Category Archives: Sex

Snoring, Sex & Separate Bedrooms

One of the hottest topics I’ve addressed lately is sexless marriage – couples who for a variety of reasons rarely have sex, or have stopped having sex at all.

There are complex reasons this happens. But right now I’m going to address one of the less complex ones.


It’s something some of us chuckle or complain about, or reference in an obscure way – especially if it’s the woman who snores. I actually know one couple who calls it night-giggling, since the term snoring sounds so unfeminine! But in all seriousness, a snoring partner can make peaceful slumber a faint memory. And night after night of missed sleep can wreak havoc in our daytimes.

The danger, as with all relationship issues, comes with ignoring it. If we don’t discuss something when it is simple – “Honey, your snoring is keeping me awake” – then it gradually becomes more complicated. When it’s not discussed, it doesn’t get addressed, and when it doesn’t get addressed, resentment builds. While snoring may not be the ultimate reason a couple splits up, I’ve known marriages that were shaken by ignoring the impact of this common issue.

Sleep, snoring and sex

We all know quality sleep time is important. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get quality sleep. Let’s be honest – many of us don’t get enough sleep of any sort, quality or otherwise! The National Sleep Foundation’s latest study reports that only 3 in 10 people report feeling well-rested after a night’s rest. Do the math and that means 70% of us don’t feel well-rested!

Is snoring a part of the problem? Absolutely it is. In fact, one study reported at least 67% of respondents said their partner snores. Among snorers, more than half said their snoring disturbs their partner’s sleep. And 31% of those surveyed said the snoring drives the other partner to sleep in a separate bedroom or to use earplugs. Snoring may even increase your partner’s blood pressure.

But what about the connection to sex? Most of us don’t need research to answer this, but it’s good to know: a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that, after controlling for factors such as smoking, weight, and other medical issues:

  • Men who snore a lot report less sexual satisfaction.
  • Men classified as heavy snorers were two times more likely to report low sexual satisfaction, compared to those who snore less.

And this is not just a male issue. I know plenty of couples where it is the wife who is the snorer.

The challenge: Don’t let snoring come between you

Now I know snoring can be a serious medical issue for some individuals. If you have a diagnosis of sleep apnea or another serious sleep disorder, it can actually be life-threatening, so take whatever steps you need to keep yourself safe.

But for most of us, dealing with snoring is a quality of life issue, not a health risk. Healthy couples use their beds for two things: sleep and sex. Don’t let snoring mess this up. I guarantee sleeping in separate bedrooms on a regular basis will affect your sex life. I’ve seen it happen time and again – an occasional slipping out to the other room becomes a regular habit, and before you know it, the sexual connection is gone.

Here are a few ways to handle snoring, as suggested by WebMD:

  • Change your sleep position. Use a wedge or body pillow to help you sleep on your side rather than your back. Some people even tape tennis balls to the back of their pajamas so they don’t roll over on their backs!
  • Address poor night-time habits. Working late and drinking too much alcohol before bedtime can degrade what doctors call your “sleep hygiene.”
  • Open your nasal passages. The more open they are, the more air you get, the less you snore. Take a hot shower before bed, or use a neti pot to clear your sinuses, or try nasal strips.
  • Reduce dust in your bedroom. Allergens and dust mites in your pillow can stuff up your nose at night, so throw your pillows in the dryer on the fluff cycle every couple of weeks. And when’s the last time you dusted that ceiling fan?
  • Get a sleep check-up. Talk to your doctor about your snoring. It could be that a CPAP device or other sleeping aid could completely resolve the problem.

And besides good sex, here’s another reason to stay in bed together: Women, you can save your man’s life! Studies have shown that men being treated for sleep apnea get better results from their treatment when their wives stay in bed with them.

Don’t get torpedoed

As with other marriage challenges, the real risk from the sleep-snoring-sex issue is whether it generates tension and resentment in your relationship. You have a choice: Talk about it now or try to clean it up later. Don’t be one of the couples that drifts along until something relatively simple such as snoring torpedoes your intimacy. We can help you discuss it in a healthy way, as well as point you to medical resources if needed.

