Reader Question: Is it Okay to Schedule Sex?

Reader Question: is it a copout to schedule sex?Every week I like to put up a Reader Question and take a stab at answering it. Today I’m tackling a question a lot of people have: is it a cop out to schedule sex?

One reader wrote:

My husband and I struggle with having sex frequently. We’ve been married a year and a half, and we have sex less than once a month – for whatever reason. We both have our excuses.

Recently I talked with my husband about scheduling sex. Or at least intimate time. We’ve started with once a week. And I’m already feeling better about it. I get so anxious about the unknown.

I’m a planner. And I have a one-track mind. With a schedule I know what I’m expected to do at a specific time and my anxiety evaporates.

Scheduled sex allows me to get in to the zone days before because I KNOW sexy time is coming. There’s no spontaneity or it sneaking up on me. (Spontaneity and I are NOT friends). If I feel cornered or surprised, I will almost always find a way to say no and reject my husband. I avoid this anxiety, scheduling works for me.

Is this weird? My husband thinks so. But he’s grateful we’ve done something to address my anxiety and he’s getting more sex.

Excellent question! To answer it, let’s look at the pros and cons of scheduling sex, and then I’ll try to sum up.

Scheduling Sex: Is it a good idea?

Pros of Scheduling Sex

You Make Sex a Priority

Let’s face it: often we don’t end up making love because it’s the last thing on our to-do list. IF the dishes are done and IF the kids go to bed at a decent time and IF my emails are all answered and IF I feel 100% and IF I’m not ticked at my husband and IF I don’t have to be up early, then, when I hit the pillow at 11, I may consider having sex.

That’s a lot working against sex!

And if you’re the one who would be eager to jump him, and your husband is the one who always has the excuses, then you probably would like sex to be more of a priority, too.

With the way many of our lives go, sex is the last thing that gets taken care of. It’s only if everything else gets done. And so often it’s put on the back burner, even though sex is so important to helping a marriage stay intimate and fun. I think we forget how much sex benefits us women!

If you schedule it, and say that “every Wednesday and every Saturday we’ll have sex”, or whatever you pick, then you know you’ll be connecting. You know that it will happen. And you know that you’ll feel intimate again. In most marriages sex isn’t frequent enough; here’s one way to overcome that!

You Let Yourself Get Your Head in the Game

For women, so much of our sex drive is in our heads. When our heads are in the game, our bodies often follow. But it’s really hard to get your head in the game if you’re just going about your normal routine with kids or your job or the housework. If, though, you know that tonight you’re going to have some fun, you can think more positively about it. You can flirt with your husband more! You can send secret texts, or even just smile at a Stop sign.

Then, when evening comes around, you don’t have to do the endless “Do I want to tonight?” routine we women often torture ourselves with, like I talk about here:

You know you’re going to tonight, so you don’t have to figure out, “am I in the mood?” It’s a lot less stress!

You Take More Care of Yourself

If you know you’re going to make love tomorrow night, and you get in the habit of making love a few times a week, it becomes more evident that you need to get more sleep! And you’re more likely to start treating your body better, and sleeping more, because you do want to enjoy what’s in store.

Cons of Scheduling Sex with Your Husband

Obligation Sex Isn’t Sexy

One of the reasons we do the “do I want to tonight?” routine is because when we REALLY don’t feel like it, sex can seem like a chore, or an imposition. Now, I’m a firm believer that if we start telling ourselves positive things about sex we can turn that around, but I’m sure most of us know what it’s like to have sex because you feel guilty. And if you agree to scheduling sex, and then the night comes around and you really don’t feel like it, you can end up resenting sex, and your husband, even more.

Scheduling sex, then, really only works if you’re willing to say those positive things to yourself. When you schedule sex, you don’t just commit to HAVING sex; you commit to having a good attitude about it and to throwing yourself into it, like I talked about in that video.

Now I do believe those are important things for every married woman to do. But if you just can’t, and you’re scheduling sex so that “at least he’ll only bug me on Wednesdays and Saturdays and not all the other days, too,” it likely won’t work well for you, and you’re not being fair to your husband or yourself. Your issue is bigger than just how often you have sex, and I’d really recommend working through the 31 Days to Great Sex with him to help you see sex as something positive, and to help him make sex something that you really will enjoy.

Spontaneity Can Suffer

One of the wonderful things about making love with my husband is that sometimes we’re not planning on it. We fall into bed, and we’re both tired, and we just hug for a bit and talk. And in the process something happens, and it’s great to connect that way.

If you start scheduling sex, then you may limit those moments. Especially for men, it’s important to feel as if your spouse wants you, not just wants to placate you. Eliminate those times when you turn to each other JUST BECAUSE, and your spouse can start to feel as if it’s not something you really want to do; it’s just something you feel that you have to do.

