For many people, stress can spoil a healthy sex life. But remember: studies show that the body's response to touching and being touched can actually decrease stress and improve mood. That being said, work, kids, and family obligations can often leave little time or energy for sex. What's the solution?
First, make sex a priority. Research shows that couples who have successful and lasting relationships have a ratio of positive to negative interactions that is 5:1 or greater. A healthy sex life has the power to put positive interactions into your emotional bank account that can serve as a buffer when stress leads to negative interactions in your relationship. Schedule a weekly date night. It may seem unromantic to schedule dates and/or sex, but as couples get busy, it is necessary prevent stress from spoiling intimacy. Mixing it up by surprising your significant other with a hotel room while the babysitter is minding the kids can add some spontaneity and excitement you used to have in the courting phase of your relationship.
Next, remember that every person has a different relationship to sex and love. Generally, men often need sex to feel loved, and women need to feel loved to have sex. This is largely due to the differences between the way the male and female brains are wired. Foreplay can be all day for women (e.g., sending your wife a flirty text in the morning before date night), whereas men tend to view foreplay as the 5 minutes before intercourse (men: more foreplay, please!). Be considerate of your significant other and his or her love language. If your partner likes "quickies," then perhaps he or she can return the favor by giving you the kind of grand, romantic evening you desire. Mixing it up in this way is a great way to prevent stress from impacting your love life, because you can continue to have a healthy sex life no matter how much time you have left in your day - if 5 minutes is all the two of you have, use it! Remember that intimacy, touch, and sex are vital to healthy relationships.
Third, remember that sex can involve a variety of acts that don't always need to lead to intercourse. Cuddling, touch, and massage are just as important as intercourse. A touch on the leg or 10 second kiss can do wonders to buffer the effects of stress on a relationship.