Why do you think the concept of scheduling sex is so taboo to some?
Well, first because sex itself is taboo. So inherently anything surrounding the idea of it falls under that taboo umbrella. Most of us don’t even like to talk about sex, let alone put it on the calendar! But also, there is a false narrative out there that sex should be spontaneous, passionate, and filled with wild lust and desire and anything short of that is just not acceptable, or boring. This is mostly because no one is patterning “good sex” for us. 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. Instead, what are our examples? Hollywood, Pornography and whatever someone (who grew up in the same world, with the same influences) posts on social media. So based on what’s patterned for us, we feel like our “normal” should be something like what we see on film. Even if we know that it is not logical or realistic, we still have an inherent sense that our reality is “broken” or “wrong” because of popular culture.
We can also trace some of this back to sex ed in middle school, if we even had that. When was the last time you heard of a sex ed class teaching participants how to talk to each other about sex, or about what one might want or find pleasurable? (not here to start a debate on WHEN those teachings should happen, but overall, one way to help the next generation do life better, is to help them understand how to communicate with one another). Those conversations are again neither taught nor patterned. So all we have to base our ideas on is Hollywood & Porn. And since none of us wants to “fail” at sex, or make our partners feel like they are failing at sex, we often just choose to stay quiet. And quiet keeps us stagnant and sexually separate.
How do we change or address the stigma around “good sex” only happening spontaneously?
Challenge the narrative within our own thinking. Ask ourself, what makes sex “good”? Why do we have sex? Do we only have sex so we can experience spontaneity? If spontaneity is what we crave, can we achieve that with other methods? Understand why we feel the way we do about sex and ask ourselves, could I expand my sexual lens just a bit? Could there be something fun or cool about scheduling sex? Is it harmful for me/us to try? The really cool thing is that we can do that while staying within our own morals and values. We can perceive ourselves, our bodies, our relationships and our sexuality within bigger circles and allowing that within ourselves might just allow our circle to overlap with our partner’s circle in a greater way.
What benefits are there to scheduling specific days and times for sex?
Oh, think of the fun! Planning. Sending a flirtatious text during the day. 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 smile or a little thrill through both you and your partner. 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, so thereby adding spontaneity within a planned event. Have you ever had something happen that was spontaneous and memorable during a planned event, like a birthday party? The event itself does not need spontaneity to be wonderful and memorable.
Scheduling sex also creates some intention around sexuality. Have you ever gotten to the end of your day and wondered “what did I eat for lunch today?”. We often get so focused on getting the thing(s) done that we need to in a day, we forget to be intentional about how we experience the day, the world around us, or our partners. Many of us (although I would propose not enough of us!) have scheduled date nights right? We schedule them because we know life is busy, we know we might forget to take time to make eye contact with our partner and connect, we know we might just take our relationship for granted if we don’t put effort into creating space for it. So we put it on the calendar, we get a babysitter or send the kids to the grandparents or auntie’s house, and we go out on the town (or we stay in;)). And date night does not turn out to be less wonderful because it was planned. Scheduling a sex night is no different. We can create intention around this if it is important to us, and there can be all things amazing and wonderful within that time that you have both agreed you would meet.
I would also propose this. Sex may not be what you think it is. Scheduled sex nights are whatever you want them to be, and don’t necessarily have to include putting a penis inside a vagina. First of all, that would require that you have those body parts. Secondly, that would also require that those with vaginas see intercourse as “the main course”, which frankly just isn’t true and is not supported by the research. You know that appetizer, or bonus course that sometimes gets worked in ~3-5 minutes before the main course (some refer to this as foreplay)? That’s the actual main course for most people with vaginas. So that’s one version of sex. But how many other versions can you come up with? Let’s think about the why for a minute. Why do we have sex? Perhaps for eroticism, pleasure, connectedness, playfulness, orgasm, vulnerability, relaxation, a workout, satisfaction, etc. Are there other ways in addition to intercourse that we can achieve some of those things?
But here’s the last thing I’ll add about the benefits. In order to schedule sex, we have to talk about it with our partner. Communication about sex is key. And it can be so difficult and so awkward regardless of how long term the relationship is. Assumptions and “shoulds” are some of the biggest anti-aphrodisiacs available to us. Chances are, if you’re thinking it, your partner has thought it too, or at the very least, is open to hearing it. Take a chance on them. Empower them with the trust you know is in your relationship by telling them the thing you feel anxious about regarding sexuality. Think about the thing you’re holding back and ask yourself, “If this were flipped, would I want my partner to talk to me about it?” Even as our wants and needs change over life, we tend to assume our partner should know what they are without us having to say those terribly uncomfortable words! So sit down with them (outside the bedroom, not during sex!) and say something like “I wonder if we can talk about something that feels really uncomfortable for me to talk about?” And see where it goes from there! Or, see a certified sex counselor or therapist and they can help facilitate the conversations that work in your relationship.
*Notably, scheduling sex is not recommended when one or both partners has pain with sex or trauma. Instead of this creating something to look forward to, there can be anticipatory pain, anxiety, dread and PTSD. It is important to address pain, anxiety and trauma with a licensed professional prior to this type of intervention.
Who could benefit from scheduling sex?
Everyone (remember, it can be fun to expand your sexual menu!)
My last thoughts on scheduling sex!
What other wonderful things in life do we put the pressure of spontaneity on? Vacations? Dinner parties? Birthday parties? Many of these things are amazing and fulfilling events that we painstakingly plan, send “Save the Date” invites prior to the invites, and post all over our socials to be sure everyone is aware. But sex, this we hold to a different standard. Of all the reasons we decide we want to have sex, spontaneity might be only one of hundreds. 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.
Love and Lube!
See Nisha McKenzie, PA-C, CSC, NCMP, IF speak at a 2022 Skin, Bones, Hearts & Private Parts CME Conference. Click here to find out where you can see him live and in-person!