Psst! Here's The Crazy-Easy Secret To Cranking Up Your Libido

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Boost Your Sex Drive Naturally With This Easy Tip

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Buzz, Sex

Hint: It involves your Amazon account.

What's a girl with a low sex drive to do? The answer may surprise you.

While traditional advice suggests "spicing things up" with toys or bedroom games. The thing is, it's hard to imagine finding the enthusiasm (or time) to browse a sex store when thinking about doing the deed, alone, tires you. Author Pamela suggests an unusual approach: "Consider using a book as a sex toy."

Before you twist your brain into a knot trying to imagine how that might work, relax; Madsen is speaking figuratively. She advocates an approach known as bibliotherapy, and it was a key factor of the sexual awakening she describes in her memoir Shameless: How I Ditched the Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure ... and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner.

"Bibliotherapy works." Madsen says. "It reassured me that my desires were not unusual or abnormal in any way, and it supported me on my way to shamelessness."

What Is Bibliotherapy?

Dr. Susan Kellogg, a medical sexologist and reproductive health expert, explains: "Bibliotherapy is a fancy name for something simple: promoting sexual behavior through reading."

"Research suggests that women experience increased spontaneous arousal and desire if they have ready access to a library of arousing images and associations. When you read erotic literature (or literotica), you create a little library in your brain, and sometimes you need to 'check something out' to get yourself in the mood. You can very consciously choose to focus on a passage you read and found stimulating when you want to increase your sexual arousal."

Kellogg notes that in addition to helping women actively increase desire, bibliotherapy also has physiological benefits.

"There's some research out there that suggests that fantasizing increases pro-sexual chemicals, such as dopamine and testosterone — so bibliotherapy can be a powerful tool on multiple levels for a woman who is experiencing low sex drive."

Why Does It Work For Women?

Because, it taps into our internal thoughts and emotions. Kellogg explains, "Men think more frequently and more spontaneously about sex than women do. They also process a lot of their sexual thoughts through visual centers, so when they see something erotic, they have a pathway to arousal. Generally speaking, women aren't quite as visually stimulated. We are a little more intrigued by emotional memory and feelings as they're related to sexual thoughts."

She continues, "It can be difficult for women to relate to porn when they're watching a woman onscreen who has double-D breasts and a 24-inch waist. In the world of erotica, many writers avoid talking extensively about the physical attributes of the story's characters, and focus instead on situations and emotional relationships. This makes it easier for the reader to imagine being in the scene."

Madsen notes that bibliotherapy also works for women because it feels safe. "In order to feel uninhibited, women need to find things that are familiar and have boundaries, and books are great that way. You can pick them up and put them down whenever you want. Reading sexy books lets you feel okay about desire. People are writing about sex, and they're being published, and bookstores are stocking those books on their shelves. It's very sex-affirming."

How Does it Work?

The easiest way to practice bibliotherapy is to simply pick up a sexy book and start reading. But, erotic reading can also be part of a larger medical program. Dr. Kellogg requires her patients to commit to reading erotic literature for a twenty-minute period, at least three times a week. "I'm a medical sexologist, so I work with medical interventions, orgasm enhancers, and testosterone levels. I work with very concrete scientific things. But I need the brain to be on target. Sex isn't blood pressure. It's a total mind-body-spirit experience."

"When I give erotic reading as an assignment, people who might feel guilty or shy feel normalized. It's an assignment from their doctor. This is a practical way of figuring out how to spark sexual desire."

When choosing books, Kellogg recommends selecting erotic fiction or stories, instead of sex manuals or instructional guides. "There is a place for [how-to] books, absolutely. They are wonderful and helpful, but reading explicit instructions about how to become orgasmic is a bit mechanical."

"That said, people do ask me if it's okay to self-stimulate while they read their erotic stories, and I tell them 'of course!'. We just don't want technical how-to advice to be the focus."

Kellogg explains that while it's fine for partnered women to let their significant others know that they're practicing bibliotherapy, she recommends reading the books solo. If a woman's partner has a high sex drive, reading erotic literature together can result in quick arousal for the high-drive partner and frustration or intimidation for the low-drive partner, who perhaps have a delayed sense of arousal.

Dr. Kellogg suggests browsing for literature in the erotica sections at mainstream bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble and staying away from sex stores, at least initially, since that material can be a bit raw or intense for new readers. And now, of course, thanks to the internet, readers too shy to hit the stacks can browse and purchase in the privacy of their own homes.

Finding books that really speak to you is key to success. "Women have different preferences about food and music, and it only makes sense that we'd like all different kinds of erotica, too," said Kellogg. Find books that turn you on and seek out more by the same author, or further volumes in the same series.

Because of her success with bibliotherapy, Madsen encourages all women, even those without low sex drives, to read a few steamy stories and see what happens. "Bibliotherapy is a gift that all women can give to themselves. It does not require a partner, it's not expensive, and it's a great tool for acquainting yourself with your desire."

Well, there's a reason to get a library card if we've ever heard one.

Interested in checking out bibliotherapy? Here are seven places to start:

1. literotica.com. You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home to check out this free collection of steamy stories.
2. Lonnie Barbach's short stories. Barbach is a sexologist who's also written three books of female-centered erotica, so you know she knows her stuff!
3. Rachel Kramer Bussel's erotic anthologies. Bussel has edited over numerous erotic anthologies on topics ranging from quickie sex to spanking.
4. Penthouse Letters Compilations. Dr. Kellogg notes that some women get turned on by erotica written by men. The Penthouse collection is a great place to start.
5. The Herotica Series. These short story anthologies were written by women, for women. How can you lose?
6. Harlequin Romances. Madsen recommends bodice-rippers for women who are uncomfortable with explicit language, or who prefer their hot sex in romantic or historical settings.
7. Your own shelves! Dr. Kellogg suggests thinking about sexy passages you've 'stumbled upon' in the past, and dog-earing those pages for easy reference.

 

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