30 ways to reconnect with your sexual self -- fast.
Get Back That Lovin' Feeling
If you feel like you've lost touch with the part of you that couldn't wait to get in bed with your sweetie, you're not alone: More than half of all women say they don't have enough time to make love with their partner. Here are 30 ways even the time-pressed can rekindle the flame.
For most women, one of the fastest ways to rev up sexually is to be romantic. To bring back the fun, remember marriage is good for sex. New research suggests that a woman's sexual satisfaction increases when she feels a sense of commitment in marriage.
- Visit a place that's special to the two of you. Go to the restaurant where you had your first date, or stop by the spot where he proposed and reminisce, suggests Gregory J.P. Godek, author of 1001 Ways to Be Romantic (Sourcebooks Trade, 1999).
- Do something sweet for him. Wipe the snow off his windshield or open the paper to his favorite section. "Little things that make him feel special can make you feel romantic, too," says Godek.
- Play Twenty Questions. Try this get-intimate game: On pieces of paper, write down categories -- such as teenage years, morals, love, and sex -- and put them in a bowl. Take turns drawing a category and asking each other a related question. For example, if you draw morals, ask him if he'd ever blow the whistle on a cheating friend. "You can build romantic intimacy by getting to know new things about your partner," says Godek.
- Take risks together. You don't have to bungee jump, but definitely try something new a deux. "Trying something together is a bonding experience," Godek says. "Plus, you'll see each other's first reactions, which will remind you of why you fell in love."
- Go on a mystery date. Ask a friend to plan an entire date for you from start to finish. "This will get you out of the what-to-do rut," explains Cyndi Haynes, co-author of 2002 Romantic Ideas (Adams Media, 1998). It doesn't matter if she sends you to a quilting fair, either. "Doing something unexpected is almost always fun. If nothing else, you can laugh about it together."
Get in the mood for sex -- and make sure you send a clear signal to your spouse. In a two-year survey of 40 married couples, researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst found that women expect their husbands to sense when they're ready for romance.
- Eat mint ice cream. Studies show that minty smells and tastes stimulate blood flow to your pelvic region -- which is the first step toward full-blown arousal, says Alan Hirsch, M.D., neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, in Chicago.
- Get physical. Remind yourself during the day that you are physical and sensual; most jobs force you to be in mental mode. A simple stretch can help. "Move your limbs around, curve your torso, and touch your toes," says Howard Devore, Ph.D., a sex therapist in San Francisco.
- Read a book. In a study of 100,000 women, half read sexy stories, half didn't. Guess who had sex the most? Risque readers. "These women had twice as much intercourse," says Laura Corn, author of 101 Nights of Grrreat Sex (Park Avenue Publishers, 1995). "You can read any kind of sensual story, even a romance novel."
- Give yourself a massage. Using the pads of your fingers, rub in a circular motion from your belly button to your pubic hairline. This increases blood flow to your pelvic region, says Laura Berman, Ph.D., co-author of For Women Only (Henry Holt, 2001). New research suggests that the nerve endings that stimulate the clitoris are more numerous than experts once thought -- they could even extend into this area.
- Rent a Harrison Ford movie. Eileen M. Palace, Ph.D., director of The Center for Sexual Health, in New Orleans, recommends that you grab your honey and watch an action-adventure flick. "In our study, people who watched these movies actually had more sexual desire than people who just lounged around," she says.
Fun Ways to Flirt
Once a couple ties the knot, they often stop the teasing and toying. It turns out that the flirtations your mother used -- batting eyelashes, ego-stroking compliments -- really work. Plus, for women, flirting can cause the body to produce oxytocin, a feel-good hormone.
- See eye-to-eye. Next time you're deep in conversation, make eye contact with him for about four seconds, then look down for a moment. Look at him again for two or three seconds and smile. A study in London showed that this move is part of our human mating ritual.
- Hold his hand. There are 40,000 sensitive nerve endings located there. A few soft strokes, going up his wrist and circling his palms, will start to heat things up, says Lou Paget, author of How to Be a Great Lover (Broadway, 2000).
