This Is the Worst Time of Day to Have Sex

Updated: Sep. 05, 2023

Uh oh—it also happens to be the most popular time.

If you feel like you and your partner have fallen into a rut with your sex life, your timing might be to blame. While we’d never tell you not to get busy if you’re both in the mood, there’s compelling evidence that you might want to rethink your sex schedule. The most popular time for love-making also happens to be the worst time to get busy.

It’s all about libido timing

A 2018 study in Frontiers in Psychology found that the timing of men’s and women’s libidos are at polar opposites: Women feel the most desire in the evening, while men are most aroused in the morning. And while that’s good news for same-sex couples, it does pose an issue for straight partners. Not surprisingly, the study found that the average couple is most likely to have sex between 9 p.m. and midnight. However, the right time for fun time is malleable, say the researchers: The study revealed that sexually satisfied couples are more in sync with their preferred time to have sex. (Learn how to avoid these other 10 obstacles getting in the way of a healthy sex life.)

While having a romp while you’re already between the sheets is undeniably convenient, there is a downside to saving sex for lights-out time, says “The Sleep Doctor” Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Power of When. “Sex at bedtime is not bad; it’s just that most people are exhausted,” he says. When your body is begging for shut-eye, there’s a good chance you won’t have the energy for the most mind-blowing encounter,” he says.

Depending on the person, nighttime sex can also rev you up, making you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed right before trying to sleep, adds Lisa Thomas, a licensed relationship, and sex therapist. Though you could be one of the lucky ones, she says: “For the majority of people, sex is a tension reducer and relaxer,” she says. “People have sex before sleep to help them fall asleep.” (Find out what happens to your body when you stop having sex.)

The best time to have sex is when you can relax post-romp

Both Dr. Breus and Thomas agree that sleeping together after you’re done—actually sleeping— could make for better quality sex. While you’re resting at night, your body is at work building up hormones, and you’ll also wake up with more energy and creativity for satisfying sex, Dr. Breus explains. “You now have a prescription for morning sex,” he says. 

Morning sex might not be ideal for couples with early or mismatched schedules, so Thomas recommends getting creative with sex timing. Try meeting at home for some mid-afternoon frisky time, or get busy when you’d normally be watching Netflix. “Any way couples can figure out how to make it fun and be in connection is great,” she says. “Couples that use sex to unwind and connect and reduce stress and tension are the ones who have sex over their lifetime.” Next, check out the things sex therapists wish you knew.