Due to the enforcement of circuit-breaker measures, all of us are mostly indoors and this translates to more couples getting to spend a lot of time together. But before you go rejoicing over a potential boom in “Coronial baby” birthrates, relationship experts have forecasted that more time spent together does not necessarily lead to more intimacy; on the contrary, most couples have reported less action between sheets. Psychologists and therapists have an answer to this troubling problem – scheduled sex.
Here a few tried tips and tricks to iron the kinks out of the situation and make it work for you.
In a world of uncertainty, scheduled sex can work on your behalf. Photo: iStock
Why has Intimacy Reduced Among Couples?
Most couples have probably never been in the midst of a pandemic situation before this and adjusting to the new-norms and altered lifestyles take up a lot of time and attention. Most families are also immersed in the planning of kids’ online classes, work schedules, and the increased workload in chores. Add to this an increase in family members under the same roof in the same household, and at the same time, which is by itself a silent killer of any spontaneity in sexual action.
All the above also leave very little time to slot in any intimacy, and most couples are frankly burned out when they’re done from the added workloads that may have been created because of the pandemic.
From an evolutionary point of view, humans react to various cues. One of them is stress, and stress as you know kills libido. Any stressful situation, therefore, is likely to affect us negatively. As evolutionary psychologists believe, we are more likely to remain vigilant about a current danger, and let our guard down and relax only after it has passed.
Another reason that could even affect married couples is social distancing. The instinctive need to stay away from others, which is the call of the hour, that you see perpetuated everywhere may harp unconsciously on your mind even in the company of your own spouse. And on the other hand, an overdose in constant proximity to each other might act as overkill for some couples, lessening desire, and increasing in fights and misunderstandings instead!
While an increase in sex is great to keep the anxiety at bay, it is not always the most naturally occurring choice for stress relief, especially in the middle of the backdrop we have just painted above. This is where scheduled sex comes in.
Despite spending time together, couples are reporting reduced rates in the frequency of sex. Photo: iStock
Benefits of Scheduled Sex
Despite sounding like a chore, there is more to scheduled sex than a pre-planned activity. You are wrong if you are worried that the lack of spontaneity naturally present in impulsive sex, will spoil your experience. Let us look at some advantages of pre-planned intimacy:
- Ease in planning out logistics.
You have control over dates and times. Household chores, kids’ routines, meetings, and engagements are all taken into consideration when you set the sex-date, and you are thus, less likely to be disappointed.
- You can give it enough time.
You don’t have to rush through a quick activity. Treat this as reserved time for the both of you, and truly concentrate on your partner. Having reserved the slot of time ahead, guarantees that you would have freed up chores on hand, and more time on your hand will enable more time for foreplay, time to indulge in your own pleasures, and will lead to a great experience.
- You have time to mentally and physically prepare yourselves.
You will be looking forward to this as a date, and as the saying goes, anticipation provides half of the excitement.
- A better option than a drought.
For those of you who have pushed time-together to the bottom of the priority list, this is a good jump-start to your sexual lives. Losing touch with intimacy for long periods will create awkwardness and cause for it to be shelved for a further longer period, so take action now before it is too late. Sexual droughts often do more harm than good in otherwise healthy relationships.
- Prioritising this activity is a display of commitment to your marriage and to your spouse.
Concerted effort will assure both yourself and your partner that you are both committed to making the relationship work. This will remind both of you that your love life is as important as other aspects of your life.
Is There Any Downside to Scheduled Sex?
While there may be some disadvantages of forcibly scheduling time together – for example feeling that sex has become yet another boring and obligatory chore to check off from your to-do list, feeling that the sex may be too structured and predictable and thus resulting in a reduction of the ‘fun’ aspect of it, feeling pressurized into action because it has to checked off your list of things to do for the day – psychologists assure that even if you do not rate your experience too high, you still receive the benefits of oxytocin.
Aim for intimacy, rather than activity. Photo: iStock
Tips to Schedule Your Sex-life
There are however a few important points you need to keep in mind to take away the boredom from a pre-planned sex-date and make it work. A change in perspective would be the first step.
Here are a few suggestions that can add spark to the life behind your bedroom doors:
- Intimacy is the goal, not activity: You are doing this to spend intimate time with your partner. Gratification is only part of it. Focus on togetherness and the rest will follow.
- The intention is important, not the achievement: Instead of setting a specific performance goal, be content with just the intention. Let one thing lead to another and play along.
- Take control of the event: Setting a reminder, reminding your partner, and preparing yourself for your sex-date will add to the anticipation. It will also act as a cue for your partner and build the mood.
- Work out a pattern of frequency that you are comfortable with: Don’t be forced into fulfilling the activity just because you have scheduled it. Further, there is no rule that says more is better. Plan according to you and your and partner’s comfort and schedules.
- Plan activities to do together: Remember, at the crux of it all, it is a date. Involve food, drinks, and other activities that may or may not include naughty games or spicy sex challenges, going into it. Many things can add up to a pleasurable experience.
- Create and Curate the mood: Think about your fantasies. Ask your partner about theirs. Discuss beforehand, what you would like to try.
- Plan around your bedtime and make this the last action item on your to-do list: All the chores are done, everything is taken care of, and the whole household is in bed. A relaxed mind will help with libido. A bonus here is that you get the whole day to prepare for and look forward to the event.
- Keep your expectations low: This is not a staged performance of sex, and things may not always end in climax and on a high note. Remind yourself about the real intention towards intimacy and do not make it about chasing goals or you would most likely suffer from performance anxiety.
Even if you are conditioned to believe that the golden rule for good sex is impromptu action between the sheets, give scheduled sex a try. In these dismal times of uncertainty and fear, intimate time with your partner will keep you grounded and attuned to one of the most important things in life: real and lasting connections with your loved ones.