Put the lust back into long-term love
Weve read the latest books on reviving bedroom romance and distilled them down so that you dont have to...
The tip: ‘Just do it'
The tome: 'The Sex Diaries' by Bettina Arndt (£9.99, Hamlyn)
It's a common enough scenario: you both climb into bed, he looks at you with bedroom eyes - but you're too bleary-eyed after a busy day to think of anything other than sleep. Sex therapist Bettina Arndt, who interviewed hundreds of couples about their sex lives as research for her book, says the solution is simple: just have sex anyway. Some women's libidos are so low, argues Arndt, that if initiating sex were left up to them, it would simply never happen. But ‘once the canoe is in the water, they do paddle happily' - because often it can take longer for women to ‘get their head in the right place'. However, Arndt insists, ‘the "just do it" idea isn't about encouraging subservience to men' but acknowledging that men and women function differently.
Read it if: You tend to be the one putting the brakes on the bedroom antics.
The tip: ‘Take advantage of pillow talk'
The tome: 'What Men Say, What Women Hear' by Dr Linda Papadopoulos (£7.99, Arrow)
The real obstacle to a good sex life, says Dr Linda Papadopoulos, is that men and women sometimes seem to speak different languages, and end up not talking at all. ‘Great lovers become "great" because they're willing to communicate comfortably with their partner.' But raising the subject of trying new techniques can be awkward, which is why she thinks that immediately after sex is the perfect time. She also says it's important to frame complaints and suggestions in a positive way, such as: ‘I love it when you do this, I'd like you to do it more.' And don't get defensive if he says something you don't like - it's a two-way street!
Read it if: You want to spice up your sex life.
The tip: ‘Don't call him honey'
The tome: 'Stop Calling Him Honey and Start Having Sex' by Maggie Arana and Julienne Davis (£14.95 - £12.99 in Allaboutyou's bookshop, Health Communications)
David Arquette went for ‘boo', and Charlize Theron prefers ‘baby', and while affectionate nicknames might be as common as they are cute, they can also be relationship killers, warn Maggie Arana and Julienne Davis. ‘Honey is great on a warm piece of toast, but lousy on a couple's sex life,' says Davis. ‘Calling your partner "honey" is the first step down the slippery slope towards a bland or nonexistent sexual relationship.' The pair argue that labels like ‘sweetie' are infantilising and erode a man's identity and masculinity. ‘Every time you call each other honey, you chip away at the fact that you are two whole, separate sexual people - you then become two halves of a whole. Who has sexual tension with the other half of themselves? No one!'
Read it if: Your relationship is starting to feel more safe than sexy.
The tip: ‘Aim for warm not hot sex'
The tome: 'Supersex for Life' by Tracey Cox (£14.99, Dorling Kindersley)
With their up-against-the-fridge antics and steamy sex scenes, rom-coms have a lot to answer for, says sexpert Tracey Cox. She argues that couples - who have to deal with the real-life stresses and schedules rarely shown on screen - shouldn't feel pressured to have the ‘hot and heavy' kind of sex so often depicted in movies. Instead, Cox believes less intense, passionate lovemaking - which is ‘warm and calm' rather than ‘hot and steamy' - is the key to a good relationship. Lying in bed on a Sunday morning and touching, stroking and kissing one another doesn't have to lead to anything more, but can still be a great way of increasing intimacy, she says. ‘Couples who value "warm" sex for what it is - a way of maintaining sexual connection - rather than seeing it as a failed sex session, are far happier sexually long-term.'
Read it if: You don't think your sex life measures up.
The tip: ‘Expect good sex and you'll get it'
The tome: 'Sex and Love at Midlife: It's Better Than Ever' by Bernie Zilbergeld (£16.95 - £9.99 in the Allaboutyou bookshop, Crown House)
There's no point in hoping for fireworks in the bedroom and complaining when it doesn't happen, argues Bernie Zilbergeld. He says that couples with great sex lives make the decision to have great sex. To research this theory, Zilbergeld interviewed 145 people aged over 40, then divided them into two groups: ‘lovers', who claimed to have good sex; and ‘non-lovers', whose romantic lives left a lot to be desired. What all ‘lovers' had in common was ‘an intention to have and maintain a good sex life'.
Read it if: You're feeling down about your sex life (or lack of).
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