Call us or schedule an appointment

(972) 441-4432 or Send us a text at (214) 431-5764

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Differences in Sexual Desire

For marriages in crisis, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every situation is unique, because every couple and every person is unique. That’s why our work at The Marriage Place is highly customized, designed to help every husband and wife address their issues in a way that suits their unique relationship.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t answers.

In fact, there are specific answers, in the form of helpful practices and perspectives that can be applied in any marriage. These practices and perspectives make things better, period. You can think of them as healthy habits of living life together, because when they’re in place everything stays in good working order, humming right along. When they’re not, deterioration and corrosion and rot set in – basically, everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

There is one habit that can change the entire situation for you. Ellyn Bader from The Couples Institute uses the phrase “get curious, not furious.” When something is off-kilter in your marriage, partners use this habit as a way of exploring what’s behind the imbalance. Rather than critiquing or manipulating or simply getting mad, you honestly explore what you both need and why. Removing the hostility and blame creates a breeding ground for transparency and more sex.

Sex gets wonky sometimes

There are many reasons sex gets out of whack in our marriages. Sex involves so many conflicting dynamics, such as our feelings about our bodies, and the stresses we’re under at work, and the differences between what men want versus women, and our jacked-up expectations from what we see in TV and the movies. All of this and more affects how sex functions in our lives.

For example, take the matter of frequency. If you’ve been married a few years, what’s the “right” amount of sex? Are you getting enough? Too much? Does one of you want it more than the other? Researchers say that the happiest couples report having sex once a week. (Which is probably why so many of the couples we work with at The Marriage Place aren’t having sex anywhere close to that frequency.)

As another example, consider the basic differences between men and women. As I’ve referenced in other blogs, a study by Rosemary Basson, MB, FRCP showed that men have a spontaneous desire for sex, and women have a more responsive desire. A woman’s desire is usually in response to her partner’s sexual desire rather than a spontaneous ignition of her own libido. Men are generally ready to put the pedal to the metal, while women take a few laps to get up to full speed

And one more aspect to consider: Sex is simply a fragile thing in the first place. It’s touchy – pun intended – because it’s designed to be one of the most intimate, meaningful interactions we participate in as human beings yet it isn’t easy to negotiate in terms of how, when, where and even why.

So, if you’re like the majority of couples, over the course of your marriage, sex gets wonky at some point.

What do you do? Get curious, not furious

When expectations aren’t met, it’s easy to start the blame game. But there is another way! Like I said, there are answers! Instead of accusing and blaming, instead of getting angry and yelling, we can help you approach the issue of sex with an honest exploration that for most couples will deliver results in the bedroom and more intimacy over all.

Let me walk through one way of doing it. I’m adopting the perspective of the spouse who wants more sex because that’s the one who has to start the conversation, BUT that doesn’t mean they’re responsible for the fix by themselves. It’s just the starting point in the process for most couples.

1. First, get your head ready.

    Think through what you want. What is the best way to present it to your spouse? You must be willing to ask, “How am I making it hard for you to give me what I need?

2. Then, speak up.

    Be willing to come to the table from a place of vulnerability. Be open. There might be a valid reason your spouse doesn’t want sex. At the same time, they need to understand that no one wants to beg for it. Be clear about how that affects you.

3. During the conversation, manage your reactions.

    No matter how your spouse reacts to you, it’s important to let them have their thoughts and feelings, and you have yours. You need to take what they say seriously, but you don’t have to take it personally. This is differentiation, and it’s a healthy thing.

4. Finally, if your spouse isn’t listening, you must get their attention.

    • If this is a serious issue to you, your spouse needs to know it’s not going to go away. You must seek counseling, whether together or individually. You may even need to

consider a step that I call “putting the marriage on hold.” This isn’t walking out or initiating divorce, but it is changing your life rhythms in a serious way, such as moving into another bedroom in your house. A counselor can help you figure out how to clearly communicate “this is a big deal to me.”

Many couples – dare I say most – need help from a professional to keep this process healthy and positive. The Marriage Place can give you a safe way to talk things through. Whether the issue is sex or something else, our counselors and coaches know how to guide you.

Call us or schedule an appointment

(972) 441-4432 or Send us a text at (214) 431-5764

Learn More