Do date nights help revive your sex life?

Q Do date nights actually work to help your sex life? The thought of them makes me want to stick pins in my eyes but something’s got to happen or we’re never going to have sex. 

People want to stick pins in their eyes at the thought of date nights because they involve planning for sex.

I really don’t understand why people have such a strong knee jerk reaction to planning sex, but they do! People are like, ‘What?’ That’s awful. That takes all the fun out of it’ or ‘So what, I just put it in my diary – ‘have sex today’. That just turns it into a chore’.

Now, why does it turn it into a chore?

You’d write down a restaurant booking in your diary and get a lovely flush of anticipation every time you look at it. It’s something to look forward to. We plan going out to restaurants all the time. We choose the restaurant, look at the menu online, think about what we’re going to order, what we’re going to wear. Why is it acceptable to plan for a meal but suggesting we do the same with sex not acceptable?

The REALLY funny thing is that we DO plan for sex.

Even at the magical start when we think it’s all spur of the moment. When you first meet, couples put a huge amount of effort into planning sex. You work out what you’ll wear to show off your body to maximum potential, choose underwear carefully, make sure the bed linen is fresh, think about music, lighting, what sort of things you’ll do to each other once you get going, how they’ll react when you pull out that signature sex move….

Sex is a special occasion at the start and there’s no end of anticipatory planning.

I am very pro date nights because I think anticipation is a fine substitute for spontaneity.

And – like it or not – spontaneous desire does disappear over time. You need to create desire long term.

Having said that, there’s a date night and a date night.

Simply writing ‘Date night’ on the calendar and putting absolutely no effort into planning what you’ll do means you’ll both look at each other in horror when it comes around and end up having awful, obligatory sex in the missionary position with the light out.

Date nights work when you both take turns in planning what you’ll do. And they don’t have to include sex.

Date nights shouldn’t be a night for sex. They’re a night (or day) when you put aside time to spend relaxed time together, doing things you like doing, that put you in the right place and mind space that might – MIGHT – lead to sex. If you don’t have sex, you’ve still bonded and had a nice time just the two of you.

So, when it’s your turn to plan, plan something nice to do together…but also plan something new to try in bed in case it does turn into sex.

Make it a surprise and be inventive. Thinking, ‘Oh God it’s date night tomorrow night and we’ll have to have sex’ is boring and does make it a chore. Thinking, “It’s date night tomorrow night. I wonder where we going and what we’ll do? And I wonder what surprise they’ve got for sex?’ makes it something to look forward to.

It doesn’t have to be a big surprise either. It could be sex in a different room, or great new lingerie, or maybe a sexy film you’ve picked out to watch.

So, does this still sound like something that makes you want to stick pins in your eyes?

Date nights do work but only if you approach them the right way.