My husband and I are entrepreneurs, developing a new product. We’re both working long hours. He’s miserable because he has no time for his art (painting), and our sex life is in shambles. There isn’t a lot of blame or anger. We simply go about our entire days with little or no flirting and fall into bed completely exhausted at night. Even if we crave sex, we’re too tired. We kiss goodnight and promise it’ll be different tomorrow or on the weekend, but it never is, and I see no reason to believe things will change. We used to race home from work to have wild sex and then do silly things together in the evenings. People always called us “the sensual couple” because we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. How can we get the zing back?
Eighty percent of sex is just showing up. (The other 20 percent is remaining conscious while you’re having it.)
Of course, you’d need to leave work at a reasonable hour to make your role-play in bed more dirty doctor/naughty nurse than adjacent coma patients. I know, that’s not what it says you’re supposed to do on your printout of the Puritan work ethic. Former Harvard psychology professor Shawn Achor writes in The Happiness Advantage that we’re taught that we have to sacrifice happiness for success and told that only when we’re successful will we be happy. Achor counters that happiness isn’t something that falls in your lap when you attain some level of accomplishment; it’s “a work ethic.” He cites a decade of research suggesting that happiness “raises nearly every business and educational outcome, raising sales by 37 percent, productivity by 31 percent, and accuracy on tasks by 19 percent, as well as (leading to myriad) health and quality of life improvements.”
Remember, people called you “the sensual couple” because you couldn’t keep your hands off each other, not because you couldn’t take your eyes off the clock. Ditching the clock for at least some of the day is essential. It’s activities that make you lose track of time that make you happy — activities like sex (and painting) that also make you forget yourself and that package your husband neglected to bring to the post office. To put this in entrepreneurial terms, you need to re-launch your sex life and take it as seriously as you would a business launch. Look at sex as a mandatory meeting you need to have naked. And as unromantic as this sounds, you need to put “flirt with husband” on your daily schedule until it becomes a habit again. Implied in that is “be fun!” Be silly like you used to. Make an effort to leave work well before the cows not only come home but start watching “Seinfeld” reruns. And replace any motivational posters decorating your office with ones that reflect your newfound knowledge of trickle-down happy-nomics, for example.