Simplicity and Sex

by G. Corey Carlisle, MDiv, LMFT, CST

There’s just not enough time in the day. By the time we try to complete everything we need to do, we crawl into bed exhausted, with nothing but sleep on our minds. We wake up the next morning to start the daily grind all over again.  We’re so busy, there’s just not enough time in the day for sex.

Busyness has a way of creeping up on us, and we often have to resist the seductive pull into doing just one more thing. Is this merely a busy season of life, or have we let busyness become our way of life? Are we freely sacrificing our time as a gift for others? Or, has busyness become our means to feel needed and be seen as important by those around us? What are the hidden motivations of our busyness? If we are not careful, our tendency to over-schedule can rob us of the very life and joy we try so hard to secure. And for many couples, busyness deprives them of a fulfilling sex life.

A natural assumption is we need to be better time managers, and figure out how to fit everything into our day. If it is not scheduled, it doesn’t happen, the thinking goes. Therefore, scheduling sex is one solution to a busy lifestyle. 

Scheduling sex can be a good solution when it is an attempt to set boundaries and protect the sacredness of couple time. On the other hand, scheduling can run the risk of allowing sex to become just another item on our to-do list. This might increase frequency, but not necessarily the quality of sex. It takes time and space to cultivate a quality sex life, and this rarely works on a set schedule. 

A better practice might be the spiritual discipline of simplicity. Instead of trying to figure out how to fit sex into an already busy lifestyle, the key is to discern what needs to be let go of in order to live a simpler lifestyle. Television and social media are easy culprits to identify, but many otherwise good tasks might also need to be surrendered. For instance, have we over-scheduled our children’s activities, church commitments, social plans, and the like? Consider what you could release in order to discover a simpler rhythm of life. This would be its own reward, and would also allow for a more satisfying and nourishing sex life.

Simplifying our lives gives us the freedom to slow down and focus our energy on priorities that mean the most. As a result, we can then be more present with each other and more open to the deep beauty in our sexual lives. Simplicity provides the space needed for our sexual life to breathe and truly flourish. 

Ironically, the practice of simplicity is not an easy task; it is rightly considered a “discipline.” It requires a change in our heart’s attitudes, turning away from our addiction to busyness, and learning to use the time we have more wisely (Ephesians 5:15-16). This calls for much more than ambitiously trying to figure out a magic formula to fit everything into our calendars.

Let us remember Christ’s invitation of rest (Matthew 11:28) the next time we catch ourselves thinking or talking about being “busy.” And may God give us the wisdom, the strength, and the courage to nurture the most important things in life and live those things with simplicity.