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Keep the Spark Alive: Schedule Sex

When I first started talking about scheduling sex, there was a lot of pushback. Scheduling sex sounded to many—and still does—like removing all the spontaneous excitement out of a sexual encounter with your spouse. Plus, if we really wanted sex like we should, would we need to put it on the calendar?

These days, thankfully, many more marriage and sex experts suggest scheduling sex, because that’s often how to make sure it happens and goes well. Let’s break down not only why you may want to schedule sex but also how to make it happen.

What Scheduling Is and Isn’t

Having tried various ways to keep track of my schedule, I finally found the right approach when my best friend surprised me with an Erin Condren planner. I keep nearly everything I need to do in this beautiful notebook—appointments, to-dos, trips, notes. But one item you won’t find there is sex with my husband. Even though we do schedule it.

For some, scheduling means taking out your calendar and penciling in a date and time. For others, it’s a standing appointment, like Wednesdays after the kids go to bed. And for those like us, it’s a verbal agreement worked out the day of or a day or two ahead of the scheduled encounter.

Whatever preconceived notion of scheduling sex that doesn’t appeal to you, you don’t have to do. Find the kind of scheduling that works for your marriage! It could be as simple as a text to your husband that “tonight’s the night!” or as steady as Sex Sunday. Or it could be pulling out your planners and finding the best meetup time for both of you.

What You’re Scheduling

The obvious answer to “What are you scheduling?” is “Sex,” but what comes to mind when you read that? Too often, a modifier sneaks in before the word “sex” that we may not even be conscious of adding. For instance, see if any of these adjectives fit your idea of scheduling:

  • Obligatory sex
  • Uninspired sex
  • Mechanical sex
  • Passionless sex

Let me assure you that you’re not scheduling any of those! You’re scheduling a sex date. Just like you scheduled dates when you were courting. You chose a day of the week, a time, and a place to meet, because you were prioritizing one another. You anticipated the arrival of that moment, because you were eager to see your guy or gal. You didn’t know how everything would unfold, but you expected to have fun. And once there, you were happy you showed up and savored the experience.

Okay, maybe not all dates went swimmingly back then, nor will all sex dates you schedule. But if you take the same attitude, you’re far more likely to have a good time. Even better, this date comes with the hope of an extra-happy ending!

Benefits of Scheduling

But why bother? What are the benefits of scheduling sex?

Regular sex has positive benefits for you. From lower blood pressure to better sleep to decreased risk of heart attack, the health benefits of sex have been well documented. Sex can also relieve stress and boost your immune system. And it’s exercise. Not much of a calorie burner, but exercise nonetheless.

Regular sex has positive benefits for your marriage. Couples who have sex at least weekly report higher relationship satisfaction. Not surprisingly, they feel closer to their mates and more secure in their bond.

Scheduled sex makes sure it happens. Life gets so busy that even your best intentions won’t lead to action unless you have a plan. I love how Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage says it: “We never drift into anything healthy. Healthy patterns are intentional.” She’s made the comparison that people don’t suddenly find themselves on the treadmill; they create a goal or a routine. Likewise, “If we want healthy intimate sex in our marriage, we have to be intentional.” Scheduling sex is an intentional plan to create the healthy habit of sexual intimacy.

Scheduled sex can help a lower desire spouse prepare. Lower desire spouses often appreciate having a heads-up on when sex is going to happen so they can prepare for it mentally, physically, and emotionally. While that may not sound sexy to some, it’s a lovely gift that your responsive mate wants to do all they can to come to the bedroom ready to engage fully.

Scheduled sex can help a higher desire spouse wait. Higher desire spouses can stop ruminating over when the next sexual encounter will happen. If they know that it’s on the calendar, they can relax, wait, and anticipate.

Planning the Sex Date

How much you plan depends on what you’re planning. If you’re wanting a super special encounter, you can go all out with bedroom preparations, getting yourself ready for perfect presentation, and even setting out a menu for the evening. But you can also just plan to show up at the appointed time and take it from there. Then, there’s all the options in between.

What you shouldn’t do is the opposite of what your spouse wants you to do. That is, if it matters to your beloved that you put a bit of effort into the date, put in the effort. If a lot of pre-planning makes your spouse feel stuck to the schedule, then make room for spontaneity.

Discuss your expectations ahead of time, talking about what kind of sex dates you’d like to have. If you’re different in what you’d like, then trade out planning some, so that you each get a chance to do it your way or serve it up the way your spouse prefers.

Whatever you do, “don’t schedule boring sex” (Matt Schmidt, Intimate Covenant). Make sure it’s the kind of event you can both look forward to.

Need some ideas? Here you go:

Keeping the Sex Date

First, you may want to build some anticipation toward your date time. Send a “looking forward to tonight” text or whisper in your mate’s ear that morning that you’re eager to spend special time together. Touch more frequently that day or wink knowingly across the room at your beloved. Just get some sparks started in anticipation of the flames of passion to come.