- Pay attention. After years of being together, sometimes couples only half listen to each other. Next time you're alone, really listen. "One of the most powerful aphrodisiacs is your undivided attention," explains Judy Kuriansky, Ph.D., author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Dating (Macmillan, 1999).
- Compliment him. It may sound easy, but surprisingly, most guys don't get enough praise, especially outside of the office, explains William Crane, author of The Art of Kissing (St. Martins Press, 1995). If he's happier, he'll be more into you.
- Let him peek. "Men are extremely visual," says Shmule Boteach, author of Dating Secrets of the Ten Commandments (Doubleday, 2000). "Nothing turns us on more than the sight of the women we love." When you get home, change from your work clothes to at-home casuals in a spot where he can catch a glimpse. Most women, in turn, love the idea that just a glimpse can cause a big reaction.
- Turn on the oven. Men get aroused by the smells of cinnamon buns, vanilla, and pumpkin pie, according to studies conducted by Hirsch. There's no need to slave over the stove -- a frozen or pre-made goodie works just as well.
A little more mind/body awareness can make lovemaking more exciting than ever.
- Tone your sex muscles. Women with weak pubococcygeus (PC) muscles have one third as many climaxes as those with strong ones. Strengthen them with Kegel exercises: Squeeze your PCs (the muscles that stop the flow of urine) for five seconds. Work up to 20 reps a day, says Beverly Whipple, R.N., Ph.D., co-author of The G Spot (Dell, 1983).
- Breathe. Sometimes you're on the verge of an orgasm, but can't quite peak. "As you feel your orgasm coming on, take in deep breaths through your nose," says sexologist Ava Cadell, Ph.D. "Then breathe out through your mouth."
- Stay focused. Only about 25 percent of women have an orgasm every time they make love. How do they do it? They focus on how good sex feels. When you're in the moment, try to shut out everything except your own sexual arousal, suggests Susan Crain Bakos, author of Still Sexy (St. Martins Press, 2000). "It may sound selfish, but the more you tell yourself, 'I love the way that feels,' the more orgasmic you'll be. He'll enjoy it, too."
- Laugh. Don't forget that sex is supposed to be fun. "Sometimes you're trying so hard to reach your peak that you don't even smile," says Bob Schwartz, Ph.D., author of The One Hour Orgasm (Breakthru Publishing, 1999). Letting out a playful, loving laugh before the point of climax can actually encourage orgasm.
- Take a break. Just when you're about to climax, stop for about five seconds. Repeat this move two or three times to build muscle tension before the big release. The more you build, the sweeter the eventual orgasm will be.
Stay-Healthy Sex Secrets
A satisfying sex life can decrease stress and help you live longer. Two Scottish researchers found that frequent intercourse is crucial if you want to feel young and keep your relationship healthy.
- Go natural. Studies show that the following herbal supplements have proven (and safe) track records for stimulating men and women: Ginkgo biloba and cordyceps mycelium, a hormone-like substance, promote blood flow; and L-Argenine, a natural amino acid, can make you highly aroused. Stay away from pills containing yohimbe. It is an aphrodisiac, but it recently has been found to be unsafe.
- Hit the gym. In a University of California study, women who did 20 minutes of aerobic activity every day had 30 percent more intercourse, fewer sexual problems, and more pleasure from orgasm.
- Have sex after your workout. In her studies, Eileen M. Palace also found that women are most excitable one hour after vigorous exercise.
- Stock up on the H2O. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, at least eight glasses. If your mouth feels dehydrated, chances are your vagina is, too, says Whipple.
- Have a glass of wine before foreplay. A glass a day has heart-health benefits, and it can help to ease your inhibitions.
- Don't cut out fat completely. If you don't get enough fat in your diet, the level of testosterone, the hormone responsible for your sex drive, decreases.
- Look forward to turning 40. Women in their 40s are healthier and more physically active than their 30-year-old counterparts. In recent years, studies show that they also have higher sexual self-esteem.
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