There is a powerful cultural script that many people agree with in terms of sex: it is believed to be instant chemistry from the very beginning. As we drink the wine of romance we become drunk in the belief that sex, even in long-term relationships, is easy, tension-free, and uninhibited.
Either you and your partner have it, or you don't.
It's kind of ironic that our modern willpower society, which encourages us to manifest our careers and health through deliberate and relentless work ethic, tells us that we shouldn't have to try hard at all when it comes to sex. That our sex lives must only rise in the spontaneity of the moment.
Spontaneity is a wonderful fantasy. But in an ongoing and busy relationship, whatever is going to "just happen" has already happened.
As many of us know, our careers, kids, and household chores can consume the moments of our lives, leaving our romance for the scraps of our attention.
"I'm too tired to make love."
"The kids exhaust me."
"I have an important work meeting tomorrow."
We like to believe that sex is a spur-of-the-moment magical thing that arises from an unprompted impulsive desire deep within. All of us talk about being swept away.
"I couldn't resist him... I felt such a rush through my body... I was completely taken."
Realistically, sex is more like going to the gym. Fit people intentionally make the gym a priority in their lives. As a result, their deliberateness causes them to have very fit bodies.
If you want your sex life to leave you with your heart pounding, and if you want to be left sprawled out breathless on the bed, then you need to commit to giving sex the attention it deserves.
It needs more than the last 15 minutes before you fall asleep.
Committing to sex is being intentional about sex.
"Things just happened" has to become "can we make things happen tonight?"
Sex, past the honeymoon phase, requires your full engagement. It won't stay hot and sexy if your attention is devoted to chores and running errands.
"The dishes won't just do itself."
"And sex will?"
The idea of planning sex is a mountain many couples need to climb. Often we associate scheduling with work and work with obligations.
If you don't want sex to be another to-do list item, then don't treat it like a to-do list item.
Is lying on the beach in the Caribbean looking out at the ocean blue a to-do list item, or something you intentionally choose to spend your vacation time doing?
You don't have to "schedule sex," but you should create an erotic space that allows both your partner and you to reveal in each other's intimacy. What you do in that time is up to your partner and you. The scheduling marks the space within your busy life to cultivate intimacy with intention.
Here is the irony.
When you first started seeing your partner, you were very intentional about making sexy-time.
As a man, you probably took her on a nice date, cleaned up your nasty room and bathroom, and somehow made it smell nice.
As a woman, you probably shaved your legs, got on your best dress, applied your makeup, and looked sexy as hell. But as your relationship got older, you stopped doing these things.
You moved in together, expecting things to just happened as they had happened. But guess what? Things never happened back then unless you made it happen.
A lot of people balk at the deliberateness of intentional sex. They see these strategies as too laborious for "the long haul."
"You want me to seduce my partner? I still have to do that?"
Often, our culture's choir sings the chorus that we should be loved just as we are. As if any effort on our part in an ongoing relationship shouldn't be necessary.
If you gain fifty pounds and shuffle around the house in baggy sweats and a stained t-shirt, he probably won't get hard (and she probably won't get wet).
Your partner may love you no matter what, but your lack of effort to stay sexy has caused a lack in your partner's arousal to get sexy.
Just because you live with your partner doesn't necessarily mean they are readily available. If anything, they require more attention, not less. Keeping sex hotter than a beach in the Caribbean requires intentional attention.
No, not every single day, but at least every week, if not month. Choosing your frequency is dependent on both partners' unique sex drives.
Want to know what is even more sexually mind blowing than planning sexy-time?
My girlfriend and I love this. When I have a crazy busy week meeting clients and catching up with my friends, my calendar tends to be booked from 5 am to 10 pm, Monday through Friday. When I'm this busy we tend to plan sex on Saturday or Sunday.
Sometimes we have a date before; sometimes we just cook dinner at home. When we plan our sexy-time, we both have something to look forward to.
Anticipation is the mortar of fantasy. The anticipation allows us to imagine what it may be like. I wonder what she may wear. How she'll feel in my hands. The anticipation is the foreplay before we even enter the bedroom.
Fantasy, like so many romance novels, builds a plot. It causes us to yearn for our partners.
For many of us, planned sex is suspicious. It threatens our belief that sex is created in a cauldron of magic and chemistry. The wine that sex must be spontaneous keeps us one step removed from having to will sex, to our own desires, and to express it with intent.
As long as sex is something that "just happens" you never have to claim it, and you can complain about it all you want without ever taking action to create the sex you deeply desire.
Intentionality in our sexuality is the key to keeping our sex lives humid.
This was originally published on Healthy Relationships with Kyle Benson.