The Secret to a Happy Marriage? This Couple Says It's Scheduling Sex

Facing a problem increasingly common to many married couples—a lack of intimacy—Jaclyn Gibson agreed only a radical solution would do: she started to schedule her sex life.

For the past five years, Gibson and her husband, Seth, who have two children and another on the way, have been setting appointments to have sex. She says that, far from making it a chore, it's transformed her marriage.

But how widespread is the problem, and how effective is Gibson's solution? Newsweek has spoken to her, and marriage experts, to find some answers.

Falling Sexual Frequency

It's no secret that many couples strive to keep the spark alive in their marriage, with advice ranging from regularly giving compliments to each other, having time to yourself, and of course, the age-old instruction always to listen to each other.

One common concern that couples often remark upon is their dwindling sex lives. They might celebrate another anniversary every year and be ticking off the milestones as each one passes. However, their libidos are left in the past, unable to keep up with progressing careers and growing families.

The General Social Survey [GSS] found that 61 percent of participants reported a very happy marriage in 2021, which might seem a healthy-enough majority. However, a study that looked at the sexual frequency of American adults throughout the 1990s up until 2014 found that Americans were having sex less often in the 2010s than in the 1990s. Sexual frequency took a notable dip among participants who were married, too.

If couples are getting swallowed up by modern hectic lives, then it can be easy for their sex lives to sit on the backburner. However, one couple believe that they have found the key to maintaining a happy marriage with a regular sex life.

Couple Schedule Their Intimacy
Jaclyn Gibson, 30, and her husband Seth, 32, pictured, along with their two daughters. The couple have been scheduling their intimacy for the last five years, and feel it's transformed their marriage @jaclynmgibson

'Making Sex a Priority Has Made Us Both Feel Pursued and Sought After'

Jaclyn Gibson, 30, from Chicago, spoke openly about her advice for a happy marriage, including weekly date nights and marriage counseling. But it was one particular tip that raised eyebrows on social media. Gibson said that she and her husband, Seth, 32, have been scheduling when to have sex for the last five years.

The couple have been together for nearly nine years and married for the last six years. Gibson relived how before they began scheduling when they'd have sex, it was a rare occurrence. It often resulted in her feeling rejected because her initiations wouldn't lead to anything.

Gibson told Newsweek about how setting aside time for intimacy has transformed her marriage because she and her husband are now both on the same page. "Before we began scheduling it, we were hardly having sex. We were either never in the mood at the same time, one person felt like they were initiating it way more than the other, or one felt like they were being rejected," Gibson explained.

"We heard the idea of scheduling sex at a marriage retreat when we were engaged. We never thought anything of it, but once we experienced what so many married couples experience, we revisited the idea. Seth brought it up to me and at first, I was so against it. I thought it would just take every ounce of romance out of it and just completely make sex a chore."

The Gibsons With Their Daughters
Jaclyn and Seth Gibson pictured left, and Jaclyn with her two daughters, right. She has spoken openly about how having a schedule for intimacy has been transformative over the last five years. @jaclynmgibson

Gibson admits that, at first, the arrangement felt "a little awkward," but after a few weeks, those feelings subsided. It became the couple's new normal. The schedule ensures they don't go more than three days without having sex, although it's not that regimented, so it can fluctuate by a day here and there.

"We try not to go more than three days. In some seasons, like during pregnancy, sometimes we change it to every four days," Gibson said, "but we always communicate about it and make sure we're both in agreement. We've been doing it long enough to know when that three-day mark has come, so we just make it happen and it's always the best.

"It makes it fun and exciting, too, because we're so much more flirtatious during the days we know it's scheduled. It doesn't even feel like a schedule anymore. It just feels like intention and effort is going into our sex life, and it's completely transformed our marriage," she added.

"It's made a massive impact. Making sex a priority has made us both feel pursued and sought after. It's kept us united and vulnerable, and in tune with each other."

The parents of two daughters, who are expecting their third child later this year, have tried getting rid of their intimacy schedule and going back to letting things happen naturally. But, just like before the schedule came into place, it didn't work.

A photo of Jaclyn Gibson with her two daughters, aged 3 and 1. The mom has told Newsweek how a schedule has improved her sex life.

Gibson added: "I know how easy it is to go back to not prioritizing it. Whenever we've tried to scrap the schedule, we fall right back into busy life and it's just not worth it. Scheduling it has been so fun and so helpful."

Scheduling Sex Can Increase Romantic Connection

Since opening up about how she and her husband prioritize intimacy, Gibson has received a mixed reaction online, as some have said this idea works for them, too. Yet there has also been plenty of backlash. Gibson even received comments and messages from people saying it's "terrible and sad" to schedule sex.

Despite the negative reaction, the Gibsons aren't the only couple who have a routine for their sex lives. It's a concept that many marriage counselors will even suggest to their clients to elevate their intimacy.

Licensed mental-health counselor Melanie Cooke of New York City told Newsweek about how scheduling sex can make marriages more successful.

Cooke said: "This is definitely something I've proposed to couples before with a lot of success. Scheduling sex is sometimes dismissed as being void of romance and passion, but when implemented in a way that meets the needs of the couple, scheduled sex can increase passion and romantic connection.

"The key here is that both partners are open to seeing this as an intentional choice to spend time together rather than an obligation. Scheduling sex is meant to create a conducive environment for passion and intimacy, not extinguish it," Cooke added.

Couple Share Tips For Happy Marriage
Counselor Melanie Cooke pictured. She has spoken about how scheduling sex can be a huge help for many couples she works with. Melanie Cooke

To many on the outside, the notion of scheduling their sex lives can sound regimented and strict. However, Cooke says that it's "still meant to be fun." It's just a way of making sure it's a regular practice rather than one that's forgotten among chaotic and imbalanced lives.

Having a Schedule Shouldn't Become a Chore

But, as with anything, what works for one couple might not be for everyone, so it's about personal preference. While the Gibsons feel like the routine has reinvigorated their intimacy and passion within their marriage, for some it can do quite the opposite.

Lisa Lawless, of Holistic Wisdom, focusing on sexual-health services, told Newsweek that she encourages the idea of a routine for those she thinks will make it work. However, sex shouldn't feel like an obligatory chore to tick off the weekly agenda.

Lawless said: "Scheduling sex with a partner can be great for couples and a bad idea for others. Planning intimate moments with your significant other can be ideal for couples who need structure or have busy schedules.

"Scheduling sex can allow partners to focus fully on one another without the distraction of daily responsibilities. This can make sex more fulfilling, relaxing and pleasurable.

"Planning it can improve collaboration between partners by communicating and understanding one another's desires, but partners should not schedule when it feels like a chore, or if it's done out of obligation."

If you have a personal dilemma, let us know via We can ask experts for advice on relationships, family, friends, money and work, and your story could be featured on Newsweek's 'What Should I Do?' section.