It’s hard to feel sexy and sensual after a long day of work.
Whether it is the commute back from the office or a day filled with Teams calls and the constant chatter of some of your more annoying colleagues, getting out of work mode and into a more sensual or erotic headspace with your partners at the end of the day is hard. The same applies to partners who run the house and carry the weight of domestic labour and maintaining household stability too– often the women of the families or units.
To add to this, women are often expected to be open to ‘giving sex’ or ‘giving pleasure’ to the man of the house as an almost subservient and meek token of gratitude for being the household breadwinner. All this pressure… while simultaneously being told that your work around the house is not real work. Who’s going to feel sexy and energised when your efforts are overlooked and your behaviour in bed is policed and regulated almost daily?
A few days ago, I spoke to a friend of mine who recently married her long-term boyfriend and she told me how she was always too tired to even think about sex. She tried supplements and working out regularly, but it always felt like there was a mental block she couldn’t get past. And it just made her feel awful all the time. It really broke my heart to see how sad she was, but as the night progressed we finally found some solutions for low libido too.
A mismatch in the split-up of household labour and responsibilities does not always equate to disrespect, neglect or toxicity in the relationship.
Sometimes you have more mental energy for certain tasks or have more life experience with those errands, or have a better system in place for that chore. Maybe your partner is chronically ill or depressed or disabled, which would also make an even 50/50 split of duties an unrealistic expectation to have. So, the first step of solving this issue is not necessarily to reassign tasks and aim for an even split. The first step is empathising with the gap both of you may feel.
Your partner can offer you empathy for your exhaustion and struggles with your libido and you can offer them empathy for feeling sexually disconnected from you and wanting more intimate time.
Empathy doesn’t mean immediately forcing yourself to change for your partner’s needs. It just means bringing some warmth and kindness to the conversion where these subjects come up. Remember that these gaps can often lead to resentment when unaddressed for too long. Just as one of you may feel disrespected or unseen in their labour and vigilance to keep the house from falling apart, the other may feel alone, unloved or worry about not being attractive in your eyes anymore.
Communicate with your partner about how you feel and what you would like to change in your house. This conversation should also include What is does it mean to share responsibilities? This part can be tricky as a lot of times male partners feel they are sharing responsibilities by paying the bills or making fixes around the house or weekly grocery shopping trips. These are all valid forms of shared responsibilities but bills are paid once a month, shopping may happen only once a week and bulbs don’t need replacing everyday. But things like cooking, cleaning, planning the meals etc happen everyday regardless of holidays.
Make a list of chores and errands that are handled on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Your partner can handle some of them over the weekends and buy you a bit of time to sit down. Tiny gestures like picking up your own dishes or serving yourself some food and not waiting for your partner to set the table before meals or clean up when done, can also do wonders to someone’s sexual mood and general spirit.
Start slow start small
A lot of women still believe that if they ask their partners to share responsibilities, they are asking for “Help” and that would not be a fair partnership. This notion will take time to undo, as well as to develop a proper system and boundaries. My friend’s partner now makes morning tea and breakfast for the family and washes the dishes from the night before. He’s an early bird and finds washing utensils fun, so this worked for both of them. This allowed my friend to have a slower start to her mornings, they even started using white boards to track groceries in their fridge and pantry, and both parties updated it to make grocery trips easier.
This is a small change they incorporated into their life and it had a positive impact on them. These changes helped my friend find the space to think about her own needs and cravings with intimacy and now, she is not constantly tired. How do you share household duties and labour with your partners? What chores does it turn you on to watch your partner around the house?