Is Scheduled Sex Really Better Than No Sex At All?


For most of my twenties, I've feared several red flags that I felt signaled I had unfortunately left the "young, fresh and fly" building and had my swipe card ready for the boring bus to adulting.

Some of these warning signs included not being able to tell the difference between rappers like Lil' Yachty and Travis Scott (are they a part of The Migos?), starting sentences with, "Back in my day…", and finally scheduling sex with my spouse.

First off, scheduling sex means you're clearly not having enough of it. You don't hear people who are bumping up more than a teenage boy with a Proactive regimen talking about scheduling oral for Thursday at 3:00 pm. Also, sex drives aren't quite that cooperative. At 2:55, it's not like your body is like, "Time to get horny. Sex is about to happen."

But juggling sex with marriage, parenting, and career is hella hard and social media star Devalle Ellis recently got real on his Instagram about why he and his wife Khadeen choose to focus on the quality of intimacy as opposed to the frequency. The couple are parents to three boys and are featured on the second season of OWN's Black Love. In his post, Devalle shares that real intimacy in any relationship is about taking time to genuinely connect and that even if you are having sex 24/7, it's not necessarily an indicator you're winning at love:

"Spouses owe it to each other to remain present sexually. And so often people believe intimacy is defined by frequency. So wrong."

Devalle shares even if it's five seconds of grabbing his wife's booty, maintaining a sexual connection doesn't always have to be solidified with a the grand act of penetration. It was a statement that resonated with me, especially given the guilt I've experienced lately at the realization that having sex with my own husband has become a novelty itself.

Believe me, when you get married, you swear you're going to be that same woman your husband fell in love with. The same one with her hands in his pants not even five minutes into the previews in the latest Marvel movie. The same one who actually made an effort to match her lacy black panties with an accompanying bra and shave her whole damn body because you just know it's about to go down.

But then, something happens called parenthood.

And you better believe that the same Ciara that was slithering, twerking, and having a whole "Body Party" in front of Future shortly before her first child is born, now two kids later is turning over in bed in a durag some nights and telling her hubby Russell Wilson "not tonight" because she's too tired.

It's because toddlers are the ultimate birth control.

While deep inside of me there still lives a woman that literally would suck on my husband's finger to indicate I wanted some, a whole c**k-blocking three-year-old later, and he can't look at my draws without her crying, "Mommy!" from the next bedroom. With this said, parents who are in the same boat as me, or on the sinking Titanic of sex because they have more than one child, might see scheduling sex as the only way to ensure that their genitals don't dry up and completely fall off.

Honestly, it's not even that you don't want to have sex, but when you become a parent, sleep will win over sex drive on the hierarchy of needs every damn time. And let's not forget that most days, especially as a mom, there's a toddler whose mission in life is to make sure their limbs are touching you in some way at all times. So when you do get a few moments to yourself, the last thing you want is to be touched. But Devalle is right. There is something about scheduled sex that just nails the coffin shut on my idea of what being grown and sexy would be like.

As I said before, my libido can't be scheduled.

And much of being sexually active while married with kids has to do with reinventing your idea of what sex has to look like. I had to abandon the idea that every hair had to be plucked from my body for sex to be enjoyable. It even took constant reassuring from my husband that sex with my hair wrapped in a scarf was just as sexy as "fresh from the salon" sex. As a result, we may not get our Skinemax on as regularly, but every few weeks, there's a moment when the kid is asleep or away and we realize that we still have some damn energy and the sexual urge to match. And to be honest, that sex is way better than any session that starts with an Outlook reminder because it's organic and based on passion and not a need to check something off on a list because we think that's what a perfect marriage involves.

A healthy sexual connection doesn't always have to come courtesy of some bomb penetration complete with the perfect climax.

Shoutout to the people that can maintain Grade A sex while juggling full-time jobs AND parenting. For the record, I don't know anyone that works 40 hours a week with toddlers that still get it on like a season of Power, but when it comes to sex, I truly believe that it's better when your heart is in it.

The other parts of your anatomy are nice, but if you're having sex just to say you did it, in my opinion, it's not really worth having.

That goes for whether your sex drive has you constantly pulling over to bump and grind in the backseat or for spouses like me who are forced to put it in park so you can do things like pick up salmon for dinner and pay bills. However, a girl always appreciates a nice booty slap while frying chicken, a lewd comment on the ride home from work that goes completely over the kids' heads but right between your thighs, and just any genuine reminder that her husband thinks she looks like Beyoncé in booty shorts even when she's in sweats and bubble facial.

Because when it comes to making a real sexual connection, if the body party can't get started without an Outlook invitation or before my clothes even come off, what are we really doing?

Featured image by Shutterstock

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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