Valentine's Day isn't just about chocolates, cards, and roses anymore. Nope, it's become a season of sexual self-improvement, too. Fueled by an annual rash of early February news stories, magazine pieces, talk show segments, and Internet articles about improving our love lives, many of us set out to do just that in time for Feb. 14.
But alas, these attempts at achieving a better love life may only last as long as the New Year's resolutions you abandoned the month before. A few weeks later, the sexy nightie languishes hidden in the sock drawer, the massage oil gathers dust next to the athlete's foot powder in the medicine cabinet, and you and your partner have returned to what feels like a humdrum sexual life.
By Sarah MahoneySurprising new marriage rules to help you get closer — or even fall in love again
By the time we reach our 15th wedding anniversaries, most of us know how to handle the ups and downs of marriage. Sure, the wedding china may have a few chips, and perhaps we've had one too many spats about who forgot to bring home the milk. But we've also learned to negotiate holidays with the in-laws, wrangle tantrum-throwing kids, and talk each other through blown transmissions and career crossroads...
So what is the secret to a better love life that lasts? We asked for some suggestions from two experts on sexuality -- Michael Castleman, author of Great Sex: A Man's Guide to the Secret Principles of Total-Body Sex, and Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, a board certified sex therapist and resident expert for WebMD's "Sex Matters®" message boards.
Castleman and Weston are in firm agreement that couples that have been together for a while need to plan time for sex.
"Make a date for sex," says Castleman, a health journalist who previously answered questions about sexuality submitted to the Playboy advisor. "Don't let it be an afterthought," he tells WebMD. "Do whatever you like to do beforehand, go to a movie or dinner, take a walk, have a glass of wine by candlelight, whatever the couple likes to do as a couple. But set aside that time."
But, you might cry, isn't scheduling unromantic? Isn't sex supposed to be spontaneous? Rare is the lover with a daily planner fetish, after all.
But Castleman has a blunt response. "Grow up," he says. "What's the problem with making a date for sex? People make plans for other things they enjoy, like ski trips or dinners out."
Weston agrees. "I think most people, especially couples with kids, have to plan ahead because they already have so much jammed into their schedules," she says. "Sure there are times when things spontaneously fall together, but those are happy accidents."