Let’s Put It All Together

For many women who find it difficult to get motivated for sex, scheduling sex can be a great idea. And here’s the neat thing: once you start to make love with relative frequency, you start to yearn for it. You start to enjoy it. And then it may become more frequent all on its own! You see the difference it makes in your relationship when you do connect regularly.

If you’re in that camp, and it seems as if my reader is, then go for it! If you’re in a rut, and you don’t know how to get out of it, scheduling sex may be a very good thing to try.

So let me leave you with just a few warnings:

1. Think of the schedule as the minimum, not the maximum

If you decide on Wednesday and Saturday, and you feel a little frisky on a Monday, then do something on the Monday! Don’t “turn off” those feelings because “I don’t have to tonight”. Feel free to explore them, too! Scheduling sex should not eliminate spontaneity; it should just make sure you connect regularly, at a minimum. Don’t limit yourself to the days you’ve set!

2. Decide to Jump In Wholeheartedly

If you decide to go this route, pledge it in your heart, too. Decide that you will put everything into it. Make those nights the best you can. Plan fun things! Flirt. You put effort into other parts of your life; put it in here, too.

If you do those two things, then scheduling sex might give your marriage the jumpstart it needs! But making a schedule can never make up for a lack of enthusiasm, or for the feeling “at least I’m off the hook now”. I know that’s a really sad place to be, and if that’s where you are, I’d just encourage you to take steps not to stand for it. You were created to live an abundant life, and that includes an abundant marriage and an abundant life in the bedroom. If it’s not like that for you, commit to working on your friendship with your husband, and commit to learning how to make sex feel good (31 Days to Great Sex can help with that!).

Now it’s your turn: Have you ever tried to schedule sex? How did it work for you?

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  1. Great question, great response! During a period of low libidio/marriage difficulties, we scheduled sex twice a week. It eased up the feelings of “being pressured all the time” for me, and the desperation of “not knowing when/if it was gonna happen” for hubby. We kept with it for nearly a year as we worked through some of the difficulties and now find that we don’t need the schedule anymore. 😉 For that time though- while we had misgivings at the start, it forced us to keep connecting, keeping talking about our sex life and not just let it slide in the face of other factors.

    • Yes, Megan, exactly. That’s when I think it can be really beneficial! And it’s neat to hear that you don’t need it anymore. Sometimes a schedule can push us in the right direction.

  2. I agree with you as far as you can schedule to make the minimum, but there needs to be spontaneous time as well!
    Cassie recently posted…Words of Wisdom Weekend #1bMy Profile

  3. Great answers to an often challenging question Sheila. I like your conclusion, it’s what i was thinking about as i read through the post – that it’s important to continue thinking “intimacy” not just sex. That will help with enthusiasm and feeling of “I have to”. I am a planner by nature and don’t mind scheduling…but it can get really dry really quickly when a schedule is all I am going with!

    Great advice.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…5 Ways to Love Your Husband Through Every SeasonMy Profile

  4. My husband and I schedule sex probably twice a week. Another thing we do that isn’t super spontaneous, but works for us, is to typically have sex right after our kids go to bed, early in the evening, rather than waiting for our bedtime. We have three little boys, ages 2, 4, and 6, and I know that if I wait to connect with my hubby until I’m ready for bed that I’m so much less likely to feel sexy. Scheduling allows me to initiate, asking him if sex tomorrow night works for him (ha!), but still be able to get in the mental zone for intimacy. That’s not to say that we never have spontaneous sex, or that sometimes bedtime doesn’t become intimate, but right now scheduling sex means we keep it regular. :)

  5. So even if you haven’t had it in over a year, it is okay for a woman to initiate and try to schedule with her spouse?

    • Absolutely! But it depends on the reasons that you haven’t connected–if it’s because he’s refused, then you may have to talk about that and work on it before he would agree. But if it’s been your issue, then I think this is a great idea.

  6. Our best sex is usually our “scheduled” sex. Probably because we set aside a good chunk of time to play. We don’t necessarily have a set weekly schedule, but with teenagers, we look ahead and when we anticipate an empty house, we make plans to take full advantage of said empty house. I think for me, it gives me time to think and plan some ways to make the encounter more adventurous. Spontaneous sex when we get in bed at night is nice too, but I wouldn’t want that to be our only type of sex. Of course there is also the spontaeous, “oh my, the kids are all gone? however shall we survive the evening without them?” :-)
    I guess I see scheduled/pre-planned sex as a good thing because it means we aren’t just using leftover time at the end of the day, but we are being intentional about keeping our sex life a priority. Also, as you pointed out, it allows me to think ahead and get my head in the game.
    I do think also that the season of life a couple is in might determine whether or not sex needs to be scheduled or if spontaneous sex is happening enough to keep the marriage healthy. A bunch of little kids at home… you might need to schedule it in. Empty nest and lots of time at home….perhaps the scheduled sex isn’t as necessary.

