Scheduling Sex and Other Such Tales

People write me about one topic more than other: Sex. It seems that many of us aren’t having the kind of sex life we imagined we would once we were married. It seems that more of us are having a lot less sex than we ever expected.

I’ve had husbands write me confessing that they haven’t slept with their wives in a year, after having only been married for 3. I’ve had wives email me, explaining that they simply don’t feel sexual and have therefore just “let sex go.”

But where is the outcry? Where are the calls for healthier, better, and more realistic expectations for sex in marriage? I, for one, am grieved when I think of how many married couples aren’t, well, getting any.

Instead of people writing about and talking about sex in marriage from a practical standpoint, what we find more of is unhelpful banter on the subject. I recently read a post over at Stephanie Druy’s blog Stuff Christian Culture Likes (a blog I happen to thoroughly enjoy, by the way) that says scheduling sex, for instance, is a bad thing that far too many Evangelicals have latched onto in marriage.

I have to say…I couldn’t disagree more.

I’d argue that scheduling sex is one way of ensuring a great sex life. Intrigued? I bet you are. Read on, my friend, read on…

You see, opponents of scheduling sex claim that it somehow takes the romance, spontaneity, and fun out of doing the deed. Miss Drury explains it like this, in a funny little anecdote:

The husband waits for the appointment panting and wagging. The wife is grateful for each day that isn’t the designated Sex Day and when it arrives she wonders what’s wrong with her. He’s just so eager and unable to connect unless it involves their junk. But the sex date is as good as it gets. At least they’re doing it.

I Schedule. Do You?

Now, I’m gonna let you all in on a little secret– My husband and I schedule sex. There, I said it. We have a calendar and on it we actually write “Mandatory Tuesday,” and “Optional Friday.” We aim for at least 2 times a week, but 3 is ideal. Am I sharing too much? Too bad. There’s more…

You see, I’ll be the first to admit that scheduling sex does not automatically make me swoon and fall into bed all a-flutter. I’d love to have spontaneous, rousing, foreplay-filled sessions of lovemaking, but oh yeah, I have three kids age 5 and under. I’m freakin’ tired.

And oh yeah, guess what else? Life is busy. My husband is an entrepreneur with unpredictable work hours from time to time. And yeah, we’re in ministry and we have a social life and everything else that takes up our time and energy.

Dare I say, that if it were not for scheduling sex, I doubt it would happen nearly as regularly as it should. Maybe when my kids are older, scheduling will become less of a necessity, but as of right now, it works for us.

To the Naysayers

Now, allow me to address the naysayers who call scheduled sex boring and unromantic. You know what is really boring and unromantic (not to mention sad)? Christian marriages that have fallen victim to the lie that good sex in marriage isn’t possible.

I would rather set a date on a calendar than allow my marriage bed to dry up. I want a lover, not a roommate. More than that, I refuse to hold sex captive like so many women do. I will not withhold sex from my husband if every single one of my prerequisites aren’t met.

Women tend to think that unless they are in the mood, sex is a no go. Well, I ask you: Is your husband always in the mood to serve you? Take out the trash? Pay the bills? Go to work?

We hate thinking of sex in these terms because we so desperately want to exclude it from being a “task” or a “chore.” And it’s not. It shouldn’t be, but it is an obligation. Yes, an obligation in marriage. Newsflash: people get married and expect to have sex. It is also required in order to ensure a healthy marriage. A good marriage with little or no sex is not a healthy marriage. Don’t be fooled.

Important Enough?

We prioritize everything else in life. We make time and make room for all kinds of things. We DVR our favorite shows so we don’t miss them (anyone else dyyyyying for Breaking Bad to come back?). Heck, we schedule appointments for our teeth, our dogs, our cars, but not our sex life?

We expect for good sex and frequent sex to just somehow magically happen in marriage without the effort or care we place on so many less important things. We think wrongly that marriage is the guarantee of a good sex life, when in fact, we are the guarantee of a good sex life…or not.

Either it’s important or it’s not. Either we find creative and practical ways to make sex a reality or we don’t. We can’t have it both ways. And I’ve found that one way to show how important sex in my marriage really is, is to circle the date on the calendar. I look forward to those days and wouldn’t you know, so does my husband. Go figure.

Scheduling sex? Good? No good? Undecided or unsure? What do you do in your own marriage to keep things spicy? No need to be explicit, just explain.

image props here

24 thoughts on “Scheduling Sex and Other Such Tales”

  1. Very wise words. One of the things that can kill a marriage very quickly is the lack of intimacy between husband and wife. And if one of the spouses uses it as a weapon to get what they want then the chance of intimacy is completely blown out of the water.

  2. I think scheduling sex is better than not having sex at all. Sex is an important part of marriage and it’s important that each couple does what is right for them.

    I also think that for those couples that you mentioned Nicole that were complaining about their sex lives, that they need to examine their marriages to see if they are following biblical principles. Is the man loving his wife as Christ loves the church? Is the woman submitting and respecting her husband?

