Not all sex is super spontaneous: for many couples, scheduling sex is an important part of keeping their sex life alive. Intentionally setting aside time to have sex is a great way to make sure you and your partner are still connecting when life gets busy. If sex is important to your relationship, it’s worth putting in the work to maintain intimacy, and scheduling sex is a great solution.
But while you can turn on a vibrator, you can’t necessarily turn on your body, or your desire. So, whether you’ve scheduled in some partnered or solo sex, here are some tips to set the mood:
1. Build anticipation
In the run up to your scheduled sex date, it’s important to exchange sexual currency with your partner - or with yourself! Sexual currency is a term coined by clinical psychologist Dr. Karen Gurney in her book Mind The Gap: the truth about desire and how to futureproof your sex life. It refers to how non-genital stimulating touch within romantic relationships helps us relate to our partners as sexual beings.
You can exchange sexual currency by flirting, by sexting, by teasing each other about the sex you’re going to have. Talk about the sex you’re going to have and what you’d like to do to each other. Building anticipation will mean you’ll already be in a sexy headspace when it’s time to get naked.
2. Check in for consent
Even if you’ve scheduled in sex, you’re still allowed to say no if you’re not feeling it! Checking in for consent is important - and you can make it sexy! Asking ‘can I go down on you?’ (or something like ‘can I tie you up and spank you until you’re moaning with pleasure?’) is another way to build anticipation for the sex that is about to happen.
If you’ve scheduled in a solo sex session, this is still important! Take a moment to check in with your body and see how you’re feeling. Scheduling sex about is about finding time for you to connect to your partner or to your body, not about pushing you to do something that you don’t want to.
3. Turn your phone off
Nothing is less conducive to getting into a sexy headspace than a constant stream of notifications distracting you from your partner and your pleasure! Turning your phone off is a way to be intentional about having sex and get into a sexy headspace. Hearing the ping of new emails is more likely to stress you out than help you feel sexy, so turning off your phone will let you focus on your scheduled sex session.
4. Prepare your space
Lighting a candle is a cliché - but clichés exist for a reason! Dimming the lights also works - though you don’t necessarily have to go as far as sprinkling rose petals on the bed. The romantic lighting will help set the mood, and you can even pop on a playlist of sexy songs. Again, it’s all about creating an intentional space where you’re not going to be distracted by the un-sexy stresses of everyday life.
Another thing you could do is make sure you have lube and any sex toys you might want to use on your nightstand. Making sure they’re easy to grab during sex removes the ‘friction’ to getting sexy. And speaking of removing friction, Momentum Water Based Lubricant is perfect to have on your nightstand to keep everything slippery when you’re getting sexy.
5. Read erotica, listen to audio erotica, or watch porn
Reading erotica, listening to audio smut or watching porn is a great way to transfer from a busy, stressful day to having sex. Watching porn with your partner can be a very intimate experience, but it can also let you get into a sexy headspace. Especially for people with vaginas, responsive desire is more common than being spontaneously turned on. Responsive desire is when desire shows up in response to stimulation: the body will respond to sexually relevant stimuli, such as reading erotica.
Reading aloud erotica with your partner - or on your own! - or watching porn can help set the mood by taking the pressure off your body to get instantly turned on. Even though you’ve scheduled sex, the expectation that your body doesn’t need time to ‘warm up’ isn’t sexy!
6. Do something that makes you feel sexy
The most common advice for this one is to wear some lingerie or underwear that makes you feel especially sexy. You could play some music and dance around, or you go for a run. Maybe there’s a certain kind of perfume or aftershave that makes you feel sexy! Whatever works for you, set the mood by doing something that makes you feel good, and you can carry that confidence into the bedroom.