During a ladies’ night a few months back, a friend casually mentioned that she had to leave early because she HAD to have sex at 6am the next morning. I laughed and was about to say something funny when another friend mentioned that she and her husband schedule sex for Wednesday evenings. It turns out that I was the only one at the table without a set ‘sexy time’ schedule!
Scheduling sex may not sound like the definition of romance – and certainly, if you had suggested such a concept in my heady youth, I would have pitied your lackadaisical sex drive. But given that sexual boredom and incompatibility are listed as two of the primary reasons for divorce in the U.S., it may be worth pulling out your weekly planner to schedule in a nooner.
We are a romantic species. As much as we may want to karate chop our partners when they – once again! – forget to clean the garage, we do not engage in sexual cannibalism like the preying mantis or the jumping spider. There is a reason why the romantic movie genre remains popular and why we are all subjected to Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ in middle school. We fundamentally believe that romance – and with it, the physical chemistry that usually accompanies such romance – should be spontaneous, cinematographically well-lit, and intensely passionate.
The reality though, especially after kids, is immensely disappointing by comparison.
Most moms I know are ‘touched out’. All day, every day, our beloved offspring are grabbing at us, sucking off of us, poking us, vomiting on us and demanding piggyback rides. We go through every day not feeling particularly sexual and have a hard time turning on the sexy switch when our significant others get home. Many of us would simply like the ability to pee by ourselves without one of our inquisitive children coming into the bathroom saying, ‘Mommy, I drew a circle. Want to see?’ On any given day, sex is the last thing on our mind, but we know that sex is fundamental to a healthy relationship, so as unromantic as it may seem, scheduling sex may be the answer.
After drinks with my friends a few months ago, I started looking into it. What makes sex sense in a modern relationship? I entered search words into Google – that should yield saucy advertising directed at me for months to come – and discovered that the concept of scheduling sex has gained considerable traction amongst marriage counselors. Interestingly enough, research indicates that it’s not a prescribed amount of sex per week that yields the best results, but the connection behind it. In other words, we can schedule sex one time a month or five times a week and the benefit, from a happiness perspective, is the same. It is the act of negotiating and communicating about our sexual needs with our partner that buffers our relationships from the inevitable valleys that accompany our (sexual) relationship peaks. It is important to prioritize quality over quantity.
With the daze of motherhood and all its many obligations and responsibilities, our libido might seem as important as screen doors on a submarine, but given that sex is the number one reason cited in over 15% of divorces, it’s probably worth having a conversation about where, when and, maybe, even how with our partners. Find a time when the tiny army you created are less likely to interrupt your escapades and create the intimate space needed to reconnect with the person with whom you’re raising that tiny army.
I wish you luck and lube, but for now, it’s time for me to sign off. I have somewhere to be…;-)
Disclaimer: Mom and Dad, I wish you wouldn’t read everything I write but don’t worry, this is all pure fiction. Your four grandchildren were delivered by the stork.