When Work Makes Sex More Work

When Work Makes Sex More Work


When it comes to a person’s sex life, I find it important not just to look at sexual functioning but to zoom out and look at how sex fits into the conceptualization of who a person is and what their personality is like. Sex can be a space that’s both a departure from typical personality and also an expression of it. This comes up in various ways and in various challenges. An example would be someone who is frustrated that spontaneous sex isn’t happening in their relationship, but they aren’t a spontaneous person in general and in any other area of life. At the same time, there are people who are not particularly adventurous in general, but are adventurous when it comes to their lives.

I often explore with people the questions of, who are you during the day in your professional realm—what are the traits that make you successful at that—and how does that translate into your sex life. Sometimes, what makes you successful at your job can have the opposite effect on your sex life. Let’s say you have a job that demands being highly analytic, goal-oriented, and meticulous. When we apply those to sex, being analytic can make it difficult to be present and experience pleasure, and may even mean analyzing what’s going on instead of actively being in it. Being goal-oriented can be great, but that can get frustrating if the orgasm doesn’t happen for you or your partner. Being meticulous might be a challenge in that sex is inherently imperfect; there are numerous details involved and it means being able just go with the flow.

An added layer to this is what’s currently going on living in a pandemic. At this point, even if people aren’t quarantined, they are mostly home. The line between work and home is basically non-existent, and while that line has become blurred over the years as working remotely is expected of many, for many people now their working hours are their waking hours. There’s no commute to decompress, no changing out of work clothes to get more comfortable. These transitions are not just literal but emotional and figurative as well. Now people’s minds are in work mode all the time. And it’s no wonder then that for some, their sex lives are even more strained, and this is on top of all the other stresses that come with a pandemic.

I don’t like to dispense very specific advice here because what may work for you may be unhelpful or even catastrophic for someone else. But whether you have a partner or not, a robust sex life or not, it’s helpful to explore what your roles are during the day and how that translates into relationship and sex. The traits that make you successful—where does it help, where does it hurt. The more clarity you have about yourself and your ability to switch gears, the more awareness you have about the hurdles you face in the different domains of your life.