Next, I asked Danielle to make an inflexible, must-keep appointment in which she would spend five hours a week on "me" time. This could be having her nails done, watching television, going for a walk, reading a book, or taking a nap. I told Frank to hold her to this weekly appointment and to accept no excuses!

For their couples' assignment, I asked Danielle and Frank to plan a romantic getaway. Like so many parents, Danielle and Frank had not been on a kids-free holiday since Jessie and Mark were born. Although family trips build great memories, parents also need adult-only breaks in which they can get out of parenting mode and back into being partners and lovers. I hoped that Frank and Danielle would rediscover each other as individuals.

Last but not least, I asked Frank and Danielle to spend "alone" time together every day. This could simply be sharing a glass of wine or talking over a meal. I told them not to worry if sex didn't happen right away; my main aim was to get them sharing and connecting emotionally again.

What happened?
Frank was delighted that Danielle reduced her working hours. They both made a commitment to take more care of their relationship and they strictly honored the "alone" time ritual. Danielle's desire to have sex developed slowly as her emotional bond with Frank grew. Having an adult-only break definitely helped their sexual reunion. They even made a pact to have sex once a week, whether it be a quickie in the morning before the kids got up, or a longer session on the weekend. And for the rest of the week they worked at creating a sexual spark. "Even a long goodbye kiss on the lips can make us feel special," said Danielle.

Dedicated "us" time
If you lead a hectic life, make the effort to spend a little time each day connecting with your partner. Even if you're not in the mood for sex, lie down and cuddle or have a light-hearted, teasing conversation. Don't fall into the trap of talking about work or domestic issues.

How to get more pleasure from your sex life
Excerpt from Real Sex for Real Women by Laura Berman, PhD. Copyright © All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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