Best estimates suggest that almost 50% of married women struggle to get in the mood at some point in their lives. As a Sex Coach who not only specializes in this field but also had first-hand experience with this for at least 10 years in my own marriage, I want to everyone to understand one thing: it’s 100% okay if you never feel in the mood again for the rest of your life.
I know the torture that this unnecessary pressure for our bodies to work can produce. Late night thoughts of, “What’s wrong with me?” “Will I ever be in the mood again?” or “Can I get in the mood tonight?” are the exhausting mental gymnastics that many women can relate to.
So let me make it very, very clear for you: arousal and desire can be cultivated within a safe, accepting, and pressure-free environment. You never have to be in the mood before a sexual experience, your pleasure can be gradually cultivated within a sexual experience.
I’m rarely in the mood and yet I have a regular, delightful, and mutually-fulfilling sex life with my husband of 20 years.
How do I do this?
I schedule my sexual experiences.
I’ve been surprised by the reaction to this advice that I have given my clients and program participants over the years- some jump on board with the idea right away, some people worry that it’s unnatural and means that they are broken if they “have” to do this, some of their husbands struggle with feeling unwanted if their wives don’t want to rip off their clothes before they enter the bedroom or worry that scheduling means that the fire has died out in the relationship.
Let me put all these worries and concerns to rest- this is just plain, ‘ol boring biology. Emily Nagoski (or whoever researched this) has found out that there are actually two types of desire: spontaneous and responsive. 70% of people have responsive desire which simply means that their desire responds. It’s cultivated. It doesn’t happen before the event. Sound familiar?
So why do we even have the term, “in the mood”?
One word: media.
Watch any sex scene and you’ll find a misleading formula: woman sees man across the room. Woman clearly is attracted to the man. She fans her face. Bites her lip. Tries to resist the urge until it overcomes her and suddenly they are undressing each other frantically as they burst through her apartment door.
Spontaneous desire is the only one that is talked about so it doesn’t surprise me when the women I support question, “But when will I need to stop scheduling sex and be healed?” to which I reply, “When your naturally curly hair becomes straight and your skin changes colour.”
It’s just how you work! Embrace it!
Scheduling sex has so many side benefits as well: making sure that you have an intimacy heartbeat in your marriage, taking the pressure off to take every physical interaction “the distance” (which results in more physical touch), taking the anxiety off “when will it happen again?”, time to mentally prepare for emotional and physical intimacy and not having to rely on everything being perfect for regular connection to happen.
A word of warning here: as mentioned in the beginning of this article, the sexual experiences must be safe, accepting, and pressure-free. If they aren’t, it’s very easy for women to have a tremendous amount of anticipation anxiety and for the scheduling tactic to backfire.
I tried to schedule sex early on in our relationship and not only did I chose the worst time possible (Friday nights) but we also hadn’t designed the sexual experience to provide me with the comfort, acceptance, and freedom that I needed to make it work.
Once in the proper scheduled environment, the next step is to simply ask yourself, “what feels good to do right now?” even if it isn’t necessarily a “sexual” act. Maybe you want to talk, hold hands, take a shower together, give or receive a massage, cuddle naked, or have your hair brushed.
Other tips to make scheduling work:
- Schedule at least once a week or else you will forget that you enjoyed the last experience.
- Choose a time that works for you (I landed on weekend mornings).
- Keep the day and time consistent each week if you can.
- Communicate very clearly if you have to reschedule. Attempt only one reschedule and then if that doesn’t work- skip until your regular day.
- Don’t skip more than once.
Just like any self-care practice that you truly enjoy like yoga, meditation, dance, or running, it just goes on your calendar and sometimes you just have to trust the process and head to the bedroom with your husband in tow.
Permission to never be in the mood again.
Janna Denton-Howes is a Sex Coach who specializes in helping married women want and enjoy sex more with their husbands. Known for her popular course, The Wanting It More Program, Janna empowers women to create boundaries, trust their intuition and prioritize their pleasure in the sexual experience. After getting married as a teen and struggling with low desire, Janna spent many years trying to increase her libido with no long-term results. She eventually developed her own methodology for healing this, first for herself and now for hundreds of other women.
If you find yourself WANTING to want sex with your husband but just not (for whatever reason), I have a free class this week only. “The Real Reason for a Lack of Desire and the 6-Step Solution to Connecting Again”.