extremely comfortable earbuds and a sleep-inducing self-hypnosis tape. (Well, not a tape. A . . . track. Whatever the kids call them these days.) After sex, your partner rolls over and goes to sleep, and you roll over, pop the earbuds in, and begin your program of deep breathing and tensing-releasing, or whatever.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I was planning on using self-hypnosis for labor management, and I listened to the induction tracks from my hypnobirthing book every night. I have some problems with insomnia, and I was having real trouble getting to sleep, but I found that the trance induction track did in fact put me to sleep quite quickly -- I would often wake up when my alarm went off with the earbuds still in. Even if it didn't put me to SLEEP, it would put me into a somnolent lull that would make me OK with just lying there awake, if you know what I mean. Obviously, a birth-related track isn't going to be the best choice for you right now, but there are zillions of sleep-inducing tracks out there.
posted by KathrynT at 10:44 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I can't sleep I put a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on my sheet - next to my head but not on my actual pillow in case it gets in my eyes. I find it really relaxes me and help me sleep.

I also take natural supplements that contain valerian and other stuff. They're called Kalms in the UK but I'm sure they're available in some form everywhere. I don't drink chamomile tea at night because it just means I have to get up for the loo in the middle of the night, but that might not be an issue for you.
posted by hazyjane at 11:02 AM on May 12, 2012

Maybe try not to be too active during sex? I tend to find sex revs me up, whereas masturbation often puts me to sleep. I think the difference is that during masturbation I'm not getting as much exercise as I am when I'm working out my whole body during intercourse. I don't get out of breath, pounding heart, etc. I just stimulate the appropriate spot lazily until I come, and then drift off to sleep.

I've often heard that exercise in the evening energizes some people to the point they can't sleep, so maybe this idea isn't too farfetched.

Some suggestions:

Make love in a leisurely, lazy way that doesn't require any athletics whatsoever.

Have your orgasm last thing, so when you come you can go right to sleep. Use a vibrator, have him go down on you or masturbate you, so you don't have to be bouncing or thrusting your way to orgasm.

Use a vibrator during sex to cut down on the amount of exertion needed to come.

Make out while mutually masturbating one another to orgasm.

Also, do you pay attention to the effect light has on your sleep pattern? I started sleeping much better once I covered up our digital alarm clock and put a rolled towel against the bottom of the door to prevent light from getting in.

Before bed, exposure to the blue spectrum light that comes from computers and tv's is supposed to be bad for sleep. Try installing f.lux on your computer, and don't watch tv for the last hour before you go to bed.

Try screwing in the dark, if you've been leaving the lights on.
posted by sock puppy at 11:09 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wow - you and I have the same issue. I'm taking meds to get my sleep under control, and it was starting to work pretty well! I was actually falling asleep in a good amount of time and then functional in the morning! ...unless sex was involved....after sex, it's back to normal insomnia until 4am. :-(

These have been my solutions - they haven't been perfect, but they have helped me.

1) Medicate *after* sex
The pills I take are supposed to be taken within a half an hour of bedtime - I used to pop them as soon as I hopped into bed, but now I try to save them for when I'm ready to go to *sleep*. If your pills are similar, wait until after any bedtime activities to take them.

2) Go all out
What I noticed, and YMMV, was that one orgasm would key me up and bring me back to insomnia....but the third one would knock me out. Since I know this now, after the first orgasm, the mentality is no longer, "try to go to sleep....try to go to sleep....you've got to get up in the morning, go to sleeeeep", it's "one down...."

3) Don't worry if you don't have to/Prioritize
If you're worried about staying up late, plan for sex on nights you CAN stay up late. For example, clear your Saturday morning schedule, have sex Friday night, and while you're keyed up post-sex, get out of bed and do all those things you would have done Saturday morning. (note - you say that sex is a rare event in your house, so I'm assuming that, considering you have a new baby, means less than once a week....if you are actually having sex once a week even after the addition of a new baby, I think you're doing pretty well...)
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 11:56 AM on May 12, 2012 [7 favorites]

Like Lt. Wigglesworth, I feel keyed up after sex unless I have like, at least three orgasms. I think experimenting with orgasm quantity would be a good idea.
posted by milk white peacock at 12:40 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I realize that you've asked for only suggestions about how to go to sleep after night sex. I've got no help there. Yet, I am the ex-husband of an someone who had similar issues. I think my experience has value, ignore it as you like.

I think you need to get over the guilt about having sex while your kid is awake. Your kid is amazingly important, but should not control your life.

I personally believe that there's not a thing wrong with having sex while your kid is awake. This, even if possibly the child knows you are doing so. Obviously, not in front of them. However, a simple "gloss" explanation is sufficient for everyone's mental health. "I'm giving your mom a massage" was and is the common excuse I use. The kids know not to interrupt us, or we'll be upset. Often, I actually do give her a massage. Yes, we lock the door, and she tries not to scream. She doesn't always succeed, which is also OK with me, and the kids seem both fine with it and well adjusted.

I and my new wife do like morning sex. However, that doesn't really work all the time. Lots of times, we have sex in the early afternoon, kids at home. Actually, night sex is generally the least satisfying for both of us, and we rarely bother.

I think this is a big deal, and I recommend you think about what I would generally call in a friend a "hangup". Your kids knowing that their parents love each other and have private time together is not a bad thing at all, at least in my experience, and in my morals. Do you want your kids to bring your hangups forward into the future, or be comfortable with understanding that their parents are now and have been intimate?

This is a big question, and I am absolutely not imposing my morals on you. I just think that it is something worthy of you thinking about, since it is - according to you - negatively affecting your relationship.

I know the common response is "ick, ew, I don't want to know that." I think that is silly and juvenile. I have no idea what your response may be, all I'm saying is that you should think about the bases for your discomfort.

In summary, I personally doubt you can achieve what you want in the way you say you want it. Night sex, with you going to sleep afterwards. I think you both might benefit by rethinking your assumptions and your feelings about it.
posted by Invoke at 1:05 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

You could try meditation (or my half-assed version of it). Get into a comfortable sleeping position and focus on one word--I usually use a number because it doesn't have any connotations that would lead my mind to wander. I picture that number on a swing. I say the number in my head and breathe in, and the swing comes toward me. I exhale and the swing swings away. Over and over again, relatively slowly. This should be the only thing in your mind. When other thoughts try to sneak into the background, I just refocus and start again. When I can keep the number on the swing alone in my mind, it's 100% effective for me.
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 1:33 PM on May 12, 2012

Just to clarify, that's not something that I do every night. Only when I can't seem to slow my mind or my body down enough to get to sleep without it.
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 1:35 PM on May 12, 2012

I second the notion that there's nothing wrong with a kid knowing that mommy and daddy need special private alone time together/ need to go for a nap together/ however you put it. (Assuming they're old enough to safely be left alone for a bit). Your lovemaking, though private, isn't shameful... it's a beautiful, natural, and important part of a marriage. Don't you want your kids to grow up thinking that way?
posted by windykites at 8:47 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do your partner's sleeping habits also change after sex? Do they change in a way that makes it harder for you to sleep? For example, some combination of sleeping like the dead, snoring, and twining around you like a climbing vine while being extra sweaty? You might want to address this with him and see if he can consciously create a good sleep environment for you.
posted by aimedwander at 5:08 PM on May 13, 2012

« Older Help Me Find the Best Office Chair   |   It tastes like Spring in alcohol form! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.