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Thursday, April 27, 2023

Relationships: The Benefits of Scheduling Sex

Most people think that spontaneous sex is the best kind of sex--this is sex that occurs in the heat of the moment when two people can't keep their hands off each other no matter what they're doing and where they are. 

The Benefits of Scheduling Sex

Spontaneous sex is the kind of sex that you see in movies where the characters suddenly rip each other's clothes off because they can't wait one more moment to have sex (see my article: Creating the Potential For Sexual Desire With the Sex Drive Simmer Technique).

But the reality for most people is that they're leading such busy lives that sex is often neglected or put last after taking care of the kids, doing the chores, work and other demands on their lives--especially for people in long term relationships.

When a couple hasn't had sex in a while, it can be hard to get back into it and, for many couples, even harder to talk about it (see my article: How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex - Part 1 and Part 2).

Usually it's the person with the stronger sex drive that brings it up in a tentative, half-joking way so as not to get hurt by the possibility of a rejection.

Then person, who might have a lower sex drive, feels guilty and burdened by their partner's need for sex.  The person with the lower sex drive might acquiesce to having more sex, but they often don't enjoy it because they feel like they're doing it for their partner instead of being something that they want for themselves as well as for the relationship.

The Benefits of Scheduled Sex
Many couples who come to see me in my private practice in New York City seek help because they're either having infrequent sex, unsatisfying sex or no sex at all.  

The Benefits of Scheduling Sex

They will often say that they had a great sex life when the relationship was new and before they got busy in their lives with their children and other responsibilities.  But, over time, sex became less of a priority--until so much time had passed that it felt too difficult to initiate sex again (see my articles: What is Your Sexual Initiation Style? and What If You and Your Partner Have Different Initiation Styles?).

Sex therapists often recommend that couples, who find themselves in this situation, experiment with scheduling sex.  Many people respond dubiously to this recommendation, but there are many benefits to scheduling sex.

In addition, what probably seemed like "spontaneous sex" when two people were dating wasn't really so spontaneous.  First of all, there's planning involved with dating, including choosing an activity, what clothes to wear, daydreaming about what it will be like, planning a day to meet and deciding on the question of "Your place or mine?" 

So, what seemed like it was "spontaneous sex" when you were dating was actually a planned sexual activity with a buildup of anticipation, sexual energy and dopamine (see my article: A Cornerstone of Eroticism: Longing and Anticipation).

Once you're living together and you're seeing each other all the time, you lose a lot of the anticipation, sexual energy and dopamine because the two of you are spending a lot of time together. You've become familiar to each other--like family, and that takes away much of the mystery and excitement (see my article: The Madonna-Whore Complex is Still Alive and Well Today).

Once you're spending a lot of time together, the two of you need to find ways to create that sexual excitement and scheduling sex (as unsexy as it might sound at first) is one way to do this.

So, let's look at the benefits of scheduling sex with your partner?
  • Making a Commitment to Prioritize Sex: Often when a couple doesn't schedule sex, it doesn't happen because you both get busy. Life has a way of crowding out sex, so you keep putting it off until a lot of time has passed. So, when you make a commitment to have sex on certain days or at certain times, you're more likely to follow through with it if it's important to both of you.
The Benefits of Scheduling Sex

  • Creating Longing and Anticipation: One of the primary benefits of scheduling sex is that you both get to look forward to it with longing and anticipation. This helps to stimulate sexual excitement that builds from the time you scheduled it to the time you have sex.
  • Giving You Time to Think About What You Might Enjoy: Just like planning a vacation can be half the fun, giving yourself time to think about what you might enjoy sexually helps to get you in the mood for sex and adds to your enjoyment.
The Benefits of Scheduling Sex

  • Helping You Avoid Future Dry Spells: When you have scheduled a time to have sex, you're more likely to avoid dry spells where long periods of time go by before you have sex again. The longer you wait to have sex, the more difficult it is to get going again.
  • Providing a Time and Place to Explore, Experiment and Be Playful: Maybe one of the reasons you and your partner might have entered into a dry spell was because you both got into a sexual rut where you did the same things over and over again until these sexual activities got boring. If you have agreed on a time to have sex, you can also use that time to be playful and explore other aspects of sex.  Maybe you'll try a new sex toy or a sexual position you haven't tried before. Maybe you'll talk about your sexual fantasies or do a role play you would both enjoy. Whatever you try that's new, it's a chance to add novelty to your sex life to keep it fun and exciting (see my article: The Power of Novelty to Enhance Sexual Desire in Your Relationship).
  • Decreasing Stress: Sex can be a great way to relieve stress.  Many people talk about how relaxed and refreshed they feel after having sex--whether they have an orgasm or not.
How to Schedule Sex
  • Find a Day and Time That Works For Both of You: Whether you choose certain days and times on a weekly basis or you plan it from week to week, talk to your partner about times to have sex when it's convenient for both of you. You might need to negotiate the time too because it's not unusual for one person to be a morning person and the other to be a night owl so you'll need to find a compromise. Then, once you've decided on the schedule, write it down in a shared calendar.
  • Stick With the Schedule as Best as You Can: Aside from emergencies, try to stick to the schedule so that each of you show your commitment to yourself and each other.  This doesn't mean that if the days you planned turn out not to work that you can't change it. But don't give up your scheduled sex time to accommodate other friends and family for non-urgent matters.
  • Be Flexible About Your Sexual Activities: If you and your partner made a plan to have sex every Saturday night and Sunday morning, be flexible about what you plan to do. Depending upon your energy level, sexual activities can mean different things--it doesn't always mean intercourse.  For instance, on some days when you're feeling energetic and you have more time, you might plan to spend a few hours in bed experimenting with role plays or sex toys with lots of foreplay.  Other days, when you're tired, you might both be in the mood for a quickie or spend the time engaging in oral sex. So, try to expand your definition of sex beyond intercourse to accommodate both of your moods and energy (see my article: Rethinking Foreplay as More Than Just a Prelude to Sexual Intercourse).

Getting Help in Sex Therapy
If you have tried to improve your sex life without success, you could benefit from sex therapy (see my article: What is Sex Therapy?).

Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy. There is no physical exam, nudity or sex during sex therapy sessions (see my article: What Are the Most Common Misconceptions About Sex Therapy?

Many individuals and couples seek help in sex therapy for a variety of reasons (see my article: What Are the Most Common Issues Discussed in Sex Therapy?).

Rather than struggling on your own, seek help from a skilled sex therapist so you can have a more fulfilling sex life.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT, Somatic Experiencing and Sex Therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.