No doubt, busy schedules, fluctuating hormones and undesired changes in physique can wreak havoc on your sex life. You want to have that hot and spicy romp in the sheets you had in the beginning of your relationship, but find yourself wiped out and suffering low libido. What can you do? According to Roz Van Meter, a marriage and family counselor for 30 years and a sex therapist diplomate of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, all you need is 30 days — 30 days of sensual or sexual activities, trying things you've always been curious about, and stoking the desire for fun, sexual fulfillment. (Her book Sizzling Sex in 30 Days presents a 30-day program to bring the sizzle back into your sex life, including sex secrets and simple solutions for lovers to have the most satisfying, meaningful sex of their lives.) But first, there are five key things to grasp before jumping right in. "Think of them as the five necessary ingredients for your favorite recipe. These five keys are self-preparation, honest communication, sensual touch, romance and fantasy," explains Van Meter. Mmmm, mmmm, ready to get cooking?
When it comes to sex, like cooking, you can't typically snap your fingers and have the best homemade meal of your life. You need to prepare. And part of the preparation for fire and spice is to nurture the part of you that longs for intimacy and sizzling sex with the one you love. The success of that nurturing will be in dispelling the negative thoughts you have about yourself — untangling the negative self-talk that is defeating your desire for delicious sex. "You'll do this by answering a series of questions that delve into your attitudes and feelings about yourself, beginning with early childhood up to the present day," says Van Meter, describing a section in her book. She suggests creating a Sizzling Sex Journaland using it to have an ongoing conversation with yourself about your body, sex and other thoughts and feelings that come to mind, and work to change the negative self-talk into empowering messages. "My only advice as you complete this exercise is to tell the truth and be kind to yourself," she adds.
"The second key to sizzling sex is the ability to communicate clearly with your partner," the sex therapist says. "Good communication can heal misunderstandings, send love, and mend hurting relationships." As a starting point, Van Meter suggests using "I" statements instead of "You" statements, which often come across as criticism or attack. And let's face it, defensiveness is a sure-fire intimacy killer. In the bedroom, ask for what you want — directly and courteously — rather than making criticizing or demanding statements to your mate. For example: "Let me tell you what is going on with me. I'm feeling______about______. And what I'd like is_______." This opens up the door to better communication andbetter sex. (Note: This type of communication is beneficial for your relationship regardless of the topic, time or place.)
Whether you believe it or not, research has proven that to thrive, humans need touch. And not just in infancy. Van Meter explains, "We all need touching, and sometimes it needs to be a nondemand, no expectations kind, whether it's a welcome home hug or the beginning of a sexual encounter." She continues, "Stroking is a crucial part of courtship [and] sensual focus is a beautiful way to re-romanticize yourself and your partner." Sharing a bath, touching thighs in the movie theater, or simple unexpected kisses go a long way in kindling romance and sexual desire.
If you've been together a week or for 15 years, romance is essential in bringing you and your lover closer. But romance, for many, doesn't come naturally — or it used to but life has now gotten in the way. Van Meter says that 95 percent of the women she has counseled want more romance — probably not a surprise to you women readers! — but that 80 percent of the men she's talked to also rank romance high on their want-list. "So because romance appeals to women andmen, you can work together to create an environment conducive to romantic expression and find new ways to deliver messages to your beloved," she advises. For example, leave love notes to each other on the bathroom mirror, take your mate on a picnic overlooking one of his favorite spots, go for a barefooted walk on the beach or even in the backyard holding hands and recalling your first dates - just be creative and your desire for romance will shine through.
Sexual fantasies are common for both women and men — though it may seem men are more into them. Think about the daydreams you've had depicting you and your husband getting hot and steamy in the airplane lavatory or you "being taken" by a masked delivery man. These fantasies are good for you and they can work to your sizzling sex advantage. Van Meter explains, "Psychologists tell us that fairy tales are ways children can live out their aggressions vicariously and have it all come out all right. Sexual fantasies are similar." She says that by imagining a titillating scene, you have a safety valve for that deep part of yourself that wants to do naughty things — it's arousing and it's good for you and your partner.
These five ingredients will be a part of your sexual appetite for as long as your relationship. Just like tending a simmering stew, revisit them and give them a stir. And if you aren't sure how to put these ingredients into play, pick up Van Meter's book Sizzling Sex in 30 Days— give it as a romantic (see Sizzling Sex Ingredient #4 above) anniversary, Valentine's Day, birthday or "just because" gift.
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