Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Sex Schedule

Have you and your spouse ever had a schedule for when you'd have sex?  Do you like the idea of planning for intimacy or does that seem like it would remove the spontinaity and romance?

For myself, the answer to these questions is yes, even though they seem contradictory.  My husband and I have had a set day for sex in the past and tried to stick to it or make up for it if the day was missed.  When we first decided to schedule our romps in the bedroom I was both reluctant and determined.  I worried that having a set time that my husband would be required to get physical with me might make me feel like more of an obligation than a partner.  I didn't want him to see me as a task on his to do (no pun intended) list instead of an object of desire.

I was also determined that it was a good course for us to take.  We have had many issues with neither one of us wanting to initiate sex so we would sometimes have long stretches of abstinence simply because neither one of us wanted to make the first move.  I was hopeful that having a day set in advance would alleviate the pressure on us and help us to make love more frequently. 

So we chatted about how often we would like to be intimate and decided on once a week.  This might seem like not very much to some and like a lot to others but at the time we were very sporadic and I think we were only doing it about once a month, if that.  We also had very mismatched libidos so once a week was a good compromise at the time.  We decided on Saturday nights.  With small kids and not a lot of extra money it was a day where we could be sure work wouldn't interfere and we could make it into a type of date night. 

I must confess, I felt a little bit weird about it at first.  I did worry that my husband was going along with it simply out of obligation rather than desire but it did tend to work alright for him (we had some problems with erectile dysfunction) so I figured it couldn't be all bad.  I soon discovered that this system worked well for us on a few levels.  It did remove the need for one of us to initiate and removed the possibility of rejection (one of the main deterrents of initiating).  It broke our cycle of abstinence and made sure we were connecting a lot more regularly.  Also, knowing the day and time that we would be intimate allowed us to build up some anticipation throughout the week.  We could prepare ourselves mentally and it gave us something to look forward to.  It definitely meant we were doing it a lot more often, so I started to resent him a little less and was a little less grumpy. 

After a while of this though it started to become a little contrived.  I started to feel like we could ONLY have sex on those days.  The possibility of a spontaneous weekday romp was nonexistent.  We became very routine and a little bit dull.  I started to have more and more trouble feeling wanted by him and my enjoyment decreased.  There were other factors happening at this same time.  I had started a friendship with a man who was quite complimentary and flirtatious so I began to resent my husbands treatment of me.  Eventually I lost my ability to climax with him. 

Years have passed since that point and we have done a lot of work, both together and separately, to improve our relationship.  I'm not sure how many relationships have gotten so close to the brink of destruction and come back but I am very glad that we did.  Today we have a really good relationship.  We are more open and honest with one another and we are intimate about twice a week.  We no longer schedule sex although we do still loosely stick to our Saturday night appointment. My husband is getting more and more comfortable with initiating.  Even our libidos are closer to matching.  For me, getting a better quality of connection has made each encounter more satisfying so I don't feel compelled to get it quite so often.  For my husband, it used to take about 45 min for him to be able to climax.  That was a big time investment, especially when there is young children and busy schedules.  Now that he has gotten more comfortable with how he works and we have practiced more the time investment is significantly less.  Practice really is helpful when it comes to understanding our own bodies and what works for us.   

We still definitely have our struggles and we are still working on issues of initiation and routine.  Though we no longer schedule our sex it was a great method of getting us out of a slump, restoring a little confidence and gaining a bit of experience.  I don't know that I would want to keep things like that forever but it wasn't nearly as clinical and forced as I thought it would be. 

In marriages the "job" of initiating sex usually goes to the one that has the higher libido but that leads to that person being turned down and rejected quite often.  This can be very hard to deal with and will often cause the initiator to stop.  Once they stop making themselves vulnerable in this way you will most likely see a slump in the frequency of sex.  This might seem like a good thing to the person with the lower libido but in reality it is only driving a wedge between you.  If the person with the lower libido is not comfortable initiating (like in my situation) then maybe a period of scheduled sex is just what your marriage needs to take the pressure off and help you to reconnect and learn some new skills. 

Though I'm happy to be a bit more spontaneous today, I do really appreciate the freedom and experience we gained from out time of scheduled sex.  It's possible you could benefit from something like this too.  After all, practice makes perfect.  (Well, maybe not perfect but certainly a lot better!)

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