  7. We have to schedule sex because I have ED and need pills to make it happen. As retired folk we find it easier to do it in the morning. We are still working on making it more frequent however.

  8. Sandra Houtz says:

    We do this occasionally since I have to take some meds to help me with me with my restless leg/periodic limb movement disorder issues and I’m also recovering from a total knee replacement in July and still need pain meds at bedtime, which really make me sleepy … and sometimes … not always hubby needs his “Vitamin V” … lol … so you have to plan for that also … I see nothing wrong with it at all … it tells each other that you know that intimacy, even if there is no intercourse happen is important to you enough to make a point of putting on the “calendar” so to speak :)

  9. I love the discussion on this topic. Sheila, thank you for sharing this reader question. My husband and I have chosen to schedule sex for the last 4 years. We take turns initiating during “our days” each week, this gives us the freedom to choose the day that best works for the two of us. This also allows us to maintain the spontaneity and ensures that we have sex as a priority in our marriage. Having sex with your spouse should be a “want to” instead of a “need to”. In deciding to schedule sex it’s important to have conversations about what that looks like in your marriage and also to discuss how you will take turns initiating sex. Just like Sheila said in her post, both sexes want to feel desired. Making sexual intimacy a priority in your marriage will reap huge rewards. Tony and I have had so many questions about this over the years that we did a show to explain it and how it can work in your marriage.

  10. I advocate scheduling sex, so that it doesn’t fall to the bottom of the to-do list and so wives can prepare if they need that. Especially after you have kids, when snatching that time can be an elusive proposition. It doesn’t feel obligatory to me, just like scheduling a date doesn’t make me schlep out the door in a bad mood out of duty; in fact, it gives me something to look forward to with happy anticipation.

    In my own marriage, we don’t keep a set schedule, but we do sometimes look at the week and say something like, “Not tonight. How about Wednesday?” So scheduling can be consistent or part of the “what’s up this week?” planning.

    Great post, Sheila!
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…How Much Should You Learn about Sex before the Wedding Night?My Profile

  11. An emphatic YES for us! We are coming off a very shaky time in our marriage where everything else came first, and sex went from infrequent to nothing. We were definitely headed for divorce as our kids were headed out to college.

    Becoming intentional about sex, realizing it was the glue that held our marriage together, was the single most important thing that renewed us. We used to prioritize so many other things in our lives and leave “us time” for the left-overs. Our big family calendar was FULL of all the “have tos” but we never could make sex and intimate connection a priority. Even as empty nesters, those old habits were not dying. When DH suggested to me we take on a weekly volunteer commitment together, I hesitated. Finally I told him that we needed to spend some time reevaluating how we were going to prioritize our marriage before all else. Once that happened, I was all for adding other things back in, but never again at that insane pace we kept when the kids were home. Another important thing was that we learned to become honest about what is arousing and exciting for us… no more guessing, no more being embarrassed to say, “when you do this, it is a real turn on for me…”

    And while you may think the schedule thing can work against you, i.e. that you’ll now feel “obliged” to have sex on your schedule even when you may not “feel” like it… it actually works for you, to take you beyond the “feeling,” to the intention. Action precede beliefs… and if I allow myself to be open to intimacy even when I think I don’t FEEL like it (barring of course illness), the feelings usually do follow. I vowed during our renewal that I’d never refuse my husband (this was before the schedule). Even though I’m more high-drive than him and it would be rare I’d say no, on those few occasions I was tempted to say no, I did not. I started out with a giving attitude that he was going to get pleasure even if I wasn’t… and most of the time it was better than ever. Sexual rejection in a marriage is so damaging. I try to avoid it at all costs. Spontaneity is a wonderful thing if it works for you… but in today’s busy world, even us empty nesters can get “lazy” and think “rain check” and before you know it, someone feels hurt and rejected.

  12. Nuno Barbosa says:

    I am so sorry beloved’s I will respect all and any input about scheduling sex but I would have to disagree with the idea. Come on now….Just to think about it I have no desire to engage. My dear friends lets schedule a dentist appointment, a tire rotation in your car, a vacation get away with your spouse, when and how we do things ….Things are very different then the person you love. Sex can not be a thing between you and your spouse to do; or something you forgot about; or something you need to be reminded of….Do you schedule kissing your wife in her mouth? texting her and letting her know how much you love her? Do you schedule reminding your self that she or he is your spouse?…No! If you do, something is really wrong. Let me ask this sincerely what happen to that very first 3 – 4 weeks of dating her/him; how many desires came to your mind of having her/him, just be alone, touching and caring for one another? What happen to all the energy, and fantasies of the dating times and pursuit to one another? when you answer that question you may see things just a little different. Maybe you both stop investing in your marriage? Maybe you both quit touching each other? Maybe you both are so busy thinking about achieving life demands “stuff” that you forgot to dedicate and spend time together. God made this all balanced, even the pleasure of sex. Sheila u are simply unique. I am your fan. So long…

  13. As a couple , who works opposing schedules( hubby works the graveyard-kids and I homeschool during the day) and who has the challenge of Ed. Scheduling intimacy is a must especially with 3 homeschooling teens in the house. It gives us something to look forward to. Doesn’t always happen every free weekend day but sometimes happens out of a spontaneous moment during the week.

