If you have a week...make time for cheeky daydreams.We think that planning ahead for sex is something only old married couples do, but Mintz reminds us that most of us picked up this habit in the early days of our relationship. On date nights (which at that point usually involved something more X-rated than fusion cuisine), we'd put lotion on our legs, wear something flattering and anticipate how our partner would look, smell and feel. Need more proof of the power of anticipation? Mintz compared women who read her book (which is essentially a self-help course that involves lots of thinking about sex) with a control group. The results, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, showed that the book readers (aka the sex-strategizers) showed significant improvements in desire, arousal, satisfaction and quality of orgasms—and the gains in desire lasted for more than six weeks. So if you and your partner know you'll have the house to yourselves on Friday, you'll have a better night (and a better week) if you start getting psyched for it on Monday.
If you have two weeks...replace your pocket rocket.More than half of women ages 18 to 60 use vibrators, surveys show, so it won't come as a shock to hear that regular use of these happy tools can make it easier to get in the mood. Sex researcher Debby Herbenick and her colleagues at Indiana University have found that women who had used a vibrator in the past month reported significantly higher levels of desire and arousal than those who hadn't. What you may not realize is that the type of toy matters—for more than the obvious reasons. Some contain high concentrations of phthalates, industrial chemicals that make plastic soft and pliable, which has been associated with serious health problems, including lower testosterone levels (which may affect sex drive). This is not the kind of thing you want to have in the vulnerable genital tract, so if you think your little friend may have phthalates, roll a condom over it. Or consider upgrading to one made of medical-grade silicone, glass or metal.
If you have 30 days...sample Asian medicine that's been backed by Western science.While we're usually skeptical of supplements that claim to improve libido, there seems to be some legitimacy to Korean red ginseng. This herb has been used in Asian medicine for centuries as a sex enhancer as well as to boost immunity and create a general sense of well-being. In a promising 2010 study published in the Journal of Sex Medicine, menopausal women who tried Korean red ginseng extract reported improved levels of arousal. You may have heard of the OTC supplement ArginMax, which contains ginseng as well as gingko to improve blood supply (important for physical arousal). It's been recommended by some medical professionals, including the prominent sexologist Beverly Whipple, PhD, for women experiencing sexual dysfunction. Talk to your doctor before trying ginseng, though, because it can have negative or intense interactions with several different medications and supplements—including caffeine.
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