Dear Dr. Jenni,
I am about to get married, and my fiancé wants to establish a contract where we agree to have sex every single day. We have been sexually active almost every day since we met, but I feel like a contract sets up an unrealistic obligation. I don’t want sex to feel obligatory, but he feels that if we don’t make a conscious effort to prioritize it, it will fall to the wayside. Your thoughts?
—Decreeing Daily Sex
What a wonderful question! While you are coming from different perspectives, you are both right. Your “spontaneity” idea maintains that sex stems from a place of seductive desire. His “planning” idea argues that desire results once sex starts.
The benefit of spontaneity is the thrill in never knowing when sex might happen. The benefit in planning is the assurance that you will regularly have sex and time to intimately connect with one another.
On the down side, those who solely depend on spontaneity may find themselves living a busy life and neglecting to have sex as often as they’d like. And those who subscribe to only planning sometimes feel like sex can be as routine as brushing your teeth.
The solution sounds like a compromise of both strategies. Besides, one approach can feed the other. You can have regular scheduled sex sessions that have an ambiance of excitement, fantasy and pleasure. The energy and fun you have from these times together may also inspire you to be more salacious and seductive on the spur of the moment.
Whatever arrangement you decide, congratulations on having the courage to converse about this topic. This may be the most important vow you can take!
Dear Dr. Jenni,
I just stopped taking birth control pills and started using condoms with my boyfriend. I don’t like condoms either and want an alternative, but I’m worried that I will do something wrong and get pregnant. Is this common? Can you get pregnant during your period?
—Looking for Alternatives to Condoms
Don’t stop wearing the glove of love yet! Figuring out when to have sex without getting pregnant is an art that very few people have successfully mastered.
Some attempt the withdrawal method of extracting the penis before ejaculation. However, there can still be sperm in the pre-ejaculate, and sometimes the heat of the moment may make a person lose control quicker than they’d like.
Some attempt to use the rhythm method, whereby couples abstain from intercourse on the days of a woman’s menstrual cycle when she is ovulating. This requires cataloging changes in your cervical mucus and taking your basal body temperature to know when you are ovulating. Again, this is a skilled art that has to be learned and used accurately and consistently. Furthermore, some women can have cycles that are off and irregular from causes such as stress, too much exercise, illness or drugs.
As for getting pregnant during your period, it is possible. The likelihood is lower, but recognize that if you have a short menstrual cycle, you could ovulate a few days after your period. Since sperm are able to live in the reproductive tract up to three days, there is a slim possibility of fertilization. Furthermore, spotting or breakthrough bleeding can be mistaken for a period, and if you are ovulating at this point, then pregnancy is almost a given.
Check out Planned Parenthood or Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center for numerous alternatives if you don’t want the pill or condoms. Some options include a patch, an intrauterine device (IUD), shots, sponges, caps and a ring you can insert into your vagina. And don’t forget the adventure of outercourse!
Send questions for Jenni Skyler, PhD, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org.