When you were first getting to know each other, did you up your game a bit for date night? Shower a second time? Shave your legs? Brush your teeth and/or use mouthwash? Wear something nice? Try that again with sex dates. That is, give your spouse a good view, smell, and touch to work with. No, we’re not trying to be fake here, but just sprucing up a bit. (And remember, guys, her sense of smell tends to be innately better than yours.)

Let things unfold with romance, flirting, wooing, and seduction. Please don’t just show up with the idea that intercourse is what’s happening. That’s actually a small part of sex date (albeit to many of you an important one). Take time to connect, tease and arouse one another, and then move into lovemaking. And don’t forget the afterglow!

Also, remember that this date may not go as planned. Like any other date, it may need to be postponed or rescheduled due to someone’s illness or another event that must take precedence. It may start off well, then flounder or even fail. Pain or discomfort, erectile dysfunction, or simply an ability to get things going as hoped could cut this date short. That’s okay. Not all sexual intimacy involves intercourse or climax. Sometimes the intimacy is being there, pleasuring one another, and giving grace when things go awry.

As I’ve said many times, one of the many perks of having sex in marriage is that no one sexual encounter equals your sex life. You have a lifetime together to build beautiful intimacy. It’s really not just one sex date. You’re sexually dating. You can try again another time.

Spontaneous Sex

Scheduling sex doesn’t mean you can’t also have spontaneous sex. Many couples both schedule sex and have encounters they didn’t anticipate beforehand. Both approaches have merit, so why not incorporate scheduling and spontaneity into your sexual intimacy?

Indeed, scheduling sex might lead to more spontaneous sex as well, because you’ve made sure physical intimacy is a regular part of your relationship and your body and marriage can feel the ongoing benefits of lovemaking.

So pull out your calendars, schedule some sex, and then let the rest of your hot-and-heavy happen when the mood strikes! And the husband and wife both said, “It’s a date!”

10 thoughts on “Keep the Spark Alive: Schedule Sex”

  1. Scheduled sex is very important when the kids are young and life is busy. It is hard to be spontaneous during that time of life but keeping the spark in the bed alive is especially important during that period of time. There are so many demands that can make spouses feel less connected. It is much easier to have a spontaneous fire now that the house is nearly empty. Excellent article and great advice.

  2. Another marriage sex “schedule” we became aware of is that of setting aside two weeks for each spouse to ask for whatever they desire and receive, as long as it is not painful for the other. After those two weeks, the schedule switches to the other spouse and then back again. As referenced in another way in your post, this allows the lower sex drive spouse more room and something for the higher drive to look forward to.

    Keep up the great work J!

  3. One more thought, if I may. There have been times when we have scheduled. I am super excited for those times. It is just the way I am. It is a “sure” thing but it really isn’t. We have said we will take time for ourselves but sometimes life happens. When the kids were younger (they are all adults now) they would sometimes need attention more than we did. Sometimes life would throw us curve balls. Frustrating? Absolutely. But just the fact that my wife made it enough of a priority to put it on our schedule (no, we didn’t pencil it on a calendar) was enough to let me know that not only was intimacy important, but that I was important. Isn’t that what intimacy really shows? Yes, sex is wonderful, but sex in marriage is amazingly wonderful as it shouts that we are important to each other. I wish I could say I did things God’s way, but I am flawed. But what He has taught me is that His way is perfect and intimacy within the bounds of marriage is so much greater. Knowing my wife prioritized intimate time with me made me, and still makes me, feel valued (and no, it wasn’t constant as we had issues to work through, as every couple does – especially with the responsibilities the military adds to life – deployment was not easy, even though I say and believe I had an “easy” deployment, which is compared to others). A couple can schedule as much as they want, but that is not a guarantee that they will have a fulfilling experience at the end of the day. When that happens, remember that you each chose to value each other enough to make it a priority and a goal, even if it didn’t reach the target.

  4. Scheduling and being intentional is definitely a great idea. But one challenge is when scheduling completely eliminates the additional possibility of spontaneity; ie, the minimum also becomes the maximum. Another is if setting a regular time also regularizes everything else; ie, sex always happens not only at the same time, but always in exactly the same way.

    Both of these are what has happened in our case. Scheduling has become really important to my wife and it indeed helps her ‘prepare.’ But she clings to it tightly and resists anything outside the schedule or changing things up. I know she has some particular reasons for this, but it is difficult to feel so locked in.

    As you say, it’s important to trade planning and make sure both spouses have an opportunity for what they prefer!

    1. Yes, unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as health concerns that require preplanning), the schedule shouldn’t mean no sex can happen outside it.

      1. Scheduling sex sounds like a great idea, even if it’s just for a handjob or a nice 69 session in the midafternoon. Thanks!

        1. Forgot to mention that my wife has a VERY low libido so maybe scheduled sex is the ticket…hope so😐

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