Making time for sex and intimacy is difficult - and nearly impossible for those of us living in the Bay Area. Add children to the mix and forget about claiming a moment for yourself, let alone getting busy with your partner! Most couples that I work with have many practical explanations as to why they don’t have time to connect. In some respects, my life is similar to the lives of my clients, as I myself suffer from being over-scheduled and overextended. I run my own business, have a thriving social life, exercise several times a week, co-parent a teenager, travel, and find time to rest… oh, and I have a ton of sex! Having time for sex is not actually an issue of time, but rather an appraisal of priorities. We make time for what is most important to us. Full stop.
I’ve been dating my partner for over two years, and if we are sleeping in the same bed we are probably going to have sex. On an average week, we have sex at least seven times. We double up on some days when we feel inspired, and rest on days we have less energy. We have this much sex because it is a huge priority for both of us and we place it before many things that others may prioritize first. The truth is that sex does not just happen. We have to make it happen, and that could include scheduling time.
When couples come to me with the goal of reigniting their sex lives I inevitably recommend they schedule time for intimacy, nurturing connection and even sex - then I brace for their cringe. I wouldn’t be surprised if you also felt resistance while reading the previous sentence. The most common response to my suggestion of scheduling is that planned intimacy lacks “spontaneity and romance”. There is also a concern that planned sex will feel forced or unnatural. “Sex should just happen,” my clients often inform me. And although sex isn’t ‘just happening’ for them, they have a deep-rooted belief that it should.
I find it fascinating that this belief is so pervasive, yet in direct conflict with our culture’s most common mating ritual, dating. Planning time to have sex is actually a huge part of American culture! In the early stages of most relationships we schedule dates, and after a certain number of dates, sex begins to happen during the date. This can go on for weeks, months, and even years. Thus, even though we may not be consciously aware of it, we are scheduling sex into these dates much like we schedule the dinner or movie beforehand. When the relationship progresses to cohabitation, there may be a spike in sexual activity because once again things are new and exciting. But after a while, couples become accustomed to each other’s presence and take certain aspects of the relationship for granted; namely sex and romance.
If you’ve read this far, I hope you find this post to be the rallying cry that I have intended. This is the time to reassess priorities. If you want to have more sex in your relationship, the first step is to create more opportunity in which sex is a possibility. That means scheduling date nights a couples times a month, meeting at home for a midday quickie, skipping happy hour with coworkers, and watching your latest Netflix obsession after you and your sweetie get busy.
I know you're tired, I’m tired too. And sometimes it won’t happen. Even when you make time, get the kids to bed early, and finish those final emails before 9pm. Sometimes you are just too tired. And that’s okay. If you don’t have the energy to play, you can use that time to connect intimately with your partner in other ways such as cuddling, massaging each other, etc. Although these activities aren’t sex, they will strengthen your bond and create intimacy that will support future attempts to connect sexually.