At the beginning of a relationship, it can feel easy to find time to be intimate. You're in the "honeymoon phase," after all! But as time goes on, it might feel like you're out of sync with each other when it comes to hopping in the sack. Enter: the concept of scheduling sex. Feel weird about jotting "sex" down in your planner? You shouldn't.
Nisha McKenzie PA-C, Owner and Founder of Women's+ Health Collective and AASECT Certified Sexuality Counselor, Sex Educator and Nationally Certified Menopause Practitioner, says there's a false narrative that sex should be spontaneous, passionate and filled with wild lust and desire, and anything short of that is unacceptable ... or boring.
"We don't typically watch people have consensual sex where there is discussion and awkwardness, talk about contraception, negotiation and reciprocity, stumbles and missteps, clean up after, interruptions by kids and/or pets, and, well ... normalcy," McKenzie said.
Instead, our examples of "good sex" are limited to Hollywood, pornography and social media. Throw in varying sex education experiences and things get even more tricky.
"Based on what's patterned for us, we feel like our 'normal' should be something like what we see on film," she explained. "Even if we know it's not realistic, we still have an inherent sense that our reality is 'broken' or 'wrong' because of popular culture."
Ask yourself: What makes sex "good?" From there, begin to change the narrative of your own thinking. Communication is key and benefits of scheduling ahead abound!
"Oh, think of the fun! Planning, sending a flirtatious text during the day ... it doesn't even have to be too saucy, if that makes you squidgy. Just a 'can't wait for tonight' text can send a little thrill through both you and your partner," McKenzie said. "You could have your partner lay out an outfit for you to wear (or not!) and you could lay something out for your partner. You could surprise them or ask to be surprised with details of the evening, thereby adding spontaneity within a planned event."
Scheduling sex also helps create intentionality and can be planned just like you'd plan any other date night—getting a babysitter, planning time out of town, etc.
"A date night doesn't turn out to be less wonderful because it was planned. Scheduling a sex night is no different," McKenzie advised. "We can create intention around this if it's important to us, and there can be all things amazing and wonderful within that time that you have both agreed you would meet."
If the concept interests you, propose the idea to your partner.
"Sit down with them (outside the bedroom, not during sex!) and say something like, 'Can I talk about something that feels really uncomfortable for me to talk about?' and see where it goes from there," McKenzie suggested. "Or, see a certified sex counselor or therapist and they can help facilitate the conversations that work in your relationship."
Remember: Many of life's most memorable and enjoyable moments are ones that don't occur spontaneously (vacations, birthday parties, etc.).
"Challenge yourself to think about all the wonderful planned moments you've had in life and consider letting sex fall into that category, at least sometimes," McKenzie said.
Note: Scheduling sex isn't recommended when one or both partners has pain or trauma with sex. Instead of this creating something to look forward to, there can be anticipatory pain, anxiety, dread and PTSD. It's important to address pain, anxiety and trauma with a licensed professional prior to this type of intervention.
Written by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar '22 issue of West Michigan Woman.