When I casually asked my friend Becky about secret turn-ons for women, she didn't hesitate for a second. "Doing the dishes," she responded, as her husband looked at her in disbelief. "That's hot!"
For many women, turn-ons aren't about traditional romantic gestures like getting roses or canoodling during candlelit dinners. Simple, everyday rituals like pitching in with the dishes or having coffee together at sunrise can be downright sexy. (Listen up, fellas, you don't even need to spring for a card.)
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Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, a couples therapist in Mt. Kisco, N.Y., and author of A Short Guide to a Happy Marriage, says, "When a partner can count on these kinds of little loving gestures being ongoing, it really makes for the kind of connection that's absolutely necessary to have a relationship hang on through the good and the bad and all the crazy stuff."
She adds, "Caring gestures make women feel really good. Guys don't realize how important they are for women when it comes to getting turned on in the bedroom. To connect physically, they really need that emotional and mental connection."
Unloading the Groceries
Lori Bizzoco, a writer and stay-at-home mom in Brooklyn, N.Y., says her husband not only helps out with the dishes but also with household chores and taking care of their 2-year-old daughter. But what she appreciates most is that when she comes home from the store, he will always come out to the car to help unload bags because he knows she's got a bad back.
"What makes it special," she says, "is that he never rubs any of what he does in my face or complains. He simply believes these things are what husbands are supposed to do. That to me is the biggest turn-on of all!"
Sharing A Cup of Joe
Beverly Solomon of Lampasas, Texas, has been married to artist and designer Pablo Solomon for 35 years and works side-by-side with him managing their art business.
"Of course, there are many reasons that our love has endured," she says. "But the one thing that I really love is that Pablo brings me my first cup of coffee each morning."
He rises much earlier than she does and brews coffee as he begins working on his art. When he sees her bedside light turn on, he brings her coffee over to her.
"We usually have a cup together on our veranda while watching the sun come up over our ranch," she says. "We like to give thanks and to plan our day."
Giving Her a Break
After an especially long day at work, Robin Siebold, a psychotherapist in Melbourne, Fla., says, her husband of five years knows exactly how to lift her spirits. He will surprise her by showing up at her workplace with his tow truck and loading her car onto his flatbed.
"I feel like I am always putting out fires at work, so at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is one more thing like drive home," she says. "So when I walk out of work and he is sitting in the parking lot patiently waiting for me, it always makes me smile! And I feel appreciated."