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Could Scheduling Sex Save Your Relationship or Kill It?

Does sending a partner a calendar invitation for sex ruin the mood?

Key points

  • There are pros and cons to planned intimacy.
  • Scheduled sex doesn't have to mean boring sex.
  • Talking about your sexual needs is essential to intimacy planning.
Billion Photos/Shutterstock
Source: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

When a colleague told me to watch the popular streaming series Queen Charlotte, I was hesitant. Nonetheless, I turned it on while I was checking emails one afternoon, and I was hooked by the end of the opening scene.

Spoiler Alert!: During the middle of the season, we learn that Queen Charlotte and King George are on a sex schedule, and, boy, do they hold to that schedule!

This brings us to an important topic, and one that couples talk/fight about frequently: Is scheduling sex wrong?

The Pros of Scheduling Sex

  • It builds excitement. When we have fun planned on our calendars, we look forward to it. It's a lot like having amazing lasagna on Sunday evening for dinner and knowing that you have leftovers for Monday. For those of us who get excited about food (like me), we can already taste the lasagna as we leave the office. Similarly, scheduling sex with your partner could build anticipatory excitement, which may be part of foreplay for many people.
  • We keep the time protected. If you have a meeting planned with a workgroup at 2 p.m. and someone else asks to meet, you would decline the meeting. Scheduled sex (in theory) should work the same way: If it's on your calendar and you treat it like you would a meeting, you would keep the time protected if someone asks you to stay at work later. This protected time is something many couples need because the busyness of life can edge out any spontaneous fun.
  • It helps you avoid sex droughts. If you identify time on your schedule, you can't go through long periods without intimacy, unless you are working hard to avoid each other. Sex droughts can cause resentment between partners, leaving one or both feeling unwanted, uncared for, and unattractive.
  • It creates intentionality. Scheduling sex may support your efforts to be intentional and conscious about prioritizing your relationship. Proponents of planning sex point out that making it a "calendar event" communicates just how important it is to you. It's a nod to "I want to be sure that my day doesn't end without having done it (literally)."

The Cons of Scheduling Sex

  • It can kill spontaneity. It's important to note that every couple doesn't need this type of spice, although many do benefit from it. Most couples don't want to be in a sexually predictable spot for too long. If you're the couple that is OK with not being spontaneous, don't count this as a con. However, suppose you are a couple who tends to get into a rut. In that case, scheduling sex is an accelerated path to Queen Charlotte and King George's arrangement.
  • Scheduled tasks sometimes lack intimacy. We typically schedule work tasks, not fun tasks (except vacations). For example, most people don't plan getting ice cream with the kids or watching a movie with their partner. These are activities for which we create time. Scheduling sex, then, could signal to your partner that intimate time is "work."

Bottom Line

There is no cut-and-dried answer to this question. The truth is that scheduling sex is only "wrong" if both partners believe that it harms their relationship. With the stress of work, children, and aging parents, for example, many couples plan sex because they want to be as intentional about the relationship as they are about every other important task. Others scoff at the idea that sex is a "task."

Keep in mind that scheduling sex doesn't connote boring sex. The act of planning sex and the act of doing it are different. In other words, just because it's scheduled for Tuesday doesn't mean you can't experiment when you get to bed.

If y'all are on different pages (i.e., one of you is OK with planned intimacy, and the other is totally put off by it), find some middle ground.

Spoiler Alert! If you finish the first season of Queen Charlotte, you find out that scheduled sex was definitely not dull—especially when it happened at the breakfast table in front of the castle staff.

More from La Keita D. Carter PsyD., LP
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