“Schedule” and “sex” sounds like a real task when used together. Who wants sex with their partner to land on their to-do list?
The reality is, most of us are busy with jobs and kids and life, and after speaking with a top divorce lawyer who says couples who schedule sex remain ahead of the game and are less likely to get divorced, we decided to ask some experts exactly how people do that and still keep it sexy.
Buy milk, vacuum, sex. Kind of like that. Because the one thing sex experts agree upon is, if you don’t set aside time for it, you may not have it at all.
A few things to remember when approaching the topic of putting nookie on your calendar: don’t get crazy, don’t put your partner on the defensive, approach the topic in a fun way (meet you in the bedroom at 8, wink wink) and stick to it.
“Knowing that lovemaking is on the calendar can be part of the allure,” she tells Personal Space. “Looking forward to intimacy gives you the opportunity to fantasize about your time together. If scheduling sex makes it a priority, it can enhance your desire because you know it is equally important for your partner.
“Sometimes life becomes very hectic and intimacy gets pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. If scheduling sex makes it happen on a consistent basis, that’s wonderful! You can even suggest planning spontaneous sex. You just never know what a little planning will lead to.”
Lauren Eavarone, who offers sex therapy and relationship counseling in New York City, says: "When a couple wants to reintroduce or incorporate sex back into their routines, keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all method that will work for every couple. Where deciding to schedule sex at specific times on, for example, their Google calendars may help one couple to commit, it could make sex feel like a chore to another.”
She says to think outside of the box in terms of scheduling sex.
“Coordinate with your partner a date to attend a sex workshop to learn new tricks; decide on a sexy game night with dice, food, or anything that may be a fantasy for the couple; go to a sexy show, like burlesque, to use as a visual aid for later stimulation. Instead of describing it as a ‘need to schedule sex,’ consider it a need to ‘reprioritize’ sex. The way to begin having more sex is by talking about it. Working with a professional can prove to be a useful tool to help the couple openly discuss their wants and needs for their sex life. The more aware the couple becomes of ways their partner wants to experience and coordinate sex, the more they will have an opportunity to act on such desires and compromise on them.”
Counselor Robert York tells us he thinks that couples who are scheduling sex like an task or activity maybe trying to navigate discomfort around intimacy.
“Scheduling sex may keep it formal, structured, and more importantly predictable for them,” he says. Although, that may be something needed for either of them to navigate the intense vulnerability that comes with sexual intimacy. I would imagine that the vulnerability required for spontaneity and sexually intimacy is something hard for them to access at this time…There can be a multitude of reasons for it, and how it’s helpful for them. Wether it’s a temporary solution to a problem or one of the only ways they can relate sexually is something to also consider.”
Cindi Sansone-Braff, author of Grant Me a Higher Love and Why Good People Can’t Leave Bad Relationships, says that for couples, it’s important to put sex on the calendar to remind us that our love life is as important or more important than work, hobbies, friends, or other family members.
“Remember, it’s your job to keep your partner from the temptations of the world, and if you need to actually schedule time on your electronic calendar to ensure that you make time for lovemaking, then just do it,” Cindi says. “You can schedule it under ‘our private rendezvous.’”
Will this kill the spontaneity?
“It doesn’t have to,” Cindi adds. “When people are having an affair, an awful lot of juggling of events and scheduling has to take place, and this doesn’t seem to put a damper on the passion. Scheduling designated nights or afternoon delights gives you time to pick some sexy lingerie to wear, or to choose some mood music to set the romantic tone, or to buy wine or candles to enhance the experience.”
Therapist Mordechai Salzberg tells us that while for many couples the idea of scheduling sex can feel like the death knell for passion and spontaneity, the reality of life today, particularly for couples with children, is that often times intimacy and sex fall to the bottom of an endless to do list - and sometimes off the list altogether.
“From that perspective, it can be helpful for couple's to think of scheduling sex not about a loss of passion but about making their relationship a priority,” he says. “It's on the calendar to highlight that sex is as—if not more—important to a family's functioning as parent teacher's conferences and dentist appointments. I've had more than a few clients pause when I ask them when the last time they had sex was, and then look at each other sheepishly and say they can't remember. Making a plan is about re-prioritizing intimacy and connection.
“It can also be helpful to look at 'scheduled' sex as being about blocking time on the calendar, not a planned, ten-minute, missionary position experience,” he adds. “Just because the time is accounted for, doesn't mean that couples can't be playful or passionate, or surprise each other with something new and exciting. I think it's important to be clear that just because a couple has planned sex on the calendar doesn't mean they can't also have those spontaneous moments of passion.”
Psychologist Theresa DiDonato stress that people come into relationships with different ideas about sex.
“Some people have implicit notions that sex should be effortless, easy, and spontaneous; others believe they can work at it and that their effort can improve their sexual satisfaction,” she tells Personal Space “Researchers out of Toronto and Nova Scotia identify this difference as between sexual destiny beliefs and sexual growth beliefs. Their work suggests that individuals higher in sexual destiny beliefs tend to have more sexual disagreement and lower relationship quality; conversely, those who adopt a ‘growth’ orientation and think they can invest energy and improve their sexual relationships tend to experience more sexual satisfaction and more relationship satisfaction. Also, their partners tend to be more satisfied as well.”
She says that scheduling sex could be a way to set aside time for a partner, “in the same way that people schedule romantic get-aways or date night.”
“It isn’t a common strategy, and of those that schedule sex as a way to influence their sexual desire, evidence from a study in the 90s suggests only about five percent do so and only half of that group find it useful. Scheduling sex may be more common for couples trying to conceive – this is an understudied topic.”
Dr. A. Jordan Wright, a professor at NYU, says to remember that scheduling and planning are not the opposite of authenticity.
“While spontaneity can certainly feel the same as authenticity in a connection between two people, that doesn't mean that an authentic connection has to be spontaneous,” he says. “Sometimes, putting in the concerted effort into the intimacy part of a relationship shows just as much, if not more, commitment and care. Scheduling sex communicates to each other that you care enough to ensure that that intimacy happens, without relying on spontaneity (which is often logistically difficult to ensure).”
Each relationship is different, Dr. Wright adds.
“What works for one may or may not necessarily work for another. Couples require an openness and flexibility that is sometimes difficult to achieve. Within the dynamic of each individual couple, there are idiosyncrasies that may make absolutely no sense for another couple, but somehow they work. Scheduling sex is certainly an example of a strategy that will work for some and not other couples.”
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