Boring Bedroom Syndrome — It's Everywhere
Check Your Meds
How's this for irony: The medications you and your partner may be taking to
stay healthy could be pulling the plug on your physical connection. So many
pills have passion-dulling side effects, says Dr. Owens, that "the very
first question I ask my patients is what medications they're on." The
biggest offenders are blood pressure drugs and antidepressants, but there