Why you should SCHEDULE sex! Planning ahead is just as passionate as spontaneous romps, scientists say

  • Planned sex is just as sexy as spur-of-the-moment encounters
  • Intentionality means we we don’t wait around for the right moment 
  • Researchers say the key is ‘intention, versus expectation’ 

If you were asked to think about passionate sex, ripping your partner’s clothes off for a spontaneous romp might spring to mind.

But a new study suggests that contrary to popular belief, planned sex is just as sexy as spur-of-the-moment encounters.

Researchers from the University of York found that while many people do endorse the ideal of spontaneous sex, there is no difference in passion or satisfaction than with planned sex.

‘We’re not necessarily saying you put it into a calendar—like 7 p.m. on a Tuesday, after putting dinner in the oven and before folding the socks,’ said Katarina Kovacevic, co-author of the study.

‘But the intentionality behind it can be transformative in the sense that we don’t wait around for the right moment, because sometimes the mood just never strikes, really, for some people, and that might deter them.’

A new study suggests that contrary to popular belief, planned sex is just as sexy as spur-of-the-moment encounters

In the study, the team carried out two studies to compare spontaneous and planned sex.

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‘There can be a lot of resistance to asking clients to talk about and plan sex more, to work as a sexual team,’ Ms Kovacevic said.

‘I think it’s because of what we see in the media, but the funny thing about that is there’s so much planning that goes into those scenes — a whole production team is there, actors memorize their lines.’

In the first study, the team surveyed more than 300 individuals in romantic relationships.

They found that endorsing the idea of spontaneous sex being better did correlate with reported satisfaction.

However, in the second study, which involved daily surveys of more than 100 couples over three weeks, the team found there was no difference in how satisfying a sexual encounter was – whether it was planned or happened spontaneously.

‘Generally, we did find that people endorsed the spontaneous sex ideal,’ said Professor Amy Muise, co-author of the study.

‘But, despite these beliefs, across our two studies we did not find strong support that people actually experience spontaneous sex as more satisfying than planned sex.’

The researchers compare how planning is crucial in many enjoyable aspects of our lives, from going on holiday to pursuing a rewarding career.

While many people do endorse the ideal of spontaneous sex, there is no difference in passion or satisfaction than with planned sex (stock image)

‘Since sex is important to many people, and has many health and relationship benefits, it makes sense to prioritize and approach sex in the same way,’ they explained.

With Valentine’s Day now here, the researchers say the key is ‘intention, versus expectation.’

‘Expectations for sex during holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays can lead to folks feeling pressure,’ said Ms Kovacevic.

Instead, the researchers recommend that couples should plan to spend quality time together to keep the spark alive.

‘Try to have [sex] before the big meal and glasses of wine,’ Professor Muise joked.


Researchers at the University of New Brunswick asked 362 heterosexual adults how they had staved off temptations to cheat while in a relationship.

1. ‘Relationship enhancement’ 

Seventy-five per cent of the study’s respondents, who were aged between 19 and 63, selected ‘relationship enhancement’ as their primary tactic.

This ploy included things like taking their partner on a date, making an extra effort with their appearance around them, or having more sex with them.

2. ‘Proactive avoidance’ 

The second most-popular was ‘proactive avoidance’, which involved maintaining distance from the temptation.

As well as physically avoiding the temptation, people also avoided getting close in conversation with that person.

3. ‘Derogation of the temptation’ 

The third and final tactic used by people was ‘derogation of the temptation’, which involved feelings of guilt, and thinking about the tempting person in a negative light.

Participants reported flirting less when they applied the final, ‘derogation of the temptation’ strategy.

But none of the strategies had an effect on the levels of romantic infidelity, sexual infidelity, and whether the relationship survived.

Psychologist Dr Alex Fradera, who was not involved in the research, said the findings show little can be done once feelings of temptation have crept in.

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