How we spend our time is what our life is made of, and our intimate relationships are a clear reflection of the time we invest in them.
Relationship growth is a capital investment in time and without it, deep connections wither on the vine. It is easy in this era of instant connectivity to lose sight of what it means to commit to the real face time that love demands. Arguably, making time for making love is a deeply meaningful measure of the health and sustainability of our relationships. This is especially true when we consider the outrageous scheduling demands that we agree to without hesitation for our intimate lives.
What makes scheduling time for sex so difficult?
In part, the idea of scheduling an intimate rendezvous still rings a bit taboo even among couples in committed relationships. I think this is because many of us still believe that sex should always be spontaneous and somehow planning it makes it less sexy, tainted with some neediness that no one wants to own up to. Deeper still, are the vestiges of shame and guilt that we must confront in actively planning our sex life. It isn’t just the thrill factor that we miss, like when we were teenagers on the den couch, sneaking whatever we could get before our parents came home, it is the lack of responsibility for our erotic selves that often stops us in our tracks. Planning time for sex forces us to claim the most unpredictable and, to some degree, uncontrollable parts of ourselves.
Befriending our erotic selves and planning for lovemaking amidst our regularly scheduled events bodes well for both the health and longevity of the body as well as the soul of the relationship. For many years, when our kids were small, we would save lovemaking for the last thing on the list. Arriving at our bedroom with our lowest ebb of energy after the kids were in bed, the bills were paid and all the lights turned off, often made the prospect of sex feel more like a chore than the deep release that I knew from memory was a worthy trade for sleep. Fitting sex into tiny slivers of our waking attention wasn’t successful in creating the spontaneous connection we felt was missing. Too often the exhausted late night energy was not enough to get us through the learning we were still doing about how to find pleasure together.
After we started to plan lovemaking dates, even the random late night interludes got more exciting. I remember one sunny afternoon sex date when we arranged for a babysitter that was so passionate because it was so different from our regular routine. Even the smallest changes of time and venue that your full attention can bring to a withering sex life is remarkable because making and fulfilling a love plan shows your partner that you are all in.
Over time, we developed code words that we would insert into the midst of the laundry list of pick-ups and drop offs for the day. The smallest of flirtations like this got me reserving my energy for our time together. Quickly, setting these dates to be together became a kind of foreplay that kept a sexual current alive between us. I needed that vital glue that the promise of his intimate attention offered me. Part permission to enter a fantasy life and part a genuine interest in my sex appeal, this connection adhered to us even in the most trying of times.
The more we shared this new invented language for our intimate lives, carving out times in the week that we planned as the best hours of our time together, the better the hours got. The challenging issues of initiating—who asked who, who said yes or no faded into memory as the intrigue of our game and the quality of our two-feet-in sex life grew. We were more playful together and the times when tempers flared over stupid household details we knew we were overdue for another sex date. Setting up times for regular lovemaking and cultivating a language of pleasure with your partner is the most powerful message of love you can send.
Scheduling time for lovemaking requires that we are able to take responsibility for our own erotic needs and desires and are willing to talk about these sexual life issues together. For many people, giving language to their desires or lack of them and speaking honestly and openly about sex is the biggest taboo of all. 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 are often able to get it, or at least move closer to it.
As our kids have grown up, they have figured out all our code words and will even sometimes drop one when things get tense at home. And while their growing independence has made it easier to make time at home alone, our commitment to planning for these best hours together is the only thing routine about finding each other intimately. Committing to the time to live in your erotic self with someone you love is the formula for the best hours life has to offer.
Editor: Brianna Bemel