Sex at night isn’t everyone’s jam, but nighttime nooky does have some perks.
To help us break down the merits of sex at night, we reached out to certified sex therapist and cognitive neuroscientist Nan Wise, PhD, the author of “Why Good Sex Matters: Understanding the Neuroscience of Pleasure for a Smarter, Happier, and More Purpose-Filled Life.”Real quick: What do we mean by ‘sex’?
We mean any intimate activity that brings sexual pleasure.
The definition of sex varies wildly, despite the incomplete definition many of us have gotten from subpar sex ed in school and continue to get from researchers.
Sex is often defined as penis-in-vagina sex or penis-in-anus sex, with oral sex and rimming thrown in occasionally. While these certainly can qualify as sex, so can dozens — hundreds even! — of other activities, like kissing and cuddling, outercourse, masturbation, etc.Why is nighttime sex often seen as the default?
According to research from 2018, it mostly comes down to partner availability and convenience. Blame it on the 9 to 5 grind that a lot of the world lives by.
Business or school can take up a lot of the day, and family life, chores, and extracurricular activities of the not-so-sexy variety typically happen in the evenings.
For a lot of people, sex at night might feel like the best or only option if they want to get down before they start the grind all over again.Are there benefits to having sex at night?
Absolutely, though as Wise explains, sexual activity at any time of the day or night can have big benefits to your physical, emotional, and relational well-being.
Regardless of how you’re feeling come nightfall, getting busy might just be the key to helping you unwind and connect with your partner(s) — or yourself — after a busy day.
“One of the benefits of sex at night is that it can be a deeply relaxing and bonding experience for couples,” Wise says.
“My research has shown that mood-enhancing and health-promoting hormones and neuropeptides released during sexual activity could contribute to de-stressing and relaxing at the end of a hectic day.”
Another lovely thing about nighttime sex, according to Wise, is that you don’t have to get up and function afterwards. You can roll over and go to sleep or just relax. That’s a win-win in our book!Are there drawbacks to consider?
Yep, but none that should stop you from having sex at night.
Being tired, which is pretty much par for the course for anyone who works daytime hours, is a typical downside to nighttime nookie.
Low levels of energy and hormones — which we’ll get to in a sec — could make it hard to get in the mood for late-night loving. Wise adds that people’s energy levels may not be as high at night.Overall, how does it compare to morning or afternoon sex?
Any time is a good time for sex, but romps at other times of the day may be better — at least on a physiological level.
Testosterone drives our sex drive, regardless of gender. (Yes, everyone has testosterone, and it’s an integral part of all libidos.)
With levels not as high at night, Wise explains, you might find it difficult or take longer to get access to your desire.If you aren’t doing it already, how can you get started?
The key to sexing before slumber is flexibility. We’re not talking about being bendy — though that can certainly make things fun. This goes back to expanding your definition of sex.
“By thinking more flexibly about what we mean by sex and how we can have sex, we can find our way to an expanded repertoire of sexual delights that can be implemented morning, noon, or night,” Wise says.
And, if being tired is an obstacle when it comes to sex at night, Wise recommends reconsidering how energetic you actually need to be during sex.
“It doesn’t have to be strenuous and rigorous athletic sex where the furniture goes flying,” Wise explains. “It could be gentle touch and soulful connection.”Solo practice
A nighttime pleasure fest for one is doable, even after you’ve had a helluva day. Here’s how to get started:
- Kill any distractions. If you don’t live alone, lock the door to eliminate the worry of being walked-in on. And turn off your phone or device unless you’re using it for some sexy inspo — like porn, sexting, or nudes of your boo.
- Get in the mood. Try some deep breathing to clear your head and get in the zone for pleasure.
- Try a one-handed read. If you like to read before bed, erotica books can get those juices flowing. If you’d rather keep both hands free, try some audio erotica.
- Keep sexcessories on hand. Make it easier to get your rub on by having lube, toys, and any other pleasure-enhancing goodies within easy reach.
- Get a toy that does all the work. Toys, like remote-controlled vibes or vibrating penis sleeves and strokers, can make masturbation easy.
- Have a dry hump. Take solo bedtime play to another level by dry humping a pillow. Slip a vibe between you and the pillow to kick things up a notch.
- Keep it snappy sometimes. Remember that you don’t need to luxuriate in a long sesh to reap the benefits of night sex. A quickie can do wonders for your mood and sleep, too.
Switching off from the grind will help you get into the *other* kind of grind.
Wise suggests dedicating a transition time during the evening that’s not going to be hijacked by social media, the Internet, or other activities. This will make it easier to be present with your bodies and each other.
She also recommends creating a fun evening ritual to help you connect and shift gears after your day.
Some more tips that can help with sex after sundown:
- Put sex nights on the calendar. Schedule sex if you’re having trouble connecting because of hectic or mismatched schedules.
- Build the anticipation. Being flirty and exchanging touches, kisses, and suggestive texts throughout the day can help get you both geared up for your nighttime playdate.
- Head to the bedroom early. Turn off Netflix and head to the bedroom a little earlier than you normally do, so you’re not already dozing off by the time you hit the sheets.
- Try a different locale. Take your sex on the road or at least somewhere other than the bedroom to perk up and resist the urge for sleep over sex. (Think: couch, shower, or even out to the car.)
- Try lower-fuss sex activities. Mutual masturbation, erogenous play, and naked smooching are perfect (and efficient) for slower nights.
- Change positions if pain is an obstacle. If you live with a health condition or disability that leaves you in pain at the end of the day, experiment with more comfortable sex positions.
- Help a quickie along with toys for couples. If you’re both only up for a quickie, toys with partner play in mind can help get you both off faster.
- Keep sexccessories on hand. Keep lube, barriers, toys, and other sexy props within reach, so you don’t waste time fumbling about for them.
- Be prepared for post-sex cleanup. If cleaning up after sex is enough to make you wanna skip sex all together, use wipes. Body wipes and sex toy wipes make post-sex cleanup hella easy, so you can drift off sooner and enjoy the afterglow.
Sex at night has its perks, but don’t get so hung up on timing that you miss out on other opportunities to connect with your partner(s) or yourself.
Mixing it up with some middle-of-the-night lovin’ or a pre-breakfast canoodle can keep things fresh and exciting. And expanding your definition of sex to include different types of pleasure will make it easier to have sex no matter your schedule.References & Credits
Written by Adrienne Santos-Longhurst on August 5, 2021
Jocz P, et al. (2018). Similarity in chronotype and preferred time for sex and its role in relationship quality and sexual satisfaction.
Wise N. (2021). Personal interview.
Wise NJ, et al. (2017). Brain activity unique to orgasm in women: An fMRI analysis.