Sex: To Plan or Not to Plan?
When asked to imagine a particularly satisfying or passionate sex scene, what images flash across your mind?
It wouldn’t be surprising if it included urgency, a sudden and rushed removal of clothes, groping, and falling into bed. Or perhaps you’re banging against doors and walls – unable to make it all the way to a bed.
You might be less likely to imagine a couple who has set aside time to nurture their intimacy, pulling out sex toys, taking turns pleasuring one another, and being fully engrossed in their planned session of sexual exploration.
Spontaneous vs. planned sex studies
As it turns out, while we are more likely to believe that spontaneous sex is more satisfying, the truth is more complex, according to researchers at York University and Dalhousie University. They conducted two studies on the topic that demonstrated support both for spontaneous and planned sex being satisfying. But in both studies, more people believed spontaneous sex is more satisfying than planned sex.
However, there is a difference in the two studies. The first study was cross-sectional and captured a single moment in time. The second study had couples responding to questions every day for 21-days to capture real-time reflections of sexual events. This second study did not find a relationship between sexual satisfaction and whether someone considered that day’s sexual experience to be more spontaneous or more planned – even if they initially believed that one was better than the other! However, they did find that when someone believed more in planning sex, their partners initially reported lower sexual desire when the study started.
So, what does this mean?
While more research is needed, the second study points to the idea that planning or not planning sex is not what determines how satisfying it will be. There are other factors at play that can be causing sexual interactions to feel like wins or duds.
If you’ve wanted to try planning sex but have been hesitant, check my following three tips that will help planned sex feel playful, exciting, and safe.
Three Tips for Planning Sexy Time
Release the pressure
One way to do this is by scheduling physical intimacy, instead of sex. Make it a time for you and a romantic/sexual partner to connect without expectation. This can look like phone-free cuddling time, a naked board game night, catching up on your day in the shower, massages, or something else that helps you feel close. The act of being physically intimate without the expectation of sex can inspire the sexual energy to flow in a way that is simultaneously spontaneous and planned.
Create a sense of adventure
Just because you plan the when, doesn’t mean you have to plan the what. Grab a jar and drop in some toe-curling ideas that you can choose from, roll some sex dice, or pick up a sexy card game to bring some novelty to your dedicated sexy time. Play with the tension of the unknown and lean into the experiences that the fates offer you.
Feel comfortable and safe in your no
As someone who used to experience anxiety when planning sex, I came to a recent discovery. Even though I knew partners would let me walk away if I changed my mind, I didn’t truly trust that it was OK. Therefore, planning sex felt like making a commitment that I might not be up to keeping. If this resonates for you, it might be time to speak with your partner(s). Have a conversation about increasing everyone’s comfort with making shifts as needed without fear of letting one another down or ruining something. The liberation of knowing that your “no” is completely OK might be the juice your planned session was needing!
While there will be more studies to determine if spontaneous or planned sex is better, it might be a good study to do in your own home! Try both and see which one is more satisfying for you and your partner(s).