Rev Up Your Sex Life

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Upping the Interest

So how can you keep your sex life humming, whether it's year three or 33? The first thing you should do is dispense with any notion that sex needs to be "perfect." Forget starry-eyed sex scenes in movies and on TV, and take with a grain of salt articles about G-spots, multiple orgasms, and the like. And keep these practical pointers in mind:

Periodically, do a sexual "check in" with your partner. "You continually need to reassess how you touch each other," says Zoldbrod. "Just because a particular routine worked well 15 years ago, doesn't mean it'll work forever." Don't be afraid to talk about your needs for fear of hurting your partner's feelings. If you frame the conversation as a "check in," it's less likely to be interpreted as criticism.

Don't be so goal-oriented. "If I feel like every sexual encounter with my husband has to end in orgasm, I'd never do it," says Jeanette, 37, a stay-at-home mother in New York City. She's right -- women, say experts, are particularly prone to distraction when it comes to sexual pleasure. "Instead of worrying, I try to just clear my mind and enjoy the moment. If it happens, it happens. If not, I'm just glad we took the time."

Have sex as often as you can. Okay, that may sound like pressure that you don't need, but it's not what it sounds like. "My husband and I make a concerted effort to have sex -- or at least spend some time together naked -- a couple of times a week. For us, sex leads to more sex, because it makes us feel sexy. The longer we go without, the more okay it feels to go without," says Emily, 40, a medical administrator in Boston.

 

Rethink that automatic "no." If it's been an exhausting day and you're thinking, "If he asks, I'll say no," try to retrain your thinking. Leave the question open.

Tap into your primitive brain, says Zoldbrod. "Sex is a basic human drive, in the primitive part of our brain." Unfortunately, that gets boxed out of a life where we are using our "higher" brains to get our jobs done and our families cared for. To tap into that part of your brain, think of sexual images that appeal to you. Look at pictures, read erotic literature, watch sexy movies, whatever works for you.

Reject the "normal" model of sex as desire, arousal, orgasm, resolution. It may not always happen that way, or in that order. Says Zoldbrod: "Good sex is what happens when two people who love and trust each other take off their clothes and spend some time together, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens, it will be pleasurable."

"For me, it's about getting in the mood well before we'll be together," says Donald, 34, a health consultant in Long Island City, New York. "If my wife and I are e-mailing each other during the day about 'normal' things, like picking up the dry cleaning, I'll add a P.S. with some sexy suggestion. Nothing super overt, just a reminder that I'm thinking about having sex."

 
Continued on page 3:  Is It Time for Help?

 

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