Is sex the last thing on your to-do list? Or maybe it’s not even making the cut. With the busy lives we live today, unless we carve out time and make sex and connection a priority, it just doesn’t seem to happen. In this episode, I share with you ideas of why you want to carve out that time and how to do so.
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One of the things I hear a lot from clients and listeners is that they are just too busy or too tired for sex. Or they don’t even think about it because they have a million other things going on. I get it! Especially those of you who have little kids and are just in the thick of it. Man, life is BUSY! But…that is no excuse for putting sex on the back burner.
I’m sure a lot of you have heard the suggestion about scheduling sex. When I offer this thought to clients, a lot of time, I get push back on it. They or their spouse don’t want to schedule it. They want it to be spontaneous. Think about every movie or TV show that you’ve ever watched and a couple has sex. It’s always spontaneous. They have sex wherever and whenever the mood strikes. You don’t ever see them plan it out. Well, real life doesn’t usually work like that. I don’t know of anyone that has sex whenever and wherever the mood strikes without at least a little planning. But, if the idea of scheduling sex still doesn’t feel right to you, I want to offer you some different ways of looking at it.
In our busy, busy lives, almost nothing happens spontaneously. For anything that is of value, time needs to be carved out for it. It needs to be a priority.
Think about the planning that goes into the things that are most important to you.
- Dating – think about when you were dating your spouse. The careful planning that went into dating them. You were particular about your appearance. You showered. You put on some cologne or perfume. You planned your outfit. You planned on where to eat or an activity. Of course, some times were more spontaneous and just hanging out. But chances are quite a bit of it was planned.
- Wedding – think about your wedding. How much planning went into that most important day of your life. There was planning down to the last detail most likely.
- Vacations – do you and your family take vacations? Do you plan a destination? Do you have a budget? Do you have activities planned? How are you going to get there? Where are you going to stay? It all takes planning.
- School – You had to plan on where you were going to go to school. What did you need to do to get in? How much money was it going to cost? What classes were you going to take? What was your major going to be? Planning!
- What about your job? How did you get the job that you have? Probably an interview that you had to plan for. Make time. Pick appropriate clothing. How were you going to get there? All of it needed to be planned.
I will say it again. Anything of value in your life takes planning. If you value your marriage, your relationship, your spouse, you will carve time out for alone time. So instead of thinking about having sex on a schedule, I want you to think about planning for it.
When you first get married, you don’t usually have to carve out that time together. You don’t have kids yet, it’s new and exciting, so it’s just naturally a priority. But as time goes on and we get pulled to other things, we need to make it one.
When do you set your plan for your month or your week? Do you and your spouse sit down and look at the calendar together? What goes on the calendar first? Your priorities. Things that can’t be missed. Things that are important enough to you that you schedule other stuff around them. Because you know that things that aren’t on the calendar rarely get done, it just doesn’t happen.
Now, I am not saying that you have to put sex on your calendar. But, I would encourage you to make your relationship enough of a priority that you plan for alone time together, and that may include or lead to sex. Make time for what your relationship needs. It doesn’t need to be daily or even weekly. Just regular and consistent time together that fits your life.
You may have to make some changes in your life to better manage your time so that you have time for each other. Here is a common scenario I hear from many couples:
He works outside of the home. She is home all day with the kids. He comes home exhausted from work and wants to decompress. Maybe he’s on his phone, or watching some SportsCenter or playing a video game. She also feels like she needs to decompress, but the chores are never-ending, kids need help with their homework, they need to be driven to their various activities, and she still needs to get dinner on the table. And then, of course, there are dishes, cleaning up the house from the evening’s activities, getting the kids ready for bed, packing lunches for the next day. And maybe dad is helping with all of that too. But by the time everything that “needs” to get done gets done, they both fall into bed exhausted. And maybe he’s a typical male and has the testosterone, so he’s ready to go and wants sex even though he’s tired, but she’s done and just wants to sleep.
Does that sound at all like your life? When time is pressed, sex tends to be one of the first things we let go of in our relationship.
So what can be done? Where can time be carved out? How do you manage your time in general so that you have time for each other? Because you know that what time you do have always gets filled up.
