Do It Better

Why Some People Prefer Morning Sex

| 01/03/2020

morning sex Illustration by Emma Olswing

To say I’m a morning person would be an understatement. When the sun has just risen (or is about to rise),  my suburban neighborhood is totally quiet. I have the most energy for everything in the morning—writing, exercise, housecleaning, and, most importantly, sex. My morning sex fixation is so strong that my boyfriend jokes that my vagina shuts down after nine at night—and he’s not wrong.

In my twenties and thirties, most of the sex I had took place at night, after dates where I’d spent hours flirting or seeing a comedy show or having dinner. Sex was part of the magic of the night, an activity to look forward to all day long. Now that I’m in my forties, I look forward to nights spent in sweatpants on my couch watching Jeopardy! With very rare exceptions, I’m almost never randomly horny at night, but in the morning: Watch out!

Logan Levkoff, PhD, a sexologist and sexuality educator, confirmed that my preference for morning sex is totally normal. She told me, “Our moods, perspectives, and mental health are impacted by light and climate” (think seasonal affective disorder), so it makes sense that in my case, I’m more in the mood when the sun is streaming through the blinds than when it’s dark out. I wake up most days between five and six a.m., so by the time the evening rolls around, the last thing I want to do is roll around in bed. Or rather, I may want to—in the way that I may want to to know how to apply the perfect smoky eye makeup—but I don’t have the energy or interest in doing it in real life.

“Nighttime dreaming, erections, and arousal can certainly lead to a desire to have morning sex.”

Levkoff noted that for many people, “nighttime dreaming, erections, and arousal can certainly lead to a desire to have morning sex.” She also said that it’s not a relationship death knell just because I want morning sex and my partner would like to get it on during other parts of the day—and night. “Mismatched timing is a real thing,” said Levkoff.

My boyfriend, for instance, is up for sex almost any time. He doesn’t pressure me about it, but I know he’d prefer our sex window to last longer than a few hours. Even though we’re the same age, he has more energy than I do at the end of the day, and can shut his work brain off more easily than I can. My libido tends to take a backseat to those nagging tasks on my to-do list. I’m not ignoring my own amorous urges to meet deadlines; I simply am not in the mood any time other than mornings. The only exceptions are some days around five or six at night, when I’ll get a second wind, and we make a beeline for the bedroom before dinner.

Levkoff’s advice for me and anyone in the same boat is that it’s all about compromise, which she calls “the best option for partners who have different sexual body clocks.” In other words, I should go for the morning sex—but I should also be willing to make an effort at night, too, even if I’m not at my peak self.

I used to feel bad about preferring morning sex, but now I embrace it and have tried to make it work for both of us. Sometimes this means I wake him up half an hour early and we enjoy a quickie before getting ready for work. I try not to schedule our weekend mornings so we can laze in bed naked after breakfast. I’m more open to experimenting when I’m feeling more refreshed, whereas at night, while I can get into it a little bit once we get started, I prefer to stick to more basic sex acts than anything out of the ordinary.

For anyone who’s more of a night owl but is perhaps partnered with someone who sees sunrise as a sexual cue to start banging, there’s hope for you, too. “If someone isn’t a morning person, try to think about why you feel less amorous in the morning,” suggested Levkoff. “If it’s because you have a big to-do list, try to get it done the night before so that it isn’t hanging over your head. Or you could set the alarm earlier, too.”

Taking that advice to heart, I plan to be more organized about my work life so in the evenings I can focus on fun, and to schedule naps on the weekends so that afterwards, I can recreate my fondness for morning sex, just a few hours later. I may never get back to my more youthful around-the-clock sex romps, and I stand by my love of morning sex. But I can mix things up once in a while.

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