    There should be a greater emphasis on the husbands role of loving his wife as Christ loves the church. He is called to be the leader and if he’d just love his wife the way that she needs to be loved and spoke her love language, then she will want to have sex with him.

    Christians should be having the best most passionate sex out there because we have the Author of sex to show us how to have a relationship.

    1. Peter, you said so much great stuff and I happen to agree wholeheartedly. I think husbands really understanding and walking in their role of loving their wife as Christ loves the church is key.

      I think too, that many wives don’t know what it really means to respect their husbands.

      But you nailed it…Christians should be having the best sex. God created it for us. He made it to enjoy and we ought to expect that He will help us to do so in our marriages.

  3. I think I just bookmarked a new blog (thanks for the ht).

    I think whatever works to make both parties satisfied should be the way to go. Very rarely do you speak to a husband and a wife together and they both agree that they are BOTH sexually satisfied. More often than not, someone’s not getting what they need.

    In a world like today, we should all be very careful how we “feed” our spouses. You can be sure that if you don’t feed your spouse well and often, there’s someone else is willing to do it. We can fight all we want to convince ourselves that the food at home is a lot better, even if you eat once a month, but when you start realizing that there are plenty of cooks who are willing to feed you to your heart’s content, there is a great danger in it.

    Both the husband and the wife should make every effort to make sure that no-one can give your spouse what you give them. Be it sexually, emotionally or romantically. I wish us Christians really believed what the bible says about our bodies belonging to our spouses, not to us. We gave the deed at the altar to our bodies. Christian marriages need to stop depriving each other of sex. It’s biblical and the only exception is by agreement and only for a time, and only to devote ourselves to prayer. There’s also a sense of urgency to come together again because that’s when Satan tempts us. But we ignore those passages. We prefer to focus on the ones that make us feel better about ourselves.

    One last thing. A sexually satisfied couple is spiritually mature and closer to God. We need to stop looking at sex as “foreign” when it’s the most natural and holy thing a married man and woman can do in the presence of their God.

    P.S. I calendar too.

    1. Moe, I so dig what you’re saying about “feeding” our spouses and how we need to ensure that they cannot be fed by anyone other than us.

      This is so crucial and profound and yet I doubt many Christians think this way. And I’m so there with you on our bodies belonging to our spouses. It is so counter to what the world teaches and I think many believers have fallen for the world’s lie, not the Bible’s truth.

      I’ll be writing about this topic is the next couple of weeks too.

      Thanks Moe for another great comment and here’s to calendaring!

  4. Sex is sex. Sometimes it’s romantic and emotion-filled. Sometimes you have bad sex- but it is still sex- so it can’t be THAT bad.

    I am giggling at your article because my husband and I have a sex schedule. It revolves around when the Army says we can be physically together to have it! LOL

    Seriously, we don’t take sex for granted because we have to go so long without it, so frequently. And sex gets better and better the longer you are married- as long as you are having it and enjoying growing more intimate with each other. The fumbly stupid sex we had as teens is nothing compared to the fumbly stupid sex we have at 12 years married. I wouldn’t trade a bad night of sex now for 5 great nights of sex 10 years ago. EVER.

    Bottom line, schedule sex. And have it- often. If you do something long enough and often enough. . . ;-)

    1. Aadel, you’re so right about sex getting better. When my hubster and I were engaged we took a pre-marital class. One of the week’s we discussed sex. The speaker that week assured us that sex in marriage just gets better and that he and his wife didn’t “hit their stride” until year 10. We laughed, but always held onto that story.

      Here we are, 6 years in and can say the same thing. I think it speaks so much to God’s plan for marriage–two people becoming one, laying down their lives for each other, growing in intimacy–all of that happens to carry over to the bedroom too. So cool…

      Thanks for your personal, funny, and wise comment!

      1. Yes! Sometimes it takes years to become comfortable enough with each other to hit your stride- or hit an even better stride! It comes from knowing each other better each year.

  5. Ha ha… i had to laugh when i saw this.

    I am a Christian and have chosen the celibate route for a while. But i was married when i was a heathen backslider! lolz

    I had way more sex before marriage… And apparently everyone else does too! ha ha..
    But that really messes with being a Christian!

  6. I think when you have toddlers it is very common to schedule sex. When my kids were toddlers my playgroup moms would joke about today I have to make sure I shave my legs! Great topic Nicole!

  7. Over thirty years… and it’s great!

    But it only happens when He is loving her as Christ loves the church, and she is respecting him as the church respects Christ. Yes, I know it’s already been said over and over and even earlier in this blog post, but unless both the husband and wife have a truly honest examination of themselves, regardless of the performance of the spouse, and do their own part properly and completely and without reservation, it will not work. Each will retreat into their own world of hurt and rejection and sex will become a wilted flower, a memory of earlier happier days.

    Want great sex?

    1. Repent of any pre-marital (even with your eventual spouse) or extra-marital sex you have ever had. Determine and covenant with God that your spouse will be your only emotional, romantic, or sexual partner in your thoughts, desires, and actions. No more daydreams of past partners. No imagining what it would be like with that co-worker or neighbor or movie star. If you need a reminder of this covenant, put a post-it note on your bathroom mirror that says “Only You”

    2. Forgive your spouse entirely for everything you are holding in your heart against them. Forgive them to the extent that you want them and God to forgive you, both in this life and in the Final Judgment.

