Who says good sex requires a push-up bra and candlelight? We've got a few new ideas.
Old joke: Having nearly finished creating the universe, God says to Adam and Eve, "I have two gifts left. The first is the ability to urinate standing up."
"Oh, God! Can I have that one?" Adam pleads. Eve just smiles.
"Fine," God says, rooting through his bag. "What's left here?... Oh, yes, multiple orgasms."
Some women are still thanking their lucky fig leaves. Others, however, may be wishing Eve had gone for the pee advantage. Because, somewhere between Eden and eBay, multiple orgasms have been replaced by multitasking, and amid the dishes, diapers, and company reports, all too many of us look up one day to realize our sexuality has been stuffed into the back of a sock drawer.
Sexuality may not be the first thing you think of when tending to your health. But what a great natural source of energy. It's more powerful and lasting than any smoothie or protein bar, not to mention calorie-free.
"Sex doesn't always have to be an act of love—it can be a kind of play, a celebration," says LLuminari's Pepper Schwartz, PhD, professor of sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle and the author, most recently, of The Lifetime Love & Sex Quiz Book. Whether you have sex or simply a healthy appetite for it, when that drive is activated, no matter what your age, you feel resilient, vibrant, ready for the rush of life.
How to spice it up:
Think like a man for an afternoon: Every time you see a half-decent guy on the street, in an elevator, in a Gap ad, mentally undress him and imagine how great he looks naked.
Assume for a day—radical as this thought might be—that your partner is not as critical of your body as you are. "For men there's one goal besides eating: sex," says Mehmet Oz, MD, director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. "We're very focused. Whether or not you have an extra pound or two, whether or not a nose is crooked, these issues are not first on our minds."
Unplug the TV for a week (just do it and see what happens).
Try this on your partner: Tell him it's really hard to work all day, cook, do homework with the children, straighten up, and then feel like having sex. Suggest that if he'd take the kids out for dinner or ice cream one night, you'd probably be more in the mood.
For Valentine's Day, buy yourself a new vibrator (see GoodVibes.com).
Take a shower or bath with your partner. See where it leads.
Think back to your courting days. Did you neck during concerts? Talk forever in coffeehouses? Go Rollerblading? Do one of those things again together.
Pick a day of the week for you and your partner to come home from work early, and don't use the time to do chores.
Call at least once during that same day and flirt.
Go away one weekend without the kids. If you can't afford a hotel and a babysitter, switch houses with another couple and take turns caring for each other's children.
Try a little change of pace, something sensual: Wear a different color than you normally do, put on cashmere instead of flannel, listen to music instead of the news, burn a scented candle, get a luscious massage.
Masturbate at least once this month. If there's any one thing you can do to enjoy sex (aside from getting shipwrecked with an absolute heartthrob), this is it. "Have a glass of wine if you need help getting in the mood," suggests Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Mind/Body Center for Women's Health at Boston IVF and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
Since good nutrition feeds into healthy sexuality, try eating more unprocessed whole grains—brown rice, oats, barley, bulgur, kasha, quinoa. These often-ignored complex carbohydrates contain B vitamins and minerals and are high in fiber, which means you digest them slowly and feel satisfied for a long time.
Have oatmeal for breakfast (top it with dried cranberries or raisins and a handful of nuts to make it tastier).
Add barley or brown rice to soups.
Instead of white rice or potatoes, try cooking up bulgur or couscous.
When baking, use whole wheat flour for at least half the flour amount.
But if what you're really craving is chocolate...
It's an aphrodisiac. It has antioxidants. Who's got the chocolate? Then again, how do we avoid consuming the whole box? A few ways to get your fix without all the fat and sugar usually in attendance:
Choose recipes with cocoa powder instead of bars or chips.
Try chocolate-covered raisins or coffee beans instead of Kisses or M&M's.
Low-fat, low-calorie hot chocolate can pinch-hit for the real thing.
Instead of premium chocolate ice cream, have low-fat frozen yogurt or sorbet—or mix half and half.
Buy some really good, expensive chocolates and have just one (go on, close the box) after dinner. See if you can make that piece last 15 minutes. If the taste turns into a binge, you may want to stick with nonchocolate candy.