ARE you one of a growing army of women who are almost too busy and tired for any fun, relationship or sex? Have you and your partner become TINS – Two Incomes but No Sex – constantly focussing on work, kids and friends that by the end of the day all you want to do when you go to bed is sleep?

Apparently, half the nation is in the same loveless boat. Behind closed doors all over the country; we kiss and say goodnight and look forward to getting as many hours’ sleep as we can.

But experts are warning us that by not making our relationships or sex lives into a priority we’re potentially damaging our chance of a happy lasting family life.

They have even discovered that women in the 1950s had more time for a bit of passion than we do! So where are we going wrong and how can we get the balance right?

Relationship psychologist Linda Blair says we have to stop doing and start ‘being’.

“What I mean by that is that people just rush around all the time doing things instead of just being with and enjoying one another. The relationship with our loved ones is where our greatest happiness comes from. We’re so pressured to buy things all the time in our society that too many people think that these ‘things’ will make them happy. But they’re missing the point. Working long hours just to buy more things is never going to make you happy. Look at what you need to get by and settle with that.

“I would like to see more people down-sizing and sharing working hours and childcare if you have kids. Parents will get more satisfaction from simply being with their family; and listening to them.”

And she reckons women get the hardest time of all trying to be “everything to everyone”.

“Women expect too much of themselves,” she says. “They’re working, looking after kids, making the tea, tidying the house, doing the shopping etc and very often leave little time for themselves or their partners by spreading themselves too thin.

“It’s no wonder women are too tired for relationships; let alone sex. But it’s important to keep that special relationship special. And even if you are too tired for sex; you can still pleasure your partner by touching, talking, holding. These things are just as intimate.”

Things like scheduling romantic get-aways, planning activities together – or even simply turning off the TV and tuning in to each other – can all help put the excitement back into a sexual relationship.

You’ve got to work out what works for you – before it’s too late because according to Holly Hollenbeck, author of Sex Lives of Wives, if we let the situation continue, we will damage one of the most important relationships we have in our lives – the one with our mate.

“Sometimes we do not exercise or eat right, let alone make sure we have a healthy dose of sexual interaction. We often are so busy with everything that our sexuality takes a backseat.

“We need to think about all the effort we devote to our children, our careers, and/or our communities, and then look at how much time we actually give to our sexual relationship. Often there is no comparison. Our sexual relationship is way, way down the list of priorities.

“Giving our sexual relationship such a low priority is really hurting us, much more than we care to admit. We are hurt because the intimacy we crave with our mate is lost. We are hurt because our innate sexual needs are being ignored. We are hurt because we are missing out on a lot of “that feels great” in our lives.

“We can work ourselves like machines, taking care of everyone and everything until we drop at night, then getting up and doing it again the next day. Or we can start paying a little attention to those inner desires again and start feeding them. The rewards will be huge. Those days of looking forward to intimate time alone with our mate will return, and sex will no longer be a chore. Our relationship can only improve when we start putting a little time and effort into seeking passionate encounters.”

And once we’ve got our relationship back on track, it’s time to look at the whole picture. And there’s no time like the present.

Linda Blair’s book Straight Talking, is published by Piatkus

Make little changes

  1. Go to counselling. Many couples seek advice when it’s too late; they see it as a last resort. When there’s something that you consistently argue about and never seem to find a way to resolve it, that’s the time to go. Log onto to www.relate.org.uk for counsellors in your area.
  2. Pull in some help. If you have kids and you never seem to have any time together; call in the support network to babysit. Going out for dinner and the cinema could be just what you both need. Even if grandparents aren’t available; friends can help out.
  3. Clear space in your diary. Make time to spend with your partner; even if it’s a couple of weeks’ away and stick to it. That way, there’s a better chance of it happening.
  4. Exercise together. Again, if you have kids, you’ll need the network; but if you can take a class together, learn yoga or go for a jog. Do something you’ll both find enjoyable.