    3. Thank God abundantly that He would give you someone to go through this life alongside you, to support you in times of trial and weakness, and to rejoice with you in times of joy. There are lots of wonderful people in this world who do not have the gift you have been given.

    4. Ask God to reveal to you the areas in which you have not lived up to the biblical standards of compassion, kindness, encouragement, gentle words, acts of service, extreme patience, goodness, respect, and being a blessing to your spouse. If needed, make a to-do list with specific words and actions you need to speak and perform, and do it! Use your calendar for these, if necessary.

    5. Confess to your partner those things that you have done or omitted which have not been in line with God’s standards for you and your relationship. Only confess your own sins; do not bring up any of theirs. Let them do that, even if they need more time than you did. The more mature partner always confesses first.

    6. Choose to love and respect one another, unconditionally. Choose to consider your mate to be more important than yourself, and make their happiness your goal. Keep pushing toward that goal line!! Keep thinking about how to bless your spouse above all others.

    7. Plan how to demonstrate your love and thankfulness for your spouse. Put your plans on your calendar (we haven’t gotten to sex quite yet). Do you need to plan a date, fix a special meal, buy a gift, watch their favorite show with them, take a walk together, just listen to them talk about their day? Your spouse is worth it!!! Your relationship is worth it!!! Bless your mate!!!!!

    8. Consider ahead of time how you would like to please your spouse sexually. Regardless of their actions or inaction, think seriously about how you will bless them in bed (or wherever).

    Spend the time and energy to go through all these steps thoroughly, and prepare to get a re-energized sex life. Some of these items will need to be carried out only once, but others need to be repeated regularly. If this recipe does not soon transform your sex life, then care enough about yourself and your spouse and your relationship and your children to humble yourselves and get counseling now. Stop and fix it! God wants your marriage to be blessed!!!

  8. Holy crap! I hope hope hope that I get to schedule sex some day here…soon. I’m 39, male, and … glurp … single! My take is that scheduling intimacy is a display of maturity and intentionality. “let me pencil you in” should not be heard as “I don’t have much time for you.” it should be taken as, “I find you to be so important that I’m going to put it in writing and intentionally spend that time with you and you only.”

  9. Sex sex sex Ok I have said it. Many times I find this fallen world beyond frustrating. It takes such a beautiful thing like sex and makes it a taboo subject within the Christian community. This article gave the perfect opportunity to have a frank and Godly conversation with my girlfriend about sex WITHIN marriage. Just to ensure that no one jumps to a conclusion note I said within marriage not before. Keep up the great writing Nicole.

  10. Okay, so clearly I’m a little late to the discussion here, but I just found you via Twitter (thanks for the follow!), and am stalking…errr…perusing your blog like crazy. So first, hi. I like you already.

    Secondly, I couldn’t agree more with this article. My husband and I started scheduling sex almost as soon as we got married. Not because we had to force ourselves. Not because we weren’t attracted to each other. Not because it was a chore. We did it because even as young 20 somethings without kids life gets crazy busy and we knew to have a healthy marriage, we needed to be having some healthy sex. And if something’s a priority, you make time for it. Plus, I found I actually really looked forward to these scheduled days. Having something on the calendar gave me time to get in the write mindset, spend a little extra time on my makeup, or save up some energy during the workday for that special night. Who says scheduling can’t be sexy??

  11. We’re trying this now… it’s not working out well yet, but we’re keeping at it. I have the double edged sword of: we don’t have sex ever, so we need to schedule it vs. scheduling it forces him, and who wants their husband to be forced to sleep with them? I’ll provide background for anyone who is about to read this comment and ask questions putting the blame on me: I am an attractive, confident, high libido, dedicated wife. I am often the initiator and often (way often) rejected. This is not a situation of “just tempt him more” or “don’t let yourself go”. It’s been 2 years of “my husband doesn’t know why he doesn’t ever want to sleep with me”. I see the sense in scheduling it, I know that I want it fixed it’s just such an awkward, painful process. I’m in it, though.

    1. I understand your pain, candidnikki. You are not alone. I am 12 years into a marriage where this has been the situation. We couldn’t agree on calendar scheduling terms. Sometimes he avoids me or picks fights. I tried to convince him with scripture (1 Corinthians 7:5 among others). I’ve tried many medications to decrease my libido, but nothing worked (and some I could not stay on for long anyway because of serious medical side effects). Focus on the Family’s website has some good articles, but my husband won’t go to a dr. or a counselor to find out what the problem is ‘because it’s my problem, not his’. I have given up cajoling, begging, crying, and feeling sorry for myself. I have started letting him know how appreciative I am for the other things he does for me, and started praying about this. But I pray that God will change my needs rather than praying that my husband will change. And when I’m tempted to sin because of my needs not being met, I pray Philippians 4:8 and other verses. I’m counting on God to be strong in my weakness.

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