4 Reasons to Start Scheduling Sex Now
Few things sound less sexy than penciling in a time to make love, but the fact is, as we reach midlife and the demands on our time grow, wanting sex and getting sex can be two different things. The fact is that if you want to have sex on the regular, you may want to schedule it.
"As adults, we tend to put important things on our calendars," says Robin Buckley, a couples coach in Rye, New Hampshire, and author of Voices from the Village: Advice for Girls on the Verge of Adulthood. "For many of us, if it isn't on our calendars, it doesn't happen."
Why Scheduling Sex Can Make Sense for Midlife Couples
Talking about sex can be an extremely vulnerable and nerve-wracking thing (that's probably why it's a popular topic in anonymous online relationship forums like Reddit). Having a date penciled in takes the pressure off. Don’t talk. Just feel.
"For partners at any stage of life who have lots on their plates—which is definitely true of so many midlife couples—scheduling sex is a really appealing strategy for a few reasons," says Carol Queen, Ph.D., a sexologist in San Francisco and co-author of The Sex & Pleasure Book: Good Vibrations Guide to Great Sex for Everyone.
For starters, midlife folks may be dealing with:
- Kids and parents who need their time and attention
- Booming careers, which also demand time and energy
- Perimenopause or menopause, which can cause vaginal dryness
The good news, says Queen, is that there’s no “normal” amount of sex one must be having. Waning libidoes are normal for couples who have “been together for a decade or two already, so the fires they may have felt early on may now be banked," Queen says.
It’s truly all individual, based on a couple’s decisions together, which is why scheduling sex can be so appealing. Putting a bedroom session on the books is a conscious way of saying you desire each other and prioritize sex while also subtly communicating about the amount of sex that satisfies you both.
4 More Reasons to Schedule Intimacy with Your Partner
Here are four other ways adding sex to your calendar can make it even hotter.
1. You Can Handpick the Time You Have Sex
Lara Briden, of Christchurch, New Zealand, a naturopathic doctor and author of Hormone Repair Manual: Every Woman's Guide to Healthy Hormones After 40, says there's been surprisingly little research into whether there's a best time of day for someone who's experiencing vaginal dryness to have sex.
Briden suggests that the time of day or circadian rhythm can affect many aspects of health, including hormones, which she says could mean that there are times of day that are better for vaginal dryness than others. "However,” she says, “according to a 2014 study, most women report higher desire in the evening, and of course, desire improves lubrication, so from that angle, the evening could be better for some women."
Other factors can also affect dryness, including the side effects of certain types of contraceptives, sleeping tablets, antidepressants, and allergy medications.
Everyone is different—some people feel more up to sex in the morning, and some at night—so scheduling lovemaking lets you plan ahead for when you tend to feel most active and alert, says Briden. "And, of course, general energy is one of the strongest predictors of sexual desire, so lark chronotypes (morning people) prefer sex in the morning, and night owls prefer sex at night."
Either way, scheduling sex allows for these variations so you can handpick a time you know will work best for your body and mind, as well as your partner’s.
2. It’s a Promise You Can Keep
Buckley says the biggest reason she hears people say they don't schedule sex is that they believe it should be spontaneous and that, if it’s not, they think it will seem like a chore.
"I understand their perspective and challenge them to ask themselves whether their current spontaneous, unscheduled approach is providing them the time to engage in sex as regularly as they both want," Buckley says. "Typically, the answer is no. But if having time to connect with your partner physically and emotionally is important to you, then why wouldn't it be on your calendar to make sure it happens?"
Consider a dental appointment, a hair appointment, or a scheduled fitness class at the gym. These are all promises we keep to ourselves and ways we show up for our self-care. Why shouldn’t our relationships get that same treatment?
3. Anticipation Can Make Sex Hotter
Another benefit of scheduling sex is that it mentally prepares the couple during the days or hours leading up to the scheduled event. For example, Buckley says one of her clients made different lunch choices on scheduled sex days because he didn't want to feel lethargic or bloated later when he and his wife would be together.
Another client made sure not to overschedule herself at work on those days, so she’d have enough time to get home, decompress, and be fully present when her wife got home for their evening. "Instead of creating pressure, scheduling sex allows couples to consistently make the time for each other and consciously reduce distractions that might be obstacles," Buckley says. "Overall, it makes their relationship a priority, increasing the success of their commitment."
4. You’ll Show Up for Each Other—and That Can Be Enough
"As people age, those lightning bolts of libido can become less common … but that doesn't mean we can't connect sexually!" Queen says. "We need to explore what is, not what was, and scheduling sex provides a sort of container for that."
Put sex on the calendar, show up, and see what happens. Queen is especially fond of an idea championed by psychotherapist JoAnn Loulan, whose books advocate for the idea that people not wait for desire or libido to have sex. To paraphrase her message: You can enter into intimate time with a partner by simply being willing to experience what might happen between you.
This means that if sex happens during that scheduled portion of time, great. But if it doesn’t, just being together, spending time alone, cuddling, chatting, and holding each other can be great, too.
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