“Using ‘date night’ to make time for sex is like gardening for intimacy”
Whether through work, family, or just general stress, we’re all sometimes victims of our own diaries. It can be hard to make time to do pleasurable things. Especially when there are so many tasks on your to-do list that are way less fun but far more urgent.
We all know that sex and masturbation can have a positive impact on your physical and mental health. Orgasms release pleasure chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin. These give you a short-term boost in mood, and regular masturbation helps you stay in tune with your physical health too.
But despite how important sexual pleasure might be, it can often be hard to find time to do it. And although some people baulk at the idea of scheduling sex like it’s a dentist’s appointment, if you can’t find time, sometimes you have to make time.
Making time for sex shouldn’t be seen as a chore, or a mood killer: if sexual pleasure is important to you a ‘date night’ can be one of the most valuable things you do to help maintain intimacy in your relationship.
What Is The Importance of ‘Date Night’?
We caught up with Kate Moyle – a psychosexual therapist who is keen to encourage people to have more healthy discussions about sex – to ask what couples can do if they feel their busy schedules are getting in the way of their sex lives.
“It’s very easy for couples to push sex to the bottom of their priority list, and we have all been there when later becomes tomorrow, tomorrow becomes the weekend and the weekend becomes next week. Our lives are busy and we are permanently attached to the distraction of portable technology which interrupts us non-stop.
At the start of relationships we are giving that person and the relationship more of our undivided attention as we invest in it – and we could do with taking some more of this approach into long term relationships where we get a bit slack as our partner is always there, but we need to remember that at any point (and if we don’t look after our relationships and maintain, tend to and nurture them) that they may not become so healthy. It’s like gardening for intimacy.”
How Do You Go About Scheduling ‘Date Night’ Sex Without Killing the Mood?
Surely, organised fun is no fun at all? Wrong! Kate explains that:
“Working with couples this conversation often comes up in my therapy room, and I sometimes have to set a task or homework of ‘making time’. We put it in the calendar and get it in the diary. This time needs to be distraction free – no technology.
Unless the time is about adding some sexy tech, with vibrators like Crescendo, this time should be prioritised and stuck to, as if it were a work meeting or another appointment. Both partners should block it in their diary and it should be a regular occurrence, e.g. every other Tuesday at 7pm.”
Though you may feel your sex life is restricted to a schedule, it will inspire you to be more mindful in your relationship without the daily distractions. Make it romantic and maybe write a note for your partner to find with a time and place. Or write it in lipstick on your mirror for them to find.
What Are Some Ideas on How to Spend Your Date Night?
Once you’ve set the date, next comes the fun part: deciding what you’d like to do! There are plenty of ways to make sure that your night together doesn’t descend into the same old Netflix-and-chill routine.
Kate suggests taking it in turns to pick an activity from a list you’ve both created together, or making it a bit more interesting by keeping the activities as a surprise for one of you.
“An idea can be to each write ten ideas on ten separate pieces of paper and have them in a jar and at the start of the week one partner picks an activity out blind and that’s what they have to do. It could be going to the cinema, it could be having a bath together, or trying a new sex toy or position.
Try to be creative but not push each other too far out of your comfort zones. You could always share the ten activities you have put in with each other first and then the anticipation acts as a natural aphrodisiac.”
Alternatively you could take it in turns to plan a date night each week, with each of you getting the chance to choose the activity, and treat the other person to a night off from having to think about what to do!
If you’re less adventurous, or if planning unique activities each week sounds like far too much work (we get it – you’re busy and stressed, after all!) you might want to have a standing booking at your favourite restaurant. There you could spend part of your meal together chatting about fantasies you’ve had during the week or sexy ideas you’d like to try when you get home. Or maybe revisit a few of your old haunts, reliving previous dates, and chat about sexy things you’ve done in the past that you’d like to try again.
There are plenty of options! Kate also suggests picking one of your five senses to focus on in a particular evening – it can help you both me more mindful of what you’re experiencing, and focus more easily on the fun you’re having in the moment.
“Where we focus our attention and direct our brain we experience at a higher level, like turning up the volume. Couples can pick a sense and choose how to explore, with a blindfold, massage oil, food, music, or playing with touch with elements like feathers – the options are endless.”
And if you’re still struggling with ideas on what to do, check out the Pillow App – developed by Kate for exactly this situation, the app uses audio to guide couples through different intimacy experiences.
It can be a great way to try out new things in a relaxed way, so that you can enjoy what you’re doing in the moment rather than worrying that things might not be going according to your ‘date night’ plan.
What If ‘Date Night’ Doesn’t Work For Us?
This one isn’t a quick-fix or a one-off: it’s not as if you’ll spend one night together and suddenly feel like you’re back to the heady days of early-relationship sex again. Making time for each other is a long-term commitment.
Think of it like the difference between a fad diet versus eating healthily all the time. You need to build the habit, and stick to it, if you want to see the long-term benefits. As Kate explains:
“You have to be disciplined about making time, it won’t make itself! The key is once you start getting into sex and the experience you won’t remember it was a scheduled one – just an enjoyable one. Spontaneity doesn’t always lead to great sex.”