When you consider the outrageous scheduling hoops we agree to without qualm in our work setting, or even more intensely in managing our children’s activity calendar, it makes you wonder how the idea of scheduling intimacy could still be so taboo.
Yet, taboo it is, with an overriding belief that sex and intimacy are somehow tainted if they are not spontaneous and immediate. This belief system is connected to the shame and guilt we carry around from our adolescence when we could only describe a make-out session if we could first say, “I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly we were just doing it!” We can only fully embrace our sexuality if it just happens to us. Planning for it forces us to claim the most unpredictable, and to some degree uncontrollable, part of our life.
There are a lot of good reasons to start including love time in your regular schedule. Leaving love to the spontaneous in a life that is overbooked with commitments to family and careers, means that our love often gets the lowest ebb of our energy. Most of us arrive at our bedrooms exhausted, finally turning away from the last email, the last bill to be paid, the last dish to be washed, the last light turned off. Even the most spontaneous among us can barely muster the energy of imagining a wild interlude at that moment.
Planning love dates can add excitement to the rest of the week. Looking forward to an intimate time, which can but doesn’t have to include full-on sex, can be both relaxing and stimulating. Couples that are struggling to find physical connection may find it easier to agree to mutual massages than to envision hours of lovemaking. Either way, setting aside time and energy for your partner sends a message that sustains commitments. While my husband and I don’t have set days of the week, we do agree to “dates” either later in the day or the next day. Setting this time for lovemaking becomes part of the foreplay and gives permission to entertain thoughts that might come in handy later.
Inventing a shared language for intimacy connects partners. Revisiting the art of flirting can spice up even the most common of conversations, “What’s for dinner?” suddenly has multiple meanings. We are more playful with each other when we are waiting for our date time. Unfulfilled or, even worse, conflicting expectations about intimacy are often the most difficult ground for couples to maneuver. This is where communication is the currency of the relationship on every level.
Learning to schedule time for love requires that we acknowledge and are willing to talk about our sex life together. This is challenging because the taboo is so strong against speaking honestly and openly about sex. Yet developing a language for love is one of the strongest predictors of having a good sex life. Couples who can talk about what they want or prefer in their physical lives, may actually be able to get it. Code words are okay; they may even add some excitement to the game.
First and foremost, make time to play.