First of all, when I say “have sexual intimacy every 48 hours,” I’m not talking about penis-in-vagina intercourse exclusively. It’s important for couples to expand their definition of sex to include other forms of sexual intimacy such as sensate touch, sensual massage, manual stimulation, and naked cuddling, just to name a few. There are many types of sexual touch that can be physically pleasurable, and all of it helps couples foster more intimacy and connection.
So how does the 48-hour sex challenge work?
For couples open and willing, I often suggest turning this into a game: When one partner asks for sexual intimacy, it’s up to the other partner to say yes and then determine what kind of sex act they’d like to participate in, as well as when they would like it to happen, within 24 hours of the “ask.”
The goal is to get more comfortable saying “yes” to your partner and to make sex more of a priority in the relationship. I also suggest keeping a “Captain’s Log” for your partner, where you can write down anything you enjoyed after an encounter to keep in mind for next time.
I’ll usually pair the sexual intimacy with the Gottman Card Decks, an Imago Appreciation Dialogue, or the “36 Questions to Fall in Love.” These games and exercises increase the mental and emotional intimacy, which is necessary to foster simultaneously as a couple is working on enhancing their sexual connection.
It’s also important for them to address any past issues around shame and sex in therapy—I certainly don’t just recommend this exercise to couples when they first walk in. Many interpersonal and psychological issues can contribute to desire discrepancy, which are important to unpack as a couple before diving into a beefed-up sex regimen.