Many Couples Plan Ahead to Get It On

We have seen a falling economy lead to fewer jobs for many, more work for those still employed and soaring stress levels for everyone.

But no matter what their job situation, people can still find ways to fill their planners and stay busy, or at least distracted.

Unfortunately, a busy life can take its toll between the sheets, so much so that many couples in committed relationships find they must schedule time to have sex in order to make sure it happens at all.

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"In the magic of a beginning of a relationship, people seem to always find that need to be together to be a priority and it starts spontaneously," said Dr. Eli Coleman, professor and director of the Program in Human Sexuality at the University of Minnesota Medical School. "Especially when people start realizing that loss of intimacy, scheduling and prioritizing can revitalize them."

In fact, of the sexually active respondents to a poll from Consumer Reports, published this week, 45 percent reported planning a time to have sex with their partners.

Shula Jackson, 36, found that she and her husband's sex life had fallen victim to her family's busy schedule.

"It was my experience with a dual-career family that if we didn't save time to be together -- and it's not for lack of willingness -- but everything else will just elbow sex off the calendar," said Jackson, a blogger and CEO of SensuousWife.com, an online sexual health and well-being store.

Then, five years into her marriage, Jackson said she experienced a spiritual and sexual awakening, becoming the high-drive partner in her marriage.

Get Expert Advice on Love, Sex and Relationships at the ABCNews.com OnCall+ Wellness Center

A busy life and increased sexual drive could have left Jackson biting her nails, wondering when she and her husband would next have sex. Instead, she tried a different tack.

"I was resistant to the idea [of scheduling]," Jackson said. "How unbelievably unromantic is that? But it's definitely something that has given good fruit and has been a positive."

Making 'Sexy Time'

In fact, many are resistant to the scheduling time for sex. Online message boards and chats loudly proclaim that pre-planned sex is ridiculous and decreases the pleasure and excitement of a spontaneous romp.

"It is a challenge because the romantic ideal is that it happens in spontaneous ways. I hope we don't loose that, too," Coleman said. "The reality is with things impinging on people's lives, couples only wait for that spontaneity when both people happen to be available and ready."

This can be where prioritizing intimacy comes in and scheduling time together can be very important to the longevity and health of a relationship.

"The act of creating intimate space together is important for creating [an] intimate connection with each other," said David Greenfield, an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. "The longer they wait, the harder it gets to create that intimacy."

And even when people don't explicitly pencil in some "sexy time" on their calendars, the truth is they plan for sex all the time.

Couples who are trying to get pregnant often keep close tabs on the woman's ovulation cycle and time intercourse for the moment when conception is most likely. People in long-distance relationships may plan for sex during visits. Special dates, such as Valentine's Day or a birthday, can guarantee a roll in the hay for some.

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