When a relationship is new, lovemaking feels as natural and spontaneous as sunrise. Sex just seems to happen — at midnight, between the main course and dessert, just before going out for the evening. But after years of marriage, mortgages, and maternity leave, it can fall off the Things I'm Dying to Do list and join the Things I Really Ought to Do list — right under "start diet" and "flood-proof kids' rooms." You know you're always purring with happiness when you do have a romantic romp with your partner, but finding the time, energy, and even the desire can become elusive.
According to an Australian study, 27 percent of wives and 54 percent of husbands say they would like to have more sex. But 22 percent of married women in their 50s and 37.9 percent of married women in their 60s haven't had sex during the past year. To bridge this desire gap, we consulted top psychologists and sex experts to share their insights for bringing back that loving feeling. Not surprisingly, it starts with what you think and what you say to each other. Here are five fire-starting words to help boost your sexual mood.
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Q: "I like to fool around in the evening, but my husband's a morning man. When we didn't have kids or demanding jobs, it was easier. Is there any way to synchronize our sexual watches?"
A: First, make sure you understand the reasons you each prefer a different time of day. Is it because he's too exhausted and agitated after a day at work? Are you distracted in the morning about getting the kids off to school? "After you've identified your concerns, it's up to the other person to come up with a practical solution," says Terri Orbuch, PhD, a psychologist and the author of 5 Simple Steps To Take Your Marriage From Good To Great. Maybe you can arrange for the kids to have a sleepover with Grandma once a week if she lives nearby. Maybe your husband can work on putting his office politics obsession on ice for one night.
If the logistics still can't be managed, make like preschoolers and take turns. "If you each compromise on timing, you'll see that it makes you appreciate your partner's consideration more," Dr. Orbuch says. "Once you get your body started on a sexual course, your brain and mood will soon catch up."
Q: "Although I reach orgasm most easily through oral sex, my husband seems to oblige me only grudgingly. How can I get him to be more into it?"
A: You have more wind at your back here than you realize, says Debby Herbenick, PhD, a research scientist in the Applied Health Science department at Indiana University. A recent Kinsey Institute study of middle-age couples found that one of the most important predictors of a man's happiness in a relationship was his ability to make his partner climax. So if you make it clear that this particular technique is your ticket to the top, he's likely to cooperate.
"Try saying, 'I get really turned on when you do this, and I'd love you to do it more often,' " says Andrea Syrtash, the author of Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband). Also, don't assume he's begrudging you; maybe he's a little insecure about his performance, Dr. Orbuch says. Again, he'll probably appreciate specific feedback, and few things are more of a turn-on for a man than watching a woman become turned on. Finally, suggest any changes that might make oral sex more appealing to him, like trimming your pubic hair or trying a new position that's more comfortable for him. "A give-and-take is the best way to remove any defensiveness and get him to open up," Dr. Herbenick says. Keep reading...
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