QUESTION: My partner is a musician and works irregular hours.
Now my children are at university, he tends to come to bed long after midnight and that is when he wants to make love - the last thing I need when I’m trying to sleep after a long day in the office.
I feel sexy when I wake up, around 6am, but he doesn’t get up until 10am at the earliest. This may sound trivial, but it’s driving a wedge between us.
ANSWER: I don’t think incompatible sleeping habits are the least bit trivial; they play havoc with many couples’ love lives.
Most of us have a favourite time of day for passion and some people’s preferred hours are downright unsociable.
Your chap is a case in point - I’m not sure many middle-aged lovers feel too raunchy around 2am and it’s unreasonable to expect you to respond to his advances after a hard day’s work.
Having said that, I can tell you - as a confirmed night owl myself - that 6am is the least amorous hour of the day to those of us who burn the midnight oil. Almost any 40-something in a settled relationship values sleep pretty much as highly as they do sex, so you have to strike a balance.
As much as anything else, your letter raises important questions about intimacy.
Good sex results from two people being in tune with one another and feeling uninhibited about sharing physical space and caresses.
But it’s hard to maintain such fine-tuning if you never turn in at the same time. If separate bedtimes harden into habit, it can begin to feel as if permission to embrace has been tacitly withdrawn.
Finding a good moment to make love can seem like an ever more arduous task.
This is the place you and your man have arrived at. You both need to make an effort to align your body clocks better. Would it prove so hard to make a pact you’ll go to bed together, at the same hour, at least twice a week?
You should make it clear that shared bedtimes are not about obligatory lovemaking; they are about intimacy.
Sometimes that will lead to physical passion and sometimes not, but it keeps the window of opportunity open.
You should also explore other times of the day to make love. You seem to have limited your sexual repertoire to the hours of darkness, but it could well be that a teatime tryst (at weekends), or early evening, would better suit you - your man would be wide awake and you wouldn’t feel too exhausted. - Daily Mail