April 2005 32 Ways to Jumpstart Your Sex Life
by Steve Calechman
Simple strategies that will turn your old flame into a towering inferno
Repetition is great–if you’re learning Spanish, grooving your backhand, or making sure the sutures don’t rupture. But it’s death for your sex life, turning the pursuit of happiness into a holding pattern. Over Newark.
Well, enough of that stuff. It’s time to accelerate your pulse with some good, clean, original sex. It doesn’t mean risking arrest in a public garden–although it could–but it does mean injecting surprise into the proceedings. Yes, surprise–even if you think you know her body better than the quickest route to the local 7-Eleven.
We have 32 ideas to launch a voyage of sexual discovery unlike anything you’ve seen . . . at least since Cindy Lou let down her guard senior year. The difference now: You know what you’re doing, and you have a partner who deserves your respect, attention, and devotion. So make the most of it. Now, repeat after us, “I will . . . ”
1 START THE ACTION ANYWHERE EXCEPT THE BEDROOM.
The same old place is too conducive to the same old patterns, says Stella Resnick, Ph.D., a psychologist in West Hollywood and author of The Pleasure Zone. Explore some new erogenous areas: The kitchen. The bathroom. Quebec City. Your bodies will be in new places, making it unlikely that you’ll follow old routines.
2 COMPLIMENT HER.
And keep doing it . . . at least five times a day. It’ll make her feel noticed, special, and appreciated, and she’ll feel closer to you. “The more connected she feels, the more sexually inspired she’ll feel,” says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago. Compliment what she feels good about and cares about–her hair, shoes, singing voice, work triumphs–says Gloria Brame, Ph.D., a sex therapist and the author of Come Hither: A Commonsense Guide to Kinky Sex. A confident sex partner is an adventurous sex partner.
3 GO CANOEING OR HIKING.
Add a distinct but manageable touch of danger to the day. It will stimulate dopamine in her brain, which may trigger her sex drive, says Helen Fisher, Ph.D., an anthropologist at Rutgers University and the author of Why We Love. Pick the right trip–a guided whitewater excursion, for instance–and learn all about both the risks and the precautions you’ll take. She’ll see you as the cause of the excitement, as well as the source of security. Book the right B&B for the afternoon dry-off and you’re set.
4 WATCH PORN WITH THE SOUND OFF . . .
Sure, you’ll miss the snappy plumber-housewife banter. But now you two provide the dialogue. You’ll learn how to talk erotically, so it’s educational. But it’s also fun, you’re both invested in it, and it can help reveal fantasies, says Ava Cadell, Ph.D., a sex therapist and the author of Love around the House. And you’ll probably find some way to kill time during the sex scenes.
5. . . . OR SEE A CHICK FLICK.
Maybe porn isn’t her thing. But Pitt, Clooney, or McConaughey might be, and for her, these guys are porn, Brame says. She’ll be fantasizing about a man who’s sweet and will treat her well. And when he kisses the flirty female lead, you kiss your lady at the same time. Show her that reality–her life–can be better than that.
6 FEED HER BLACK LICORICE.
Bring it along when you’re watching the Clooney flick. Black licorice has been shown to speed up her genital bloodflow by 40 percent, Cadell says.
7 CRAFT FANTASIES.
Some Saturday afternoon when you’re feeling frisky, pour wine and divide 10 3×5 cards between you and your mate. Each of you writes down five sexual fantasies while the wine loosens your inhibitions. Then head out to a restaurant, where you can get a booth and some privacy in a public setting. Over dinner and more wine, pull out the cards and discuss. You’ll feel filthy discussing this stuff in hushed voices in a public place, which is exactly the point. Your goal: Make three piles–“yes,” “maybe someday,” and “not on your life.” Put the possibles in a shoe box, and once a month (she feels sexiest before she ovulates), pull a winner. Any necessary planning–you can’t go with just any football player/cheer- leader outfits–heightens the anticipation, Cadell says.
8 EXPLORE NEW REGIONS.
You’ve heard about her nipples and vagina? Good. Now spend some time on the back of her neck. It’s a brave new world of nerve endings, so gentle caressing and kissing are all that’s needed. The base of her spine is sensation central, as well. Or gently stroke and kiss her belly just above the pubic hairline. Sex becomes about discovery, not seeking some destination. “Goal-oriented sex is not that sexy,” Brame says.
