Hear Me Out, Scheduling Sex Can Be Great And Here’s Why

When there is a lull in the intimacy department what I hear most often from couples if I suggest scheduling sex is they do not want to do it. When people think of scheduling sex, I think the first words that come to mind include boring, lame, and not exciting. We receive so many messages about sex and how it should be Fun! Exciting! Spontaneous! Passionate! So why can’t scheduled sex be that way?

Listen, we all have busy lives. Partners have work stress, family stress, and childcare. We have to make dinner, do household chores, and help with homework. It can be hard enough to find time for intimacy as it is. I often hear attempts are made right as couples are climbing into bed themselves at the end of the night. When couples are done with the day and one partner wants to initiate sex, it can end up feeling like poor timing. This can lead to feelings of rejection, feeling alone, or feeling unwanted in the partner who is initiating; and stress or pressure for the partner who is declining sex. This sexual cycle then repeats itself over and over again.

What I also tend to find is happening in this sexual cycle is that partners are less affectionate in between times when they have sex. They are not touching, hugging, kissing, or cuddling. This tends to be the case because the partner with lower desire is afraid their partner will see these actions as an invitation for sex. Therefore, in order to avoid any misinterpretations, partners then decide not to engage in affectionate touch. This pattern leaves both partners missing out on opportunities to connect physically and emotionally.

Here’s why our sex therapists say scheduling sex can have some benefits:

You have something to look forward to. Have you ever gotten tickets for an event and counted down the days for it? Or had a date night planned at the end of the week and couldn’t wait for it to be here? That is how scheduled sex can be. It can be seen as another way partners are being intentional to carve out time for one another and anticipation has time to grow before the “scheduled time.” Couples can send flirty texts, share a lingering kiss, or drop hints of what’s to come.

This is a date. In many relationships there was perhaps more courting at the start of their relationship. Partners put in effort to make dates special in the past. You can still make it special now. Partners can wear something they feel confident in, they can give massages, dance together, etc. This is a time to enjoy each other romantically, intentionally.

What you do is up to you. While the time is scheduled, the activities are not. During the scheduled time, how partners engage sexually is completely up to them. This is where playfulness and spontaneity come in. Couple can be flirty, be passionate, be soft, and be seductive. It does not need to be boring or routine.

It takes the pressure off. Typically partners have different levels of desire. Scheduling sex can take the pressure off both partners. Scheduling sex lets the partner who wants more sex know it will happen and when, so they are not left guessing. Perhaps the frequency will not be as often as hoped, but it will not be never. It takes the mystery out of wondering when the next sexual encounter will be and leads to less of a “chasing their partner” for sex. This can also help them feel more patient for the lower-desire partner. Secondly, the lower desire partner feels relieved from the pressure. This partner is often paying attention to the calendar thinking to themselves “we haven’t had sex in a week,” “how long before my partner starts to ask me.” This now frees up the lower-desire partner from emotions of anxiousness and guilt.

Schedule not-sex (optional). This is where sex is off the table completely. In between the scheduled sex times, couples agree not to have sex at any other time. This means if the lower desire partner kisses or cuddles their partner, it will be understood that these are not invitations for sex. Even if the lower desire partner wanted to sleep naked, this would not be an invitation for sex. For the partners who are not wanting sex as frequently, this takes pressure off them. For couples who schedule sex, the lower desire partner can know they can be affectionate, kiss, make out, cuddle, and know it is not going to lead to sex. The physical affection that has been absent in between sexual encounters can slowly return to the relationship.

*Scheduling not-sex can be optional depending on the couple. Some couples find that scheduled sex leads to more initiating and increased intimacy outside of the schedule. In cases like these, we would not want to limit their connection when it begins to happen effortlessly.

This solution to schedule sex is meant to be temporary.

If partners are wanting to try scheduling sex, both partners must be on board with what that will look like for them. For some couples, if the higher desire partner attempts to initiate sex during not-sex, the lower desire partner can feel angry, hurt, and distrustful that sex is not off the table. For couples that begin scheduling sex and after some time begin initiating outside of the “scheduled times” freely, this is a different sexual dynamic that does not need the parameter of no-sex. Every couple is different; therefore, it is important for them to discuss what scheduling sex will look like for them and for what period of time.

For couples stuck with a negative sexual pattern, we know this pattern has grown to exist over time. We want to give both partners a chance to step out of their classic sexual cycle where one partner chases for sex and the other partner distances. What we know about cycles is that there are attachment needs beneath these patterned moves. We want couples to slow down to be able to hear what the current pattern is making them feel about the relationship, themselves, and their partner. Scheduling sex temporarily pauses the current pattern until more work can be done to allow a new and more connecting pattern to emerge. We want to create more understanding between partners about the meaning of sex for each of them so they can honor how they both feel when it comes to sex and create more enjoyable intimacy.

If you have any questions about Therapy With Heart’s services please contact us.


Raquel Daniels


(480) 203-2881
8737 E. Via De Commercio, Suite 200 Scottsdale, Arizona 85258