You schedule doctor’s appointments, workouts at the gym and after-work drinks with friends. But would you pencil in sex around your office presentation or root canal? When it comes to your marriage and sex life, it may be the best way for today’s busy couples to maintain intimacy, said Janice Epp, Ph.D., dean of the Institute for Advanced Studies of Human Sexuality in San Francisco.
“I frequently see a lot of very young couples who are working 14- and 15-hour days and they're wondering why they're not having sex,” Epp told Huff/Post50. “And the couples in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are not used to looking at sex as valuable. They've had all these years of putting sex behind everything else. You have to be willing to make it a priority.”
It may not sound terribly romantic, but scheduling sex could be the best way for couples who are still interested in having intercourse to save their marriage and sex lives. According to a 2010 Kinsey Institute report, 22 percent of married women between the ages of 50 and 59 had not had sex at all in the previous year and 20.6 percent of married men in the same age group reported being in a sexless marriage. (Yes we're wondering about that data mis-match too.)
Epp likens scheduling sex to being excited for reservations at a hot, new restaurant -- you're building anticipation for the event, which can be sexy in and of itself. “Some people say, ‘Sex should be spontaneous!’ to which I say 'B*llshit,'” Epp laughed. “You plan other things in your life and you don’t complain about it. You can do the same with sex.”
You should plan your sex date around a time when both you and your partner will have the most energy: it may be an early morning romp before the workday begins and the kids are up, or an afternoon delight session on the weekend.
Epp also advises couples to have “connecting dates” to begin keep the flame alive. “It’s important that you have intimate time together,” Epp said. “Whether it involves sex or not, it involves connecting on some intimate level.
“What I want [couples] to do is to have some alone time together without any interruptions,” Epp continued. “They're not to talk about work, or children or how the stock market is doing. It can be cuddling, it can be touching, it could be massaging. It could just be holding each other.”
This time together allows couples to reestablish the intimacy that day-to-day rigors and domestic chores may sap from a marriage and sex. “Once it becomes fun and wonderful” again, the next step is scheduling longer intimacy or sex dates, Epp said. “[Now that the couple has] motivation to carve out that time, I send them on weekend dates. Get away for a weekend once a month if you can.”
By scheduling sex and committing to a schedule that works for the both of you, sex can become a valuable and enjoyable part of your relationship again. It may not be easy, but it’s worth it, Epp said.
“Sex is perfectly natural but it's not always naturally perfect,” she said. Like anything worthwhile, sometimes it takes work.
EARLIER ON HUFFPOST:
HuffPost Parents offers a daily dose of personal stories, helpful advice and comedic takes on what it’s like to raise kids today. Learn more