8 Ways to Have Better Sex

Too tired, bored or cranky for a romp in the bedroom? Try these eight surprisingly effective ways to boost your libido.

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Reconnect with your body

Scientists speculate that women who masturbate regularly may be more attuned to their physiological level of arousal. “You can find out how you want to be touched just by touching yourself,” says Durvasula, who has a clinical-psychology practice in Los Angeles. “This allows you to teach your partner about how you want to be stimulated.”



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Get some hip action

Unless you’re a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, you probably don’t wiggle your pelvis very often. Remedy that by putting your hips through a full range of motion with Zumba exercise classes, belly dancing or any dance based on salsa or merengue. “These kinds of movements get us back in touch with a part of our bodies many of us ignore because we don’t like it—‘My hips are too big!’ They also increase blood flow to the area, loosening tight muscles and joints,” says Koffler. “They can be very effective for women who’ve given birth, particularly if they have had multiple vaginal deliveries, which may have caused a tear that damaged some nerve endings.” If appropriate classes are not available near you, look for dance-exercise DVDs at acacialifestyle.com.



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De-stress through mindfulness

You know that the hormones estrogen and testosterone relate to sexual desire or a lack thereof—but be sure you’re equally aware of cortisol, the primary stress hormone. “If you are superstressed and hypervigilant, with the sympathetic nervous system perpetually on, there’s no place for the parasympathetic nervous system—the resting, digesting and wanting-sex side,” says Koffler. That ramped-up state—which we can achieve the minute we turn on the computer—is a barrier to being in our bodies. Mindful activities can help engage the parasympathetic nervous system, moving us into a softer, calmer place. Take regular, slow walks in the park and focus your attention on the flowers and the crunch of gravel beneath your feet. Starting a yoga or meditation practice can also increase your mindfulness.



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Have sex in the morning

That’s when levels of testosterone are highest. “Some women find that the early morning, when they’re relaxed and aren’t thinking about their to-do list, is a time they can focus more on sex,” says Koffler. She cautions, though, that attempts to boost desire by increasing levels of testosterone via supplements have produced mixed results. And it is not known if long-term use of the hormone is safe for women.


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Strike the right pose

Have you ever been on top during sex—and become distracted by the sight of your stomach flapping? “Counter the effects of gravity by finding sex positions that make you look good,” suggests Durvasula. “Try out different positions in front of a full-length mirror. For instance, your stomach may look flat when you’re lying on your back. And if your breasts are drooping and you don’t like how that looks, wear a pretty bra with good support.”



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Go shopping!

A study led by Chivers found that heterosexual women could be excited by sex videos of women-on-women, women-on-men, men-on-men and ape-on-ape, as well as scenes of human masturbation, while heterosexual men responded only to women-on-men and women-on-women images. “Women can quickly become aroused by a broader range of stimuli than men can, countering some popular myths about the conservative nature of women’s sexuality,” notes Chivers.

So where do you buy appropriate “adult entertainment”? Durvasula is a big fan of sex shops. You probably want erotic soft-focus porn, with real-looking actors (not those with pumped-up breasts) and a story line with no hint of violence; a staffer can send you to the correct section. “Some of the best salespeople I’ve ever seen are at these places. They’re like Tiffany’s!” Durvasula says.



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Use it

Vaginal dryness comes with age, but there are remedies. “The more frequently you engage in sexual activity, the healthier the vaginal tissue remains,” says Koffler. “It doesn’t matter if you’re operating with a dildo or a penis—the tissue will respond.” If you need lubrication, try one of the widely available vaginal moisturizers.



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Alter your expectations

Orgasms, like everything else, change over time. So rather than trying to recapture the intensity you experienced earlier, focus on the pleasure you’re experiencing now. “Just having someone stroke you wherever you find most erotic can be even more enjoyable when you’re not feeling the pressure of the race to orgasm,” says Koffler. And don’t assign a frequency to your sexual activity. “The quality of the experience means a lot more, particularly as couples get older, than whether they have sex twice a week or two times a month,” she says.



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This is Your Brain on Orgasm

In terms of reaching the BigO, the most importantaction is in your brain, not your body. Nerve impulses travel from the clitoris, vagina and cervix via the spinal cord to the sensory cortex of the brain. Using functional MRIbrain scans, which measure changes in neural blood flow, Rutgers University behavioral neuroscientist Barry R. Komisaruk, PhD, and his team have observed sequential activation in 80 brain regions as a woman masturbates, eventually reaching orgasm through clitoral stimulation. Here’s a sketch of the trajectory: As clitoral arousal increases, the hippocampus, the seat of memory, and the amygdala, which is involved with processing emotions, light up. The woman, says Komisaruk, coauthor of The Orgasm Answer Guide, may be recalling emotional memories or fantasizing. Just before and during orgasm, the cerebellum, which controls muscle tension, begins to burn bright. And as the woman climaxes, the hypothalamus shoots out the hormone oxytocin,which sparks uterine contractions, and the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s pleasure center, hits its activity peak.


“There’s a very powerful emotional response at orgasm. We see a tremendous activation of the brain,” says Komisaruk. Surprisingly, pain sensitivity is greatly diminished. This happens whether the orgasm springs from vaginal or clitoral stimulation. “Pressure in the vagina produces powerful pain blockage,” he says. “The blockage gets stronger if the woman experiences that as pleasurable and still stronger if she reaches orgasm.”


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Want MORE? Read: Have Your Best Sex Ever


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First Published Thu, 2011-12-15 15:40

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