I was talking to my husband about this, and we very much fell into this trap for a long time. My husband goes to work at 5:00 am. By 8 pm, he is exhausted and ready for bed. But I was still cleaning up dinner, helping kids head to bed, and we weren’t getting that alone time that we needed. But, when we decided to make time together a priority, we decided that we couldn’t wait until 8 pm and he was ready for bed. So we decided that we would sneak away to the bedroom in the afternoon, right after he gets home from work. The kids are usually occupied doing homework, and they barely even miss us. But we get some much needed time together consistently. Then we still have time to get done everything else that needs to get done and get to bed on time.
So I want you to think about how much time you spend together with your spouse each day, like actually quality time. I’m not talking about sitting on the couch and watching TV together and not talking. I’m talking about time that you connect.
How much time are you spending on things that take you away from your relationship?
- Fantasy football?
- Social media?
- Kids activities?
What message are you sending to your spouse when you aren’t willing to cut back on things like work, hobbies, phone time, or even being willing to put the kids to bed early? By cutting back, you are letting your spouse know that they are more important to you. I understand that you may not be spending time on these things and intentionally cutting out time with your spouse, but that is the key. Being intentional with your time for your spouse and your marriage. Think about this; is the time I am spending on these things worth my relationship? In 5 years down the road, if I keep spending my time on this, what will my relationship look like?
Making your relationship and sex a priority in your life may mean that you need to sacrifice other things that you want and enjoy. I know that we want to have fun, we want to give our kids every opportunity, we want to get that next promotion or that raise, but at what cost? When you are not taking the time to connect with your spouse, you are essentially telling them that they aren’t a priority, and this is where a lot of couples run into trouble. They turn to other things or other people to feel that much needed emotional connection in their lives.
And really, that is what making time for is about: connection. And you can’t have connection without giving it time. So many women think that men want sex for the physical part. But that isn’t true. Men feel emotionally connected when they connect physically. Women tend to want to feel emotionally connected before they connect physically. So it benefits both parties to spend time together to connect emotionally and physically.
One of the benefits of being intimate more often is you get to know more details about each other. When you have sex once in a blue moon, you don’t usually take the time to slow down and enjoy things. But if you are having sex regularly and consistently, sometimes it will be slow and sensual. Other times it will just be a quickie. And you’ll be ok with that because of the amount of time you are spending together. Sex is a skill, and quality sex emerges from quantity sex.
Now – here is why I like planning for sex. It’s good for both partners. The higher-desire partner can relax and not always have anxiety about when the next time is going to be. They can back off pursuing and pushing and cajoling their partner for it because they know when it’s coming. They aren’t left to wonder when it will happen next. When sex is planned for, the lower desire partner has the opportunity to prepare themselves emotionally and physically for it. They can get their head in the right place. It also eases the pressure consistently because they know that their partner isn’t going always to be pushing for it.
But you get to decide, as a couple, what that plan or schedule looks like. Some couples need things more rigid. They want a date and time. Other couples want things to be more fluid. But setting aside time to connect (whether that means sex or not) as a couple is essential and needs to be a priority.
Here are my top 4 suggestions for helping you create that time together.
- Set aside time daily/weekly/monthly that you will connect. Put it on the calendar and hold that time sacred!
- When you have couple time, put the phones away. Put them in another room. Date night, leave phones in the car. You can let your babysitter know where you are so she can call the restaurant or theatre. But if your phones aren’t there, then you aren’t tempted to look at them instead of connecting.
- Let your kids know that your time together is important. Send them outside to play, limit their extra-curricular activities, lock the bedroom door, put them to bed early, get a babysitter, whatever you need to do so that they understand that your marriage is a priority.
- Give up perfectionism – Let the dishes sit in the sink, let the text or email sit unread, don’t let the need for things at home or work to be perfect get in the way of the time you spend together.
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the Big Rocks First object lesson. If you have some big rocks, pebbles, and sand and you need to fit them all in a jar, the big rocks will never fit if you put the sand and pebbles in first. But if you put the big rocks in first (your priorities) and then the pebbles (things you have to do) and then the sand (all the extras we do), then it will all fit.
Your big rocks are each other. They are not the kids, not the job, not the money or financial security; it’s each other. If you put each other first, everything else will fit.
I have created a worksheet for you to track your time over the next week. I especially want you to pay attention to what time you COULD be spending together but don’t because you are doing other things. This is NOT an excuse to beat yourself up. This is information only. You get to decide if you want to change anything and what you want to change.
Download your FREE Time Tracking Worksheet!