Sex as Pancakes

My husband and I are having trouble finding time for sex. We get up at different times in the morning and we’re often to tired to have sex at night before bed (work! kids! more work!). We’ve tried scheduling sex on our calendars, and that sort of worked in that we “got it done,” but it didn’t feel the same to me. I want sex to be special again. Is there a way to schedule sex without taking away the magic?

The short answer is, absolutely! You may have guessed from the title of this blog post, but (surprise!) I have a metaphor that is just the answer for this question.

Many, many couples in our couples therapy practice in Bethesda, MD find it difficult to make time for the relaxed, passionate, lingering sex they enjoyed while dating. Work is busy, kids require energy, and the dishes and the laundry and the list goes on…and by the time you fall into bed at night, you’re asleep before your head hits the pillow.  So scheduling sex is a way to carve out the time on your calendars to make sure it happens. It’s not the scheduling itself that’s the problem, it’s the thinking about the scheduling. So here’s where my sex as pancakes metaphor comes in.

Imagine a couple who share a ritual of making a pancake breakfast together every Saturday morning. It’s a meal they linger over, and the time it takes to make and eat it is special and protected in the schedule. No matter what else they have going on over the weekend, pancakes are how the day gets started. As soon as they wake up, he turns to her with a smile and says “it’s pancakes today!” She gives him a kiss and says, “I’ve been looking forward to making pancakes with you all week.” They go downstairs, and have all the ingredients they need. She mixes the batter, he heats up the griddle. He gets an idea and asks, “Want to add blueberries this time?” She thinks about it and says, “Sure! Let’s change it up!” When the pancakes are ready, they sit at the table together to eat. The butter melts, the syrup pools. Each bite is delicious. They already can’t wait until next Saturday morning’s pancakes.

This metaphor about sex as pancakes helps you to shift from thinking about sex like routine to thinking about sex like ritual. A routine is something that happens regularly, or casually. Like every Tuesday morning you take the trash out to the curb.  Nobody wants scheduling sex on the calendar to feel like a PTA meeting every third Monday at 6 pm.  Not so special.

But a ritual is special, it’s important. A ritual is something you look forward to: “Ohh, won’t it be so nice to have time to ourselves Monday evening while the kids are at piano lessons?” The time a ritual takes in your day is something that you protect: “Thanks for the invite to brunch, but we already have plans Saturday morning!” A ritual is fantasized about before it happens (I can’t wait!) and reminisced about after it’s over (that was amazing!).  So go ahead, write “pancakes!” on your calendars, and enjoy every delicious taste.

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