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.
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 Jessie Knadler
Looking for a relationship pick-me-up? All you need is a spoonful of sugar.
“It’s easy to feel embarrassed or shy about being sweet to each other,
especially in our cynical, hard-edged culture,” says REDBOOK Love Network
expert Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., author of The Commuter Marriage. “But
adding sweetness to your words and actions is the best thing you can do to
bring positive energy to your relationship, which makes everything else
easier.” Bonus: It’s human nature to copy...
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,
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."
Get Out of the House
One good suggestion for a better love life is to take regular
nights away from home.
"For couples that have been together for a while, sex can
become routine," says Castleman. "You're worn out by the end of the
day, after the job, the laundry, the kids' soccer games, and the errands.
"And instead of champagne and oysters on the half shell
with a sweeping view of Lake Tahoe as your reward, you've got your same old
crummy house and peanut butter and jelly and that's about it," he says.
It's not exactly conducive to an exciting sex life.