Scheduling sex can help partners struggling to get intimate. If that's stifling, a sexologist said to try setting erotic time zones instead.

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Sexologist Shamyra Howard recommends couples try an "erotic time zone" instead of scheduling sex.Crystal Cox/Business Insider
  • Some people don't want to have sex as much as, or at the same times as, their partner.

  • Sexologist Shamyra Howard said "erotic time zones" have helped her clients.

  • Erotic time zones are times in the day when you're more likely to initiate or say yes to sex.

Couples therapists often recommend partners schedule sex when they're struggling to get it on, but sexologist Shamrya Howard said setting "erotic time zones" can be less restrictive and keep a bit of spontaneity alive.

An erotic time zone is a period of time when you are most likely to feel desire or want sex, according to Howard, a licensed clinical social worker and AASECT-certified sex therapist. They can be useful when partners don't want sex at the same time, whether that's because of work schedules or hormone cycles.

For example, if one person wants to have sex at 5pm, their partner might reject them if they tend to be more ready for sex at 11pm — so, telling each other when you are most likely to say yes to sex can help both parties know when's a good time to initiate.

Plus, Howard said, knowing when your partner's ETZ is gives you both a chance to flirt with each other "to keep each other warm, until it's time to heat each other all the way up." The more you flirt, the more aroused you'll be, which makes sex better — especially if you have a clitoris, Howard said, because it increases blood flow to the genitals, making orgasm more likely.

Howard told Insider the best ways to establish erotic time zones, and how they can help to lubricate things in the bedroom.

Erotic time zones can help couples experiencing a 'desire discrepancy'

A "desire discrepancy" is where partners seem to want different amounts of sex or at different times, meaning they have less sex than one or both of them wants, Howard said.

Problems can worsen when one partner tries to initiate sex but gets turned down, leading to feelings of rejection, which could make them less likely to try in future.

By increasing the likelihood of sex, Howard said, erotic time zones can help initiating partners feel less rejected, because they know when they're more likely to get an enthusiastic yes.

The best way to set up an erotic time zone is to just talk about it

"Most couples don't talk about sex enough," Howard said, so she encourages clients to "use their mouths" (not in that way — just yet).

"Everyone has a different sexual recipe for their relationships — certain things that turn you on, the things you do in bed, ways you like to have sex together," she said. She encourages her clients to talk about this "recipe" as often as possible, and to include an erotic time zone in that chat.

She said the best way to maintain an erotic time zone is to talk as often as you can, because the times you will want to have sex will change, often based on things going on in your life, your mood and stress levels, and your health.

For example, if your ETZ is normally 9 a.m. but you know you have early meetings at work one week, you might tell your partner that it's best to back off before breakfast for a while.

An erotic time zone doesn't mean automatic consent

Of course, Howard said, just because someone has indicated that they are more likely to want sex during their erotic time zone, it doesn't mean that they will always want sex at that time, so initiators still need to look for enthusiastic consent even during an ETZ.

"An ETZ does not mean you are obligated to have sex or that you should expect sex. It is just a way to manage a desire discrepancy in your relationship, not to automatically guarantee sex at a certain time.

"You still need to ask your partner if they are in the right space for sex, and what type of sex too," she said. Couples might have multiple different erotic time zones for when they are more likely to want to practice kinks, as well as an ETZ for more vanilla sex.

Read the original article on Insider