9 TAKE AN OVERNIGHT TRAIN.
There are stimulators all around, from the dining car to the passing landscape, to trying to walk and balance a gin-and-tonic in the aisle. And there’s also your sleeping compartment, your own special sex-womb-with-a-view. It’s a new place, and it moves, which adds a new dynamic. And it’s somewhat public; there’ll be new excitement when you’re in flagrante delicto and the train stops, and people are outside your window.
10 SPEND A NIGHT IN TIBET.
Try the Yab-Yum position, which is how they talk dirty in Asia. You both sit up, and she faces you, sitting on your lap with a pillow under her bottom, for easier penetration. You’ll have constant contact with her clitoris, but she’ll control the pressure. Move slowly. “The emotional connection makes it intense,” says Lou Paget, a sex educator in Los Angeles and the author of The Great Lover Playbook.
11 INVITE HER TO DITCH HER UNDERWEAR DURING DINNER.
The naked secret you now share will linger through dessert, says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., a sociology professor at the University of Washington and the author of The Great Sex Weekend.
12 TALK IN PUBLIC.
Lie on a blanket in a park, with people all around, and whisper your fantasies to one another, sparing no detail. You’ll create sexual tension, but there’s safety because there’s no possibility of sex then and there. “It’s just plain sexy to start something that can’t be finished right then,” Fisher says. When you return home later, spread out the blanket on the floor–a different location–and release the tension.
13 TAKE HER TO AN ETHNIC RESTAURANT IN A NEW PART OF TOWN.
Dopamine is an ideal sex lubricant, and in any new experience, the jets are on. When walking in unfamiliar territory, put your arm around her. There’s the thrill of the unknown, but you’re guiding her through it–a potent mix. “It might make her want to have sex with you,” Fisher says.
14 VISIT THE EROTICA SECTION OF THE BOOKSTORE.
That in itself will fuel your imaginations. Make some purchases, then read them to each other. You’ll discover new interests that, amazingly, never came up when you were buying garden supplies. Feel free to enact a scene. Check out Heat Wave: Sizzling Sex Stories, by Alison Tyler; Five Minute Erotica, by Carol Queen; and the Black Lace Series, by Kerri Sharp.
15 USE FRAGRANCE FOR FOREPLAY.
Spray a touch of the cologne she loves on the sheets. A study by Indiana University found that women who fantasized while smelling a popular men’s cologne were more aroused than when smelling women’s cologne or a neutral odor. If you don’t have a scent, shop for one with her. That’s foreplay, too.
16 LEAVE HOME.
Plan a trip without the kids, because Mom and Dad must also be husband and wife. (Lastminute.com and site59.com specialize in packaged getaways.) Take lots of pictures; in a few months, go through them with her, slowly, and recall all the great stuff that happened–the sights, the food, the long mornings in bed. The feeling will come hurtling back, Schwartz says–without airfare this time.
17 THROW THE TV OUT OF THE BEDROOM.
It sucks up time, makes you zone out, and takes focus away from what the room is for, Wiley says.
18 CLIMB TO ONE PEAK AT A TIME.
Some couples feel pressure to reach orgasm at the same moment. But that’s like coordinating Patriots and Red Sox championships in the same year: nice when it happens, but improbable. So on a night when you’re both primed to try something different, resolve to go for one orgasm at a time, without intercourse. As a gentleman, you’ll insist that she go first, naturally. It will take some practice–and lots of moaned instructions–to get the manual stimulation or oral timing just right. Which can only be good. Focusing on her solo pleasure will teach you useful lessons to employ the next time you strive for the Lombardi trophy together.
19 EXPERIENCE THE CUBAN PLUNGE.
“Que es eso?” you ask, in junior-high-school Spanish. It’s sex with a three-chili rating. Here’s how you do it: As you assume the man-on-top position, ask her to bring her knees to her chest and drape her legs over your shoulders. Her vagina will be elongated and extended, and your penetration will be deeper and more pleasurable for her, which qualifies as a win-win situation. “You can feel intense friction against her genital area with each thrust,” says Diana Wiley, Ph.D., a therapist at UCLA’s female sexual medicine center.
20 KISS FOR 12 SECONDS.
As a relationship ages, pecks on the cheek become the default, and they’re about as erotic as a pair of baggy sweatpants. A long, lingering smooch reintroduces you to each other. Give her two a day: one in the morning before one of you leaves, and one as soon as you’re both home. Mouths open. Arms around each other. “If you kiss like that for the rest of your lives, passion will never fade,” Cadell says.
