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Think of sex like an oil change for your car… except way hotter and a lot more exciting.

Keeping up with regular maintenance — and lube — helps keep your engine running at its best. The same idea applies to sex and all it can do for your mental and physical well-being as well as your relationship, if you’re in one.

Scheduling sex sounds like it’s all business, but when it comes to the business of pleasure, thinking ahead is the way to get more of the good stuff.

We’re talking more sex, potentially more orgasms, and all the added benefits that come from those things, like reduced stress, elevated mood, stronger relationships, and better sleep.

We believe pleasure is a fundamental aspect of a safe and healthy sex life. That’s why we rely on experienced writers, educators, and other experts to share their suggestions on everything from the technique you use to the sex toy you buy.

We only recommend something that we genuinely love, so if you see a shop link to a specific product or brand, know that it’s been thoroughly researched — if you know what we mean. Wink.

We mean the whole freakin’ shebang: Masturbation, cuddling, kissing, or any other form of physical intimacy. Basically, if it arouses you, it counts.

If you think back to the steamiest, most toe-curling sex you’ve ever had, chances are it was scheduled.

That super erotic virtual sesh with your long-distance boo? You probably agreed on a time to connect.

A hot IRL hookup post-lockdown? Bet you counted down the days till a face-to-face was OK.

Date night with a happy ending with your spouse or person you’re seeing? Yep, also planned in advance.

Even those sweaty solo jobs you can’t wait to squeeze in after your roommate/parents/kids go to bed are pretty much planned in advance.

Did thinking ahead to a time to get down and dirty make the sex any less enjoyable? Of course not! That’s because scheduled sex is the same as normal sex — pleasurable, satisfying, and fun!

Life’s not like it is in the movies, friends. Our schedules and sex drives aren’t always in sync, and we don’t always climax in unison.

Logistics and libidos are tricky and don’t always play nice together without some effort and shifting things around.

Carving out time for sex works on so many levels, you’ll wonder why you ever thought it was a joykill in the first place.

Here’s why it works.

It gives you time to prep

Knowing when sex is on the menu gives you time to get ready for it.

That could mean resting up first with a nap, grooming your nether regions, or bribing your roommate with a gift card for frozen yogurt so they can GTFO for a couple hours.

It can remove some potential obstacles

Practically speaking, a heads-up before a sex date is helpful for anyone dealing with issues or symptoms that can interfere with sex.

For example, it’s helpful if you:

It gives you time to set the mood

Not that we don’t love a good no-fuss throw-down, but once in a while it’s nice to bust out the candles and nice sheets, or sex props and rubber sheets, if that’s your jam.

It’s like foreplay for your brain

Oh, the sweet anticipation of knowing that you’re gonna get hot and heavy!

It’s like knowing there’s a piece of cake waiting for you at home after you’ve been starving all day, only instead of your fave frosting, you get an orgasm.

And as a partner on the receiving end of an impending rendezvous, knowing you’re desired and wanted can give you and your loins all the feels.

It can start a convo about sex

Not everyone’s comfortable talking about sex, but having to plan it gives you a great starting point if you want to talk fantasies or share your turn-ons. (More on how to talk about it coming right up!)

It can help you out of a rut

Falling into a rut happens to the best of us, especially in long-term relationships. Add a pandemic, and sitting around in sweats and ordering takeout becomes the norm.

People are having less sex, according to research. Scheduling could be a way to bring back the oomph, even if it’s scheduling some high school-style making out or dry humping between episodes of “Bridgerton.”

The key to bringing it up is to not make it sound like a chore that you have to do. It’s sex, not a dental cleaning.

You could say something along the lines of:

  • “Remember when we had time to stay in bed a while after sex? I miss that! Bet we could do it again if we set aside time on [insert days].”
  • “We’ve been so busy. I think it’s time we scheduled some sexy time. What’s your schedule look like on [insert day]?”
  • “How would you feel about setting aside more time for sex?”

If not having enough sex is a sore spot and having a negative impact on your relationship, you may benefit from laying it all on the table:

  • “It’s no secret that we haven’t been connecting lately. Let’s agree to set aside some time every week just for the two of us. What do you think?”
  • “I know I’ve been too tired/busy to have sex lately, but I really want to change that. How would you feel about making [insert day/time] our time to hookup since that’s when we both have more time and energy?”

Ready to think ahead for more sex? Here are some things to help you go about it so you get the most from the best thing on your calendar.

Set your goals

Think about what you’re hoping to achieve from planned sex:

  • Are you looking to have more sex in general?
  • Do you want more time to bask in the post-coital glow rather than the quick, socks-on sex you’ve been having since becoming parents?
  • Do you want to spice it up by trying new things and exploring fantasies?
  • Do you want to set aside more time for self-exploration and masturbation?

Keep your goals in mind when scheduling your play time so you can plan accordingly. And by “your goals,” we mean the goals of all involved.

Get it in the cal

OK, you don’t ~have to~ put your sex dates on the calendar.

But if your schedules are wild or completely mismatched, putting sex on the calendar gives it priority status and lowers the chances that you’ll accidentally double-book your sexy slot.

Allow for flexibility

Just because you’re mapping out the time doesn’t mean you should map out every move.

If you go in with marching order, you could be setting the stage for performance anxiety or resentment if one of you isn’t really feeling the planned act in that exact moment.

Go in with a general intention of what you both want without setting any hard and fast rules.

Be open to rescheduling

Let’s be clear, you don’t want to fall into the habit of putting off your sex dates, or you’ll never make any new ground.

But some days, rescheduling your sexcapades might be the best thing. Like if one of you is sick or dealing with something heavy.

Before postponing, though, take a moment to remember how good sex feels. If you can muster the extra bit of energy to start, do it.

All that said, you shouldn’t feel pressured to engage in a sex act when you don’t want to. There must be mutual consent, regardless of the type of relationship you’re in.

If you’re planning for fertility reasons

Planning sex for fertility reasons isn’t as easy as carving out a chunk of time to have more sex.

Using fertility awareness methods (FAMs) requires tracking your menstrual cycles and ovulation to figure out your most fertile days and plan sex around them.

For more information on FAMS and other fertility concerns, talk to your healthcare provider or contact your local Planned Parenthood.

Once you figure out the *when*, it’s time to get down to the *how*.

Here are some tips:

  • Build the anticipation with suggestive whispers or sexts that let them know you can’t wait to have them.
  • If playing solo, trying a new sex toy or picking out some new porn for your pending playtime can build anticipation.
  • Just because it’s pretty much a sure thing doesn’t give you a free pass to skimp on the woo or the hygiene, so put in the effort.
  • When the day arrives, focus on the time with yourself/together rather than the act itself, so whatever happens can just happen naturally.

Not getting too specific beforehand can help keep scheduled sex spontaneous.

Lean into the anticipation by dropping hints of what you have in mind for your time together, but leave things open for anything that feels good in the moment, whether that’s penetrative sex, mutual masturbation, or some unhurried kissing and touching.

If you’re worried scheduling sex will make it awkward AF or need some help getting in the mood, try these for some inspo:

Like planning your annual vacation or a birthday party, sex won’t be any less fun or exciting just because you planned it in advance. So just schedule it already!

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.