Scheduling Time for Love Taking the time to make love a habit with your spouse may just be what the doctor ordered. BY WENDY STRGAR
Set your clocks for some lovemaking time.
In the past year, the sex in our marriage seems to be taking a decline. In other words, it hasn’t been that good. Are there other ways we can work through this?
The famous heart surgeon, Dr. Dean Ornish once said, "Love and intimacy are at the root of what makes us sick and what makes us well, what causes sadness and what brings happiness, what makes us suffer and what leads to healing... I am not aware of any other factor in medicine—not diet, not smoking, not exercise, not stress, not genetics, not drugs, not surgery—that has a greater impact on our quality of life, incidence of illness and premature death from all causes."
These words began a revolution of thinking about the critical connections between our physical wellbeing and our level of connection in life. As a heart doctor, Ornish paved the way in demonstrating not just a mind and body connection, but a heart connection that determines our wellbeing, ability to heal and our most basic ability to enjoy life. He proved that our physical heart is deeply connected and influenced by our relationships, is intuitive and has been understood in this light since ancient civilizations. In some ways, the scientific studies only underline what we have always known: love is the cure as well as the illness in our world, and evolving our ability to love increases not only our chances of survival but creates a depth and meaning in life that only happens in relationships.
The healing affects of intimacy and connection extend deeply into the physical act of lovemaking. Hundreds of major medical studies have shown that an active sex life leads to a longer life, better heart health, a healthier immune response, reduction in chronic pain symptoms, lower rates of depression and even protection against some cancers. Men who have regular sex (twice per week) have half as many heart attacks as men who only have sex once per month. In fact, a regular garden variety sex life has been shown to extend life by as much as ten years. People who enjoy a meaningful sex life are less anxious, fearful and inhibited.
Knowing the benefits of maintaining a healthy sex life is the first step to making it a priority. Making time for love is an important barometer of the commitment and sustainability of your relationship. When you consider the outrageous scheduling hoops we agree to without qualm it makes you wonder how the idea of scheduling intimacy could still be so taboo. Yet, taboo it is; with an overriding belief that sex and intimacy are somehow tainted if they are not spontaneous and immediate.
There are a lot of good reasons to start including "love time" in your regular schedule. Leaving love to the spontaneous in a life that is overbooked with commitments to family and careers means that our love often gets the lowest ebb of our energy. Most of us arrive at our bedrooms exhausted, finally turning away from the last e-mail, the last bill to be paid, the last dish to be washed, the last light turned off. Even the most spontaneous among us can barely muster the energy of imagining a wild interlude at that moment.
Planning love dates can add excitement to the rest of the week. Looking forward to an intimate time, which can but doesn’t have to include full on sex, can be both relaxing and stimulating. Couples that are struggling to find physical connection may find it easier to agree to mutual massages than envisioning hours of lovemaking. Setting this time for lovemaking becomes part of the foreplay and gives permission to entertain thoughts that might come in handy later.
Inventing a shared language for intimacy connects partners. Revisiting the art of flirting can spice up even the most common of conversations, "What’s for dinner?" suddenly has multiple meanings. Unfulfilled or even worse, conflicting expectations about intimacy are often the most difficult ground for couples to maneuver. This is where communication is the currency of the relationship on every level.
Learning to schedule time for love requires that we acknowledge and are willing to talk about our sex life together. This is challenging because the taboo is so strong against speaking honestly and openly about sex, yet developing a language for love is one of the strongest predictors of having a good sex life. Remember that sex is supposed to be fun, now go make time to play.
Wendy Strgar is the founder of GoodCleanLove.com, which provides products and advice for sustainable love. If you have questions about products or toys send them in and Wendy will be happy to share her knowledge.