With the intrusions of career demands and child-rearing, most couples expect sexual activity to slow down over time. For many, the decrease in intimacy places an added burden on the relationship.
As unromantic as it sounds, contractually securing your shared values about everything—even the most intimate—before you walk down the aisle or cohabitate can be key to preserving the passion.
For anyone with assets, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are the legal standard. But the newest twist in these agreements is the lifestyle clause: like weight or fitness requirements between partners, mandated vacation time, ultimatums addressing infidelity or substance abuse — as well as guidelines about the frequency of sex.
Gregg Sullivan, a New York City-based film producer, signed such a so-called “love contract” with his longtime girlfriend, committing them to regularly scheduled sex and to keeping healthy and trim. “If I let myself go and abandon her sexually, she has the right to have sex with any other person she wants,” Sullivan told the New York Daily News, adding, “ it keeps me on my toes. I want to be her man.”
Lifestyle clauses operate much like any other condition in a prenuptial agreement or its nuptial-free counterpart, the cohabitation agreement. The clause sets forth an expectation one or both partners should uphold and typically includes a penalty that a spouse agrees to incur if he or she violates the stipulation.
“It’s nice to have a contract and say, look, we did agree to this,” said sex therapist and marriage counselor Gracie Landes in an interview with CBS.
While the concept of contractually mandated sex may appear to strip the act of spontaneity, experts say even restrictive agreements can have liberating effects.
“I have found there can be a lot of joy in having structure and knowing what’s going to happen,” Landes explained.