  14. I was planning on posting on this same topic next week. Good coverage though.
    Jay Dee – recently posted…Are sex toys allowed in a Christian marriage?My Profile

  15. I love this, because this is how I felt for most of my married life. I especially like the video about “doing math” and feeling guilty laying there. I would listen to my husband’s breathing and once I could tell he was sleeping, I would relax because I know that for that night, I didn’t have to do anything. I had to make a concerted effort to, as you said, start having more sex, before I started to want it.

    We made some adjustments to work on the “sex thing” as it became called in our sexless marriage. One thing that always annoyed me was the getting undressed, then dressed again thing. I am aware of how lazy this sounds. I don’t even like to go pee because I have to get all undressed. Such a hassle, lol. So we started sleeping naked. BAM problem solved. Luckily our kids are really little, so we may have to adjust this later but for now, it works. We can wake up any time during the night, have sex easily, then just go back to sleep.

    I think it’s important too that when you start having more sex, you start wanting it more. It becomes more natural. Nothing is weirder than having sex with someone you only have obligatory sex with once per month. I love the benefits you mentioned too. I know that now that we “expect” to have sex daily, I take better care of my appearance, sleep better, etc. We don’t “schedule” sex per se, but we have a pretty solid agreement it will happen daily unless there are unforeseen circumstances. Which is basically the same thing.

    Anyway, great post–I can definitely relate!
    Bonnie Wallace recently posted…Giving Up the Control: SubmissionMy Profile

  16. You really generate a lot of intriguing thoughts for couple. Very encouraging post.

  17. Catherine says:

    Wow, does this post really hit the nail on the head. We are in our 50’s, hubby is disabled and has had his prostate removed so he has medical ED. We hit a slump this winter where things seemed boring and I was tired of being asked so early in the day if “tonight was the night”, so he could take his pill. I asked him if he would be interested in scheduling 3 nights a week, we both thought it seemed wrong but were so desperate for a change we decided to give it 8 weeks. Well I was amazed how wonderful the first planned evening was. Instead of either not thinking about sex at all, or trying to figure out how to get out of it. I began to really desire my husband. Then I decided to type in “spice things up” on Pinterest, hoping not to get a bunch of porno. Wow, I found Sheila, bought, downloaded and read her book and wow! We are like honeymooners. Enjoying being together often, feeling closer than ever and not getting irritated with each other. We are together 24/7 and I am finally enjoying my best friend at a whole new level.

    • So awesome, Catherine! Thanks for sharing!

    • I am the same boat, though we wanted to be intimate ED was really causing issues for us. We have set aside one night a week that we know that our kids are out of the house. I know to get my sexy on, and I no longer have to wonder if he still wants me. The anxiety about his ED had causes some huge rifts in our marriage. This was a perfect solution for us, and “knowing” that it is going to work has allowed us to get back to spice. What a huge relief. We have been married half of our lives but after his last deployment it really impacts his stress and anxiety level. Now that is eliminated and we have gone from just best friends back to lovers.

  18. unmowngrass says:

    When I was planning on getting married, and moving to the USA to boot, I felt the need to nail down my schedule quite firmly in advance, especially as I wouldn’t (initially) be working, so that I didn’t end up wasting my days. I made a spreadsheet and literally planned the entire week, 6am-midnight for each day. Then I started with my priorities and blocked my time out accordingly. I made sure to put “Hang out with Hubby” on the plan plenty of times. 6-7am and 5:30-7pm in the week, and a long stretch on Sunday afternoon. Now sure, life happens, and not every slot will be able to be met every single week. But by putting it on the plan so often, it would happen most of the time. Now, given that we’d have been living with my MIL, I was hardly going to put on the plan “Katie and Mike will be having lots of sexy sex”, but that was implied. In bed/on the bed, snuggling, and talking. Now sometimes it would be more talking and just snuggling, but sometimes the snuggling obviously would lead to the sexy sex, so it’s sort of the best of both worlds? Plenty of time to be together and free to be sexy if the mood takes us, not the last thing on the list by far, but also, no pressure, because we know it’s coming around again in 12 hrs 😉

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  1. […] him about how you want things to be more intimate and fun in your marriage. Try to initiate more. Schedule sex if you have to! Suggest working on the 31 Days to Great Sex together (it makes a great stocking […]

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