Can You Have Maintenance Sex If You Don't Live Together? Sexperts Explain

When you've been dating your boo for a while, your sex life may start to shift from spontaneous hookups to more intentional sexy time that you've both pre-arranged. The latter, often deemed, "maintenance sex" is incredibly common within long-term relationships. Much like a running date night that sets deliberate time for romance, couples having dedicated sexy time can make space for them to connect physically — even as family, work, school, and life start to come into play. But can you have "maintenance sex" if you don't live together? And what does it mean if you and bae don't share a home, but still set aside special time to get it on?

"Whether you see your partner every day or once a month, it’s natural for sex to become less spontaneous over time — that feeling of wanting to rip your partner’s clothes off the second you see them may fade, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing," Stephanie Alys co-founder and Chief Pleasure Officer of MysteryVibe shares. "In fact, being more deliberate about sex gives both of you room to explore other parts of your relationship — as well as explore your sex life more intentionally."

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Perhaps the time I worked on maintenance staff as a (very queer) teenager at a summer camp is why the phrase "maintenance sex" makes me cringe. To me, maintenance seems like work, it feels like a duty. And whether you're married, dating, or having a one night stand — it is never you're duty to have sex with someone, even someone you love or have had sex with before. Terms like "scheduled sex" or "un-spontaneous sex" as Alys describes, feel more accurate to me. Especially when you and your boo have you own places, setting an intentional sexy night with your boo can give you time to prep sexy undies or take a long shower. It also can make space for conversation about moves you want to try, or things you want to explore.

Of course, having a running "sex night" or a fire emoji saved on your Google Calendar doesn't guarantee anyone is getting lucky — no matter your living situation. "Whether sex with your partner is spur of the moment or carefully planned, it should always be consensual. Both partners need to be prepared for a 'No' in either situation — and no further explanation should be required if a partner wants to raincheck (or cancel) a scheduled sex date," Alys says. If you feel a cold coming on, or you're just not trying to have sex tonight, you're allowed to call it quits and head back to your place, at any time.

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Still curious about the psychological aspects of scheduled sex with a a partner you don't live with, I reached out to Dr. Misty Smith, PhD, LPC-S and certified sex therapist, about the importance of deliberate sexy time. "Many couples are in long-term relationships, but do not live in the same home or even the same city or state. This doesn’t make sexual connection any less important for the relationship, provided the couple is sexually active," Dr. Smith contributes says. "Once a couple has connected sexually, there may need to be intentional time for sexual interaction for that portion of the couple’s connection to remain strong. It might even be more important to intentionally schedule time for sexual activity so they don’t miss out on the rare opportunity for intimate connection."

When you don't live together, you and your boo may kinda need to plan your future sex times, around roommates, parents, work or school. But having a plan doesn't mean the fun ends. "Routine becomes something to contend with in every relationship, whether it’s the evening routine, weekend routine, or sexual routine," Dr. Smith states. "If you think about something different, unique, or just plain crazy, propose it! A lot of times your partner will be open to the idea, they just have too much going on internally or externally to think of the idea." Having your own place may actually make it easier to pull off a sexy surprise, like setting up candles and flowers, installing a sex swing, or ordering a bunch Thai takeout.

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From holding a standing sexy night to talking to bae beforehand about trying new things in bed, it is totally possible and normal to have scheduled sex with your boo even if you don't live together. "Scheduled sex with your partner ensures sexual interaction occurs regardless of busy schedules. The type of sex couples have during 'maintenance sex' moments can vary from a vanilla quickie to scandalous, raw, passionate love making!" Dr. Smith ends with. "Just because it is scheduled doesn’t mean it has to be boring. It can range in time frames because it can be scheduled for when people have time!" If you and your boo both have work off on Tuesday, Monday may be an all night affair. If you both have an hour free on Saturday, you may squeeze in a quickie. Knowing each other's schedules and creating intentional time that works for the both of you can open communication and ensure everyone's needs are being met, especially when you don't live together.

Dedicating time and space for physical intimacy can fortify your communication and connection with your partner. Of course, if you're not feeling up for whatever you've planned, you are always allowed to postpone the sexy time or even straight up cancel it. From maintenance sex to scheduled sex, to whatever you and your boo want to call it — having intentional time for sex with your partner can be a healthy and important part of your relationship, even if you don't live together. You and bae don't need to share a roof to make scheduling the next time you'll share the bed something practical and sexy.