Sex is important—you’d be surprised at all the unexpected health benefits regular sex offers. “Investigate and learn how sex is fundamental for our physical and mental health and serves much more than reproductive and gratification functions,” suggests William Kolbe, EdD, author of The Rejuvenating Power of Masturbation. “One way to do this is by exploring both solo and paired sexual activity to stimulate your major endocrine axis and nervous system, which manage all your major body functions.” The sex hormones are involved in maintaining muscle and bone mass, male and female characteristics, sex drive, as well as certain cognitive functions and memory, he adds. Understanding how your body works is a good first-step into truly enjoying sexual activity.
Insure you’re in optimal health
It’s important to remember that sexual health and general health go hand in hand. “Prevention and treatment of typical chronic diseases are clearly associated with better sex,”adds Alyssa Dweck MD, ob-gyn in New York City and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V. “For example: Are you too tired for sex? Get checked for anemia (low blood count) which can cause significant fatigue and shortness of breath for some, and treat if needed with iron-rich foods or iron supplements.” If you’re suffering from vaginal dryness and pain during sex, she also notes that untreated hypertension (high blood pressure) or coronary artery disease may be the cause. “Insure you don’t have diabetes and treat if you do, as out of control sugar levels can lead to chronic vaginal yeast infections which can cause itching, discharge, inflammation and discomfort during sex.”
Go back to the basics
“When people have let there be a growing distance in their intimacy—and this can be as simple as kissing and cuddling—being affectionate and intimate with one another becomes awkward,” explains Nikki Martinez, PsyD, psychologist and clinical professional counselor. “It might seem like you will never be able to overcome this feeling, but nothing could be further from the truth—you just need to go back to the basics of where your attraction for one another started, and work your way up.” In other words, act young—make out, but don’t have sex. Create anticipation and attraction and the rest will grow and follow, she says.
Set the mood with foreplay
You’ve most likely heard about the importance of foreplay, but a recent study published in the Journal of Sex Research backs this point up even further. Researchers found that both male and females experienced more pleasurable orgasms when sexual arousal and desire was peaked through foreplay. But this foreplay doesn’t have to be sexual in any way. “The relaxation of getting a massage, spending time together or enjoying a candlelit dinner definitely help spark your sex life if you’re having a drought,” says relationship and etiquette expert and author, April Masini.
OK, we agree that this one sounds bizarre, but a study in Sweden found that women had more difficulty achieving orgasm when their feet were cold. This is definitely a good reason to ask your partner for a relaxing foot massage before foreplay—or at least to get toasty together by the fire!
Make a bedroom bucket list
Masini suggests doing this activity over a bottle of wine, with the plan to carry it out over the next six or twelve months. “Just brainstorming and discussing what you have always wanted to do and never brought up, is sexy,” she explains. “You can make an oral list, a written list or put your wishes on note cards in a fishbowl and once a week, or once a month, dip in and do what’s on the card you pull out.” This is the kind of thing that works at any age—don’t buy the myths about sex after 50!
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