Creating a great sex life takes just that, creating. For many couples (and individuals), this is a foreign concept. Sexual socialization has led the masses to believe sex should be spontaneous, natural, and mind blowing. The notion that sex could be planned is rarely suggested, but should it be?
Planned sex, or scheduled sex, has the potential to elevate sexual relationships to new heights. Unlike what western culture prescribes, sex can be broadly defined and even more broadly explored. Read on to learn how to create the sex life you want by being intentional with your eroticism.
Why Does Planned Sex Get a Bad Rap?
Cultural norms, socialization, limited variety in the definition of sex, and lacking imaginative language often create an unease around planned sex. Society highlights sexual spontaneity as the norm and acme of sexual experiences, often limiting its presentation to penile and vaginal intercourse.
Lack of proper sex education and purity culture have contributed to the belief, sex should be natural, require little planning, and everyone should “know what to do.”
Planned sex implies, incorrectly, there is a deficiency in sexual desire. When sex is defined by genital contact and orgasms, planned sex can feel like a task rather than an experience. When there is a goal to be reached, pressure ensues.
The moniker, planned sex, has the potential to feel uninviting, unpleasant, or down right un sexual. Let’s discuss how planned sex create better sex.
The Benefits of Planning Sex Over Spontaneous Sex
Planned sex lends itself to responsive desire, allowing time for the sexual response cycle to unfold. Those in long term relationships, and a large majority of individuals identifying as female, often experience responsive rather than spontaneous desire. A person with responsive desire is most likely not going to spontaneously wake up in the middle of the night wanting sex. Instead of assuming the lower libido partner is deficient in desire, work to understand it.
For cis het couples engaged in heteronormative practices, women can find themselve with low desire due to feelings of objectification and nurturant labor. Planned sex allows desire to feel intentional over expectant and provides space for extensive foreplay.
In relationships with mismatched libidos, planned sex creates less anxiety for the lower libido partner. Knowing in advance creates anticipation, time for preparation (personal hygiene, adult dress up, etc.), and thwarts non sexual touch from being perceived as pressure for sex. Pressure has the opposite effect on desire to increase sexual intimacy, which is why it might not be ideal to surprise your partner with a lower libido with an invitation for sex out of the blue.
Taking time to engage in self-expansion, including novel sexual experiences, is associated with greater satisfaction, sexual desire and lower sexual distress, according to relationship experts. Planned sex can promote novelty through new sexual activities. For example, signing up to take a Shibari rope tying course, or planning a kinky date night together.
Proper sex education would include conversations about erotic blueprints, pleasure, and sexual skills. Instead, attention tends to focus on physical attractiveness and intuitive sex behaviors. The result is often performance anxiety, striving for perfection, and fears of not having the “right” kind of sex.
Much like physical and mental health, sexual health requires time and energy to develop into maturity. Deeper skill building can ensue when acknowledging sex doesn’t always have to feel natural. Partners can adopt the Good Enough Sex model, where sex can be enjoyable and feel good, without being perfect.
Expanding the definition of sex leads to more opportunities. If sex only emphasizes orgasms and genitals, a lot is being left on the table. In a 2010 article, more than 6,000 men and women revealed 41 combinations of “what is sex.” By planning sex, couples can explore a range of sexual fantasies and activities outside of genital contact.
When sex is about an energetic exchange rather than a genital focus, the possibilities are endless. Pleasure can unfold naturally within a container and lead to more enlightened sexual experiences. Sex can be like a mini vacation in that you can plan the time, place, and activities, then see what happens.
Instead of planned sex, which can feel lacking in imagination and unsexy, utilize cognitive reframing and create your own language. Erotic rituals, erotic time, alone time, sexy time, and playtime are just a few ideas. Develop language that honors the headspace you would like to inhabit. Check out The Leather Couch, by Stefanie Goerlich, to find a headspace activity.
If you don’t currently have a partner, that’s not a problem. Develop erotic rituals for yourself as part of an expansive self love routine and learn to date yourself in a relationship centric society.
8 Tips for Planning Sex with Your Partner(s)
- Create an erotic name for your sexual time together
- Discuss ideal sex in terms of frequency, time and, activities
- Plan a designated day/time to engage and keep to your commitment
- Take turns planning non genital activities to begin your sexual experiences
- Take a note from the BDSM community and plan a scene including aftercare and a debriefing
- Challenge and expand your definitions of sex
- Commit to pleasure over performance
- If you’re still feeling lost, consider working with a sex therapist
Sex is one of the ways adults get to explore and play with each other. Play dates were scheduled as children which means you can work on planning sex as adults and let the eroticism unfold.
A Note for Singles
Western culture consistently references sex as it relates to partnerships. This does a disservice to those who choose or find themselves unattached and desiring sexuality. Developing a solo sex practice, honoring your sexuality as something to be explored rather than always shared, is a beautiful gift. If solo sex is uncharted territory, you might explore your preferences via masturbation with your own body or by utilizing sex toys.
Sexuality is the cornerstone of life, of creativity, and of personal power. Develop erotic rituals for the self and discover what it means be a sexual being.