The most common sexual “dysfunction” experienced by married couples is unequal libidos. One partner wants to make love more often than the other. Though this is a mild dysfunction compared to impotence, complete lack of sexual desire, or an inability to experience orgasm, it causes difficulties in more marriages than any other sexual problem. Over the long term it can lead to increasing dissatisfaction that spills over into other areas of the relationship and eventually to divorce.
It’s not surprising that the most common question about sex is “How often do other people do it?” Low libido partners are hoping to hear, “not often,” and high libido partners, “all the time.” The therapists’ standard answer to the question is an uninformative: “It depends on the couple. You have to decide for yourselves how often you want to do it and not measure yourself against other couples.”
Forget about counseling. There is a surprisingly simple fix for the problem that you can do all on your own. For free.
Assuming that you both have some prurient interest in each other, sit down and negotiate a schedule of sexual activity. Compromise. One of you will have to agree to slightly more frequent sex than you want and the other to slightly less frequent sex, but you will be able to find a middle ground.
Be specific. Say exactly which evenings, mornings or afternoons will be on the schedule. It doesn’t matter if you decide once every second Saturday night or every single morning and evening. It only matters that you both agree.
Then stick to it. Don’t worry about being “in the mood.” Have sex regardless. Keep KY Jelly beside the bed and use it liberally. Help your partner with manual stimulation. It’s surprisingly easy for both men and women to get themselves in the mood if they help each other. Only omit sessions in case of illness or physical impossibility.
At first blush, this sounds unromantic. Mechanical. Isn’t spontaneity the heart of good sex?
Nah. Spontaneity is way overrated. It’s fine for new lovers but couples who have been married for years don’t have much truly spontaneous sex. Someone is usually inconvenienced.
Scheduling your sexual activity has a lot of advantages.
First, it takes the power struggle out of sex. Nothing is as harmful to a relationship as one partner withholding sex from the other in order to exert control over them. “You didn’t put your dishes in the dishwasher so I don’t feel like making love to you,” is a vicious tactic that is going to lead to the divorce lawyer’s office sooner or later. And, when you’re holding the divorce decree in your hand, you’re going to be wailing, “I don’t know what I ever did to deserve this.” You know; you just don’t want to admit it. Take sex off the power-stuggle table. If you want to punish your partner for something, you’ve got lots of other ways to make life miserable than by witholding sex.
Second, it makes fighting difficult. If you are committed to making love in the next four hours, you’re going to think twice about flying off the handle over some trivial matter. At the least, it will give you an incentive to put off that big fight until tomorrow. And it’s surprising how many fights never take place if they have to be delayed by twelve hours.
Third, it makes affection easier. Without a schedule, every kiss, every hug, every shoulder rub might be an attempt to initiate sex. Even if the high-libido partner does not intend it from the beginning, if the low-libido partner responds, the high-libido partner will be tempted to try to push further in the hope of getting lucky this time. It’s no surprise that low-libido partners get into the habit of discouraging even minor gestures of affection. If both partners have agreed to a schedule, then acts of affection need never be rejected. If they happen at a time when sex is not scheduled, that hug will be understood to be simple affection, not the first step in seduction. And if sex is scheduled, then both partners know that they are engaged in foreplay and will respond appropriately.
Fourth, it makes waiting for sex easier. If the high libido partner is horny and sex is not scheduled yet, then he or she knows exactly how long he or she will have to wait for satisfaction. If it’s soon, then waiting won’t be an insurmountable problem. And if it’s a long time, then masturbation is a safe option. Not knowing if sex is coming in four hours or four weeks is what makes waiting problematic.
Fifth, it makes sex easier. If you know that you have to perform in the next twenty-four hours, you can avoid masturbation; in the next hour, you can prime yourself by fantasizing or reading arousing stories; in the next two minutes, you can lubricate yourself or your partner or stimulate yourself or your partner. Because the sex is scheduled, and it’s something that you are doing for your partner’s benefit, it is understood that you might need a little extra stimulation. It’s not a slight on you or your partner.
If you establish a schedule, then you can review it every once in a while, objectively and without recrimination. Do you need to add a day? Can your partner tolerate removing a day? As time passes and circumstances change, you will want to fine tune your schedule. Unlike being turned down halfway through an attempted seduction, sitting down and negotiating revisions to a schedule is not so emotional or personal.
Given all these advantages, it is not surprising that couples who have used a schedule for a time find themselves more happily married than they expected. Thoughts of divorce fade into the background.
The only surprise is that more couples haven’t discovered the advantages of scheduling their love life for themselves.