When it comes down to it — aging can be a bitch, especially when it comes to sexual activity. Some seasoned folks lose interest in sex, believing that their once lust-filled, erogenous days are now in their rearview mirror. Any remnant of a passionate fire is barely a spark. Many couples are no longer synced in their sex drive and have become roommates, no longer lovers.

Folks in a marriage or long-term relationship may feel they have lost some of their mojo. But life happens: job, kids, grandkids, mortgage, bills, illness. Libidos become mismatched under one roof. (The roof, the roof, ain’t on fire.) Couples can lapse into an aimless and lengthy dry spell.

A tried-and-true remedy that can end a dry spell is to introduce the magic of maintenance sex into a relationship.

What is maintenance sex?

Maintenance sex is about making a conscious effort to have sex regularly to maintain your relationship whether you want to or not. It is the key to getting out of sexual stagnation to ignite those erotic fires again. Remember, by scheduling maintenance sex, you are not turning sex into a chore, like doing the laundry or taking out the trash. It is a link to sexual reciprocity and satisfaction.

Maintenance sex encourages you to prioritize intimacy as a couple by planning it in advance. You can schedule your sex trysts like a real appointment. Just as you would write a doctor’s appointment in your calendar or on a Post-It. It sounds clinical, but if you wait to have sex until you both are magically in the mood – it may be a long, long wait.

“It’s important in any long-term relationship for couples to maintain a sexual routine,” says certified clinical sexologist Dawn Michael. A routine is perfect because there is no asking or getting rejected, and the couple knows when they will be intimate with each other. When there is no consistent time, one person usually will push for it, and the other will reject it, leading to hurt feelings. This can set up an out-of-sync sexual pattern that over time may be hard to fix.”

Maintenance sex forces open dialog

In practicing maintenance sex, partners are forced to talk about their needs and desires. Maintenance sex makes you and your partner communicate about sex beyond just “No.”  It is about making a pact to prioritize sex. It can open communication lines about sexuality and offers an opportunity to start confiding in your partner about your fantasies, fetishes, and even kinks.

Maintenance sex ends dry spells

Mismatched libidos can be frustrating and can lead to relationship friction. Your relationship may go on like this for years until fighting and irritability set in, someone has an affair, or someone walks away. Life or relationship discord can hijack your sexuality. Maintenance sex can avoid these troublesome situations when sexual bids are ignored, dismissed, or even harshly rejected.

Maintenance sex can be done anywhere and anytime

Although it’s scheduled, it doesn’t have to feel boring and routine. Change up the location and time. Discover the best places to have sex in your home or venture beyond its walls. How does morning shower sex sound? How about an outdoor romp? Kitchen counter quickie?

Maintenance sex ends making excuses

The problem most couples have in long-term relationships is taking off-from-the-launch-pad sex. The typical excuses for putting off sex are that you’re really not in the mood or that it’s going to be a lot of work. And while you know you should have sex, you just can’t be bothered. Well, swing open the front door and enter maintenance sex, a vehicle to get your sexual engines revved up with zero excuses, just a firm commitment.

Maintenance sex can be cultivated

Maintenance sex can be cultivated by kissing, holding hands, and cuddling; these acts can go a long way to increase your mental focus and agility to think more about physical intimacy. These acts of affection can plant the seed to put romance in the mind.

The magic of maintenance sex

Maintenance sex gives you a magic wand to cast a whole new world of pleasure and a new way of thinking about having sex. Go ahead and schedule your next sexual playdate. Do remind your partner of your approaching titillating rendezvous — talk dirty on the phone, send provocative messages, or text sexy photos of yourself. It’s all about recharging, rejuvenating, and making a commitment to each other to have sex on a regular basis.

While maintenance sex may not be the answer for everyone, you have nothing to lose by trying it.

According to Jennifer Levy, a Chicago-based licensed clinical professional counselor and certified sex therapist, “the choice isn’t really between ‘taking one for the team’ or being a good feminist. The thing that matters is the connection between you and your partner. Every relationship creates its sexual dance. There’s no right. There’s no normal. What will keep your relationship satisfying for you? If maintenance sex helps you feel closer and more fulfilled, go for it! Caring about your partner isn’t sexist. If it’s important to my partner, it’s important to the relationship.”