21 ADD A SIDE OF POLYNESIA.
During oral sex, don’t head straight for her clitoris. Try the Tahitian Method instead. Lie perpendicular to her and move your tongue back and forth over the hood of her clitoris. You’ll be able to work both sides, Paget says. (Yes, there are two sides to the clitoris. More on that soon.) To receive immediate feedback, place your middle finger on her perineum, the quarter-size spot just below her vagina. When you’re working the right place, the perineum will involuntarily contract. Isn’t that helpful?
22 ASK FOR DIRECTIONS.
As you now know, the clitoris has two sides, so ask, “Do you like it on the left or the right?” says Violet Blue, a sex educator and the author of The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy. Either she knows and will appreciate your sensitivity, or she doesn’t, and now you’ve given her a new path to happiness. Plus, the question makes her feel more comfortable with giving you feedback.
23 CLEAN OUT THE CLOSET.
She keeps saying it needs to be done, so start doing it together and then tackle her in there, on top of the out-of-season clothes you’re going to wash anyway. The room is stocked with ties, blindfolds, costumes, and a healthy air of 4.16-androstadien-3-one–a chemical in your sweat, hair, and skin. It’s a potent arousal mechanism, according to a study at the University of California at Berkeley, and your clothes are saturated with it. When she reaches the peak of her androstadien madness, have her put on that blouse she hasn’t worn in 5 years, and finally give it some purpose by ripping it off. “Most women want to be ravaged by the men they love,” Cadell says.
24 GO PICASSO ON HER.
Buy a half-inch camel-hair paintbrush at the art-supply store, dip it in chocolate sauce, and use it to adorn her stomach or thighs–or paint a long line down her back and buttocks. Remove however you see fit. If she’d prefer to be her own O’Keeffe, have her paint sequential numbers on her body where she wants to be touched. Find your way in order by using your fingertips and mouth. Accounting was never this much fun.
25 BUY HER SOMETHING.
It doesn’t have to big. Just take her out, discover her wishes, indulge, pay. It’s the Pretty Woman fantasy, but this time, you’re Richard Gere. “Women turn on to togetherness and being taken care of,” Schwartz says. Achieve a double jumpstart by funding an erotic shopping spree. Write out a gift certificate with an expiration date that coincides with your evening at a hotel. If she prefers to shop alone, let her–either way, you’ll find out what interests her, Blue says.
26 USE A CHIN REST.
Nothing jumpstarts her like oral sex, so we’ll venture some more advice: Put one pillow under her hips and another under your chest. Her lower back will be more relaxed, and it’ll be easier for her to adjust her knees and legs, allowing for more sensation. Rest your chin on your fist, with your pinkie down, and use a finger to put pressure on the bottom of the opening of her vagina to heighten the sensation, Paget says. All good for her.
27 WRITE HER A LETTER.
One that does not involve a laser printer or an e-mail address. You want this to come straight from the heart. Write what you feel, but the ruling sentiment should be one of gratitude and confidence in your future together. Then, lick a stamp and mail it to her. She’ll feel valued and special, and not just because you’re supporting the postal service, which keeps the country working. “When a woman feels desired, she’ll feel desirous,” Wiley says.
28 TRY SOMETHING NEW DURING PENETRATION.
Rather than the old in-and-out, try rotation: It’ll make for a different kind of clitoral stimulation, Paget says. And the absence of thrusting will help you last longer.
Bodies feel good in the water. You’re semiclothed and you’re in public, so it only goes so far, but you can play under the surface, which adds tension, Brame says. A late-night skinny dip in the ocean means fewer clothes and a little more danger, pumping up the dopamine levels. Throw a blanket down when you crawl ashore: Sand hurts.
30 TALK BIG ABOUT THE FUTURE.
You know her dreams–children, a beach house, season tickets to the Steelers–so tell her your plans to give her that and more. You’re touching a primal desire and emphasizing your long-term commitment. “Women like to be provided for,” Fisher says.
31 EXPERIMENT WITH BETTER GROOMING.
That is, trim each other’s pubic hair until it’s just right. You’re making some smooth skin, which is much more pleasing for the 12-second kisses. But it also makes for fun in the shower. It’s slow and methodical, but it also allows for some power-playing. She has the razor; she has control. And you determine, with her help, just how bare she’s willing to go.
32 GO AHEAD AND STARE.
Lavish praise on the lilies and you’ll be invited back to the garden. So concentrate on a favorite body part and talk about how beautiful she is. “Make her feel sexy by thinking and saying she’s sexy,” Fisher says.