Sex Solutions

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Sex Solutions

"I'm too stressed."

Sky-high anxiety levels can easily derail romance. "Stress raises the production of fight-or-flight hormones like cortisol, which stops the relaxation response necessary for the early stages of arousal," says Myrtle Wilhite, M.D., a sexual health researcher in Madison, Wisconsin. To lower stress hormones, squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day--and if possible, schedule your workout close to the time you plan to get horizontal. Researchers at the University of British Columbia found that women became significantly more aroused from watching an erotic film when they had exercised for 20 minutes beforehand. "Even a brisk walk can help you get turned on quicker by increasing blood flow, which heightens sensation," Wilhite explains. Bonus: Having sex is a great stress buster as well. "You'll feel more relaxed after you've made love because orgasms increase levels of the calming hormone oxytocin, which creates a soothing, sleepy feeling," says Anita Clayton, M.D., a professor in the department of psychiatry and neurobehavioral sciences at the University of Virginia and author of Satisfaction: Women, Sex, and the Quest for Intimacy.

"I'm bored with sex. I'd rather watch a good movie."

Few things can renew your passion for, well, passion more effectively than knowing that you have an intense climax ahead of you. Producing stronger and more pleasurable orgasms is one of the benefits of regularly exercising the pelvic floor, a sling of muscles that supports the bladder, urethra, and vagina. (They're the same muscles that allow you to stop the flow of urine midstream.) One study from the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that women with weak pelvic floors were less likely to have orgasms than those with strong ones. Here's how to give these muscles, which progressively weaken with age, a workout, commonly known as Kegels: Imagine your pelvic floor as an elevator that goes up four flights, the top level being your waist. Lift and squeeze to go up to each floor, holding for a second at every "stop." Then go down again, one floor at a time. For maximum results, repeat 10 times two or three times a day.

To further rekindle desire, think outside the bedroom. Try recapturing the freshness of your early dating days by doing something different together. The best activities are those that get your adrenaline pumping, like riding a roller coaster, learning how to surf, or even watching an action-packed thriller. "Experiencing that heart-thumping rush physically stimulates you, enhancing your sexual connection," says Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a research professor at the University of Michigan.

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