Sex and the Career Woman

August 23, 2005

Sex and the Career Woman

Many women, young and not so young, are struggling to keep up a successful sex life while heading up the career ladder. Not that you?ll hear many of them tell you this, mind you. It?s not particularly cool to say you?re too tired to get your gear off because your job is so demanding.

Recently I saw a young 24-year-old lawyer who, like many in that profession, was forced to work excessively long hours over a three month period – if you call 7am until midnight plus weekends excessive. Sex with her partner was near impossible to fit in, and when they did manage to connect, she just wanted to get it over with so she could get some sleep.

The funny thing was that this young woman didn?t think to blame her firm or boss for this lack of sexual interest. No, instead she felt she should have been up to it. After all, she was only 24 years of age, wasn?t she? Shouldn?t she have been able to work long hours and still be ready for some sexual gymnastics?

The lawyer is not alone. Women from all walks of life are trying to balance their emotional and sexual needs with longer working hours and greater pressure to climb the ladder. Some of the stress comes from their own ambitious goals to succeed. Some of it comes from anxious or resentful partners who feel as if they?ve become single again. And, let?s not forget the corporations which stupidly forget that working people to death does not bode well for a happy workplace.

Single women also have their difficulties, often feeling too tired to be bothered with dates or with meeting up socially with friends.

I?ve even heard of parents begging their daughters to throw in well-paid jobs in order to get back ?a life?. Job security, it seems, is not as important as having time to for relationships, fun and sex.

So, what can you do to make sure that career doesn?t take over from sex. Firstly, aim for quality, not quantity in terms of sexual activities. It?s better to have one enjoyable hour than several moments of snatched sexual release. Find a time when you?re least tired or stressed and put sex into that time-slot.

If you?re on your own, take time to express your sexuality through masturbation. Not only will this give you some nice moments in the middle of all that work stress, but it will also help to relax you.

If you?re in a relationship, talk to your partner about the best time for sex. I know this doesn?t sound too spontaneous (it isn?t), but it will give you both something to look forward to. Planning ahead of time also allows you to light some candles, put on some romantic music and set the scene in a way that will help you get into the mood.

Women in general need to take time to switch from work/housewife/mother mode to sex mode. Unfortunately, the switch from work to sex doesn?t happen naturally and requires effort. Here?s something that may help: try thinking about some passionate sexual memories two or three times during your working day (not while the boss is around, of course – it might be hard to explain your grin). Not only will this remind you of what you?re missing, but it will help to trigger your interest in sex again.

Most importantly, tell yourself that sex is an important part of your life and shouldn?t wait until you?ve reached that next promotion.

Dr Vivienne Cass
Clinical Psychologist and Sexual Therapist/Educator

To read more on sexual triggers see The Elusive Orgasm: A woman?s guide to why she can?t and how she can orgasm, by Dr Vivienne Cass (Brightfire Press). RRP $35 but only $31.50 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop

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