Marriage Monday: Scheduling Sex

Mark teases that Is There Really Sex After Kids? is the book he’s most astonished that I wrote.  He has reason to feel that way because our physical relationship was at the core of much of our marriage conflict and frustration for the first 10 years of our marriage.

It was during marriage counseling that we were introduced to the concept of scheduling sex.  It was a radical thought that we weren’t real open to considering at first.  We can truly say, however, that this concept has completely changed our marriage.

Today we’ll each share from our own perspective:

Mark says…

When the concept of scheduling sex was first introduced to me, I wasn’t interested.  Sex isn’t supposed to be scheduled…it’s supposed to be spontaneous!

Then I had to ask myself who actually determined that sex had to be spontaneous.  Was it the movies I’ve seen?  The television shows I’ve watched?  Maybe it was a message that was communicated in the pornography I’d seen and read for too many years.

When we decided to give it a one-month trial, the first thing I noticed was that having an agreed upon time for sex took “the ask” off the table.  It removed the rejection I always feared in asking.  I was astonished at the freedom I felt by simply knowing when it would happen.  (We discovered a key to making this agreement successful is that it is scheduled less often than the person with more desire would like and more often than the person with less desire would like.  It’s meeting in the middle and cooperating.)

I also thought it would rob us of spontaneity.  Instead I found that it was no different than putting a date on the calendar to spend time together.  We’ll plan to meet a friend for lunch.  We’ll plan to meet another couple for dinner.  Why not plan for some time for us to be together physically on a regular basis? 

As far a spontaneous physical intimacy, I actually found I desired it less because now I knew—for sure—when it would happen.  And if I did desire it in between our “dates” I was ok with a yes or a no response far more than I was before. 

As a man, I worried that this would be contrived and even awkward.  I found, however, quite the opposite.  In fact, I can say that the quality of our sexual intimacy improved because we were both fully engaged in our times together.

Practically speaking, it was one of the best things we’ve ever done to keep the passion in our relationship.  It kept us connected emotionally and physically even in the midst of raising a busy family.

Jill says…

I had some of the same worries Mark had.  Even though I personally desired it less, I still didn’t want our sex life on a clock of some sort.

What I found, however, is that one of the reasons I desired sex less often is because I thought about sex less often.  By “scheduling sex” I actually found that it increased my desire!  Seriously!  You see, it made me think about sex far more often than I was before.

By knowing when our time together would be, I could prepare both mentally and physically.  I used to tease Mark that this helped me know when to shave my legs!  But preparing physically really did help me get “in the mood.”

When the kids were little, there were even days that I chose to take a nap when they did in the afternoon simply because I knew that “tonight was the night.”  This helped to not be too tired.

I can truly say that scheduling sex transformed our physical relationship and made a huge difference in our marriage.

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 If you’ve had alot of conflict in your marriage about sex, why don’t you give it a try for a month?  See if it makes a difference!  If you’re interested in reading more about this concept, I wrote an article for Marriage Partnership Magazine that is still available online for both you and your spouse to read.  You can read “Scheduling Intimacy” online here.

What about you?  How have you made intimacy a priority in your marriage?

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7 Responses to Marriage Monday: Scheduling Sex

  1. ARK says:

    I think that it is a nice theory, I just don't see how to do it with small child or that matter being pregnant which I am now, due next month as a matter of fact. While God has shown me a lot about intamacy with my husband, we're not to scheduling it yet. How can we even do it, we're a military family with a sparatic schedule – it may sound like I am making excuses, but I just don't think this really can work for my husband and I.

    I would love to hear any thoughs,
    Ash

  2. Wani says:

    We're at the beginning of the "desert" following the birth of our third child. This is a hard time because we cannot do all the things that we normally do – and obviously my interest is less than usual and I'm more tired. So… we try to do what we can to stay connected physically until we can resume normal activities. ;-)

  3. Jill says:

    Ash,

    Definitely late pregnancy and the 6 or so weeks after the little one will affect any type of "scheduling sex." And if the physical relationship isn't a problem in your marriage, you may not need to.

    However, if you are dealing with two completely different sex drives and there is frustration, it's worth considering.

    Having a small child (toddler/preschooler) really should affect a schedule. You'll likely have your "date" when the little one is in bed…or even napping.

    Does that help?

  4. Heather F. says:

    Ladies-I took this to a different level. My husband and I are past the problem of who wants it more than the other. We do have a 4 (almost 5) year old and a 2 year old. So, I know about the trials of trying to have sex when you never know if a little one is gonna wake up. Persistence is key, and making it a priority is important. But I digress. I read this last Monday and thought of a plan. I sent my hubby a text message at work (he teaches in a charter school in a very poor housing project in Chicago). All the message said is if you feel tired later take a little nap, as I plan on keeping you up awhile tonight. Clean enough if seen by the wrong person, it would be okay, enough to get my point across to him. Then while he was showering and getting ready for bed, I found a sexy nightie to wear. What I can tell you is that a student (4th grade) commented on how much happier he was on Tuesday. What did that require of me? An extra 5 minutes of my day (well plus the time for intimacy-but that benefits me as well ;) and it made a huge impact on my hubby!!!!

  5. Jill says:

    Heather…you inspire me! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Heather Finnegan says:

    No Jill-you inspire me! I have read, Creating the mom's group you are looking for, Living with Less so your family can have more, Professionalizing Motherhood, and My Hearts at home. The last 3 since the conference in March. I am eagerly awaiting Real Moms, Real Jesus-that I just ordered from Borders.com. I also forward your Marriage Monday, posts to at least 5 friends. I coordinate a mom's group at our Lutheran Church. I see how mom's need mothering. Thanks for giving me to tools to help my moms!

  7. Michelle says:

    We are there. And dare I say, I don't want ANY sex. Of course he does all the time. But I never get anything except nasty sexual comments, and groping, even when I just walk by him. Maybe this is worth a shot, but my heart is NOT in it at all.