Anyone whose job follows them home at night will know how easily work can cannibalize every other area of your life. Errands? Try shameful, secret delivery everything. Friends? Only on the internet. Average recreational activities like reading and television-watching? In your dreams, provided you actually get to sleep and don't just spend that time racing to meet deadlines. Sex? Ha! Whether because 16-hour days leave us feeling too tired, too frustrated, or too stressed to consider having sex, bringing home work throws a wet blanket on bedroom fun. At least according to a new study by job search engine SimplyHired, which found that couples have 55 percent more sex when they leave the office at the office.
SimplyHired surveyed 1,014 people, hoping not only to pinpoint the industries most likely to work overtime, but also the toll those extra hours take on employees' romantic life. In their report, they examine a litany of disheartening trends, but here are the highlights: Nearly 87 percent of people in marketing and advertising bring home assignments, as do over 75 percent of educational professionals, and nearly three in four people who inhabit the arts, entertainment, and recreation space. That camp logged over eight extra hours each week, on average. Most people (nearly 66 percent) do this because they need to wrap up unfinished projects, the study found. Others do it to meet deadlines (51 percent) or employer expectations (28 percent). But regardless of the individual reason, almost everyone who engaged in after-hours work sacrificed something for it.
Nearly 49 percent of people gave up sleep, 45 percent gave up recreation, and 37 percent kissed goodbye some of the time they would have spent with a partner. Members of that last group, surprise surprise, was about 38 percent more likely to be dissatisfied with their sex life than the rest of participants. Notably, women were markedly more likely than men to entertain work-related tasks — completing assignments, checking emails, taking calls — at home.
Regardless of gender, though, partnered participants who never worked on their days off had sex 10.2 times per month, on average. Among those who sometimes caught up in their off hours, that figure sank to eight times. But people who always or often worked on their days off averaged 6.6 sex sessions per month. On top of that, people who brought work home also argued more: Over partner time prioritization, over the amount of venting they do about work, over checking work-related messages and taking work calls at home, and of course, over being too tired to have sex.
"There's nothing wrong with scheduling day or night to have sex with your partner if you have busy or conflicting schedules."
"Open communication is definitely the most important factor," Simply Hired project manager Corie Colliton tells Bustle. Communicate to your partner that your sapped sex drive stems from work, not anything the other person did or said. And because it can be hard to swallow any version of the old "it's not you, it's me" line, consider this extra step: "There's nothing wrong with scheduling day or night to have sex with your partner if you have busy or conflicting schedules," Colliton says. "I think that the best idea would be to try to limit bringing work home to only a couple of nights per week." Otherwise, your partner might feel ignored, neglected, or as if you were taking the relationship for granted.
Aside from scuttling our attempts at romance, though, overwork can have (and has had) deadly consequences: Stress not only takes a toll on your mental health, it harms your heart, while also encouraging unhealthy habits. And yet, it feels unavoidable when the universal assumption these days seems to be that most people will have a tiny, internet connected computer attached to their hands at all time. We're all too reachable, and that blurs the lines between professional and personal spheres. Women, especially, may need to work more jobs to make the same amount as men, or feel they need to put in the extra hours to make themselves seen and get ahead. This obligation is unfair on many levels, before we even factor in sex time. So how in the heck can we scale back our professional homework? According to Colliton, the answer might not lie in elevated at-work productivity. (Ever met the boss who piles on with every outrageous deadline miraculously met?)
"Clearly working more at work might not help, as over 75 percent of people who work more than 40 hours per week are still bringing work home," she says. "Think about if it's truly worth bringing your work home. Can you go to work early and get it done then? Can you work through lunch? If it can wait until tomorrow, don't bring it home to work on." Put down the smartphone and focus your attention on your partner. Or your cat, or your own dang self.