Ask the Relationship Expert: 'Work Stress Is Impacting My Enjoyment in the Bedroom'
What happens when running a business gets in the way of your romantic relationship, or vice versa? In this new weekly column, relationship expert Marla N. Mattenson responds to entrepreneurs with love dilemmas -- because the hidden power of successful businesses are the stable, loving relationships behind the scenes.
My husband and I are both entrepreneurs with stressful businesses. Finding time for lovemaking feels next to impossible. When we finally do make time to be physical, it's difficult to manage my anxiety in the moment, and I find myself going through the motions instead of actually enjoying it. How can I leave stress behind in these situations?
First and foremost, you are not alone. Many entrepreneurs experience challenges around getting in the mood for love when work stress threatens to overwhelm. Keep in mind, managing anxiety and stress is part of the entrepreneur world. When it creeps into the bedroom it can be a phase you're just passing through in life, or may be something requiring professional help.
The first part of your solution is actually pretty simple. When both people in the relationship are entrepreneurs, it's essential to sync your calendars. That way, you both know the little pockets of time when you're each available, and you can send each other requests, "Hey can you block off this time for us to connect?" And then when you do connect, don't just jump into sex. I encourage you to open up and have a conversation about the anxiety with your husband. You can say, "I love you, and I want to be honest with you. I'm feeling anxious around our intimacy. Can we reminisce together about a magical moment from the past when we were close, relaxed and filled with joy? It would help me to remember that experience and bring those qualities to our sex life."
The other issue you brought up is anxiety. If you want to experience sexual intimacy where you're not feeling anxious, there are two keys: 1. non-sexual intimacy and 2. more sex. For anxious lovers, I recommend that you have "skin time," which is being naked together with no sex at all, no pressure. Skin time works best lying down in the bed spooning or holding each other. This is one of the best non-sexual intimacy practices that fills the well for each partner and the relationship, and it's essential for very busy entrepreneurs. We can get really myopic when we're focused on our businesses and forget that we even have a partner, so we have to make sure we're building in time to connect with them. Additional ideas for non-sexual intimacy include going for a walk while holding hands, sitting close on the couch, reading to each other or having a glass of wine together.
The second key is to have sex more often. Putting off sexual intimacy can exacerbate the anxiety, while having more sex will decrease it. Get back in the saddle and use the memory of that magical moment from the past with your partner as a way to feel the joy and connect to the pleasure in your body. Use your breath to release tension and let go.
Remember, sexual intimacy is one of the main components of a healthy relationship and it impacts your business in subtle ways. So, tending to the anxiety is fundamental for multiple areas in your life. Awareness of this issue reveals you are already well on your way to healing the anxiety and enjoying the depth of intimacy possible. So, sync your calendars, practice non-sexual intimacy and have more sex!