I remember years ago when I was in my early 20s seeing articles about couples that scheduled sex and gasping; the horror! In my mind, a life of scheduled sex was what nightmares were made of. Sex, we’re so often taught, is nothing if not spontaneous and impulsive—like in the shower at 6am to “take the edge off” right before you head to work for that big meeting.
Plot twist: this is my new version of a nightmare! Don’t you dare wake me up before 7am unless you’re my child, or alternatively, you’re surprising me with a tropical, child-less vacation. Honestly, even if you’re my child, I’m still a little annoyed you woke me up at 6am.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still very much believe that spontaneous sex is wonderful. My husband and I take full advantage of it when we are on childless vacations, but what 22-year-old me didn’t understand was that spontaneity and children are often mutually exclusive.
What 22-year-old me didn’t understand was that spontaneity and children are often mutually exclusive.
Here’s an example: recently, my husband walked by me in the kitchen and slapped my butt in a cute, flirty way. What followed was my toddler running over with his hands above his head, then slapping and smashing his face into my butt repeatedly while yelling “BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!” each time his face hit. This is not exactly my definition of foreplay.
Another example: we have always loved morning sex, but the idea of waking up at 4:30am to make sure we get it in without the potential of being interrupted by a high-pitched voice screaming “MAMA” from the other room is just not a turn on.
As if there aren’t enough reasons in early parenthood to justify scheduled sex, now we’re in the middle of a pandemic. If you’re a parent having consistent, spontaneous sex right now while also working full-time and parenting full-time, do us all a favor and write a book. But seriously, COVID-19 has put an undeniable strain on relationships and life in general, so if there was ever a time to try out scheduled sex, it’s now.
Every time I write “scheduled” in this article, I still cringe because there is something weird about it. No, I don’t send my husband a Google Calendar invite, and we don’t go back and forth saying “Oh no, I have a conflict then.” Rather, it’s usually more of a quick conversation while drinking a glass of wine on the couch. We figure out which days are super busy and which days we might be working late or have errands to run, and pretty much just pick a day we both think works best.
Is it a possibility that it would happen “spontaneously” that day otherwise? Sure. But imagine your day goes like this: you wake up early to work out. You have four stressful meetings back-to-back, eat black bean enchiladas for lunch (hello bloating), decide to take your kids on a long errand (that inevitably ends in a stressful tantrum), and order a heavy pizza because you didn’t get a chance to plan dinner.
You also kept putting off shaving, washing your hair, and potentially showering that day. You are dressed in leggings you’ve worn three days in a row and a stained shirt. Meanwhile, your partner has had a wonderful day, is in the mood, and tries to seduce you as soon as the kids are down. Sure, you could totally have sex, and there is some chance it could be great. But it’s not the ideal situation, and it’s never fun to have to let your partner down or be on the receiving end of being let down.
Scenario#2: you know you’re planning to have sex on Thursday evening. You shave, shower, and wash your hair or do whatever else you want to do that makes you feel good—whatever that means for you. It feels good to feel good.
You might think twice about a heavy lunch or eating something you know won’t sit well with your stomach. You plan your dinner ahead of time so you don’t even have to worry about having an 8pm “oh sh*t” moment where you have no idea what to make. You finish your work early so you have time to relax, get out of work mode, and maybe have a real happy hour. You enjoy a romantic dinner, great sex, and go to bed happy and satisfied (You could probably even sneak your skincare routine in there somewhere, but let’s not get crazy, I’m not the one trying to seduce you!) It’s like having a planned date night—you have something to look forward to all day and can be prepared. Sounds pretty ideal, right?
I guess the better question in all of this is why is it seen as a faux pas to schedule an orgasm? Even writing this has made me think I should schedule more orgasms in general, with or without my husband (like by myself, ha!). As women, and especially mothers, shouldn’t we be prioritizing pleasure whenever we can? I think so, and I think it just might make us happier in general. As a wise woman (Elle Woods) once said, “Happy people just don’t kill their husbands. They just don’t.”
If despite my reasoning, you’re still thinking scheduled sex sounds dull, I want to assure you it is not. Sex after kids has been the best, most liberating, and most pleasurable sex of my life. I wouldn’t consider myself modest and feel I have had plenty of enlightening and incredible sexual experiences in my life, but giving birth gave me a completely new respect for my body and myself that I didn’t even know was missing. It instilled a new confidence in me.
My husband also watched me create and nurture life; and if your partner doesn’t find that powerful and sexy, you’re with the wrong person. So no, our scheduled sex isn’t dull or boring; in fact, just the opposite. My husband and I have incredible, intimate, experimental, mind-blowing sex … it’s just sometimes scheduled. I hope you’ll try it too.