Is it a cop out to schedule sex?
When I give my Girl Talk events at churches, and get to the Q&A, this is always something I recommend when a couple has major libido differences. But I often get people thinking I’m a little bit nuts, because scheduling sex sounds so, well, boring. After all, sex is supposed to be passionate, right? And if you schedule it, don’t you take the passion out of it? I wrote a post on this a while ago, but I thought it was worth revisiting, because for some couples, scheduling sex can really help. Here’s what a reader asked, which summarizes how scheduling sex can work well–but how we also often think that it’s somehow “less than”:
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.
Pros of Scheduling Sex
1. 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! Plus, as we were talking about yesterday, we are called to serve our spouses, and part of what Paul is saying in Ephesians 5 is that women should be very intentional about serving our husbands. For many guys, this is a huge way that we can do that! I don’t advocate having sex just because he has needs you have to fill; I think deliberately making something a priority, and figuring out how it can be good for you, too, are even more important.
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. 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 about sex. When you schedule sex, you don’t just commit to HAVING sex; you commit to having a good attitude about it and being enthusiastic about sex. 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. And try my Boost Your Libido course, too, which can help you see sex in a totally different way!
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 just happens. 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 low libido spouses 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? Let’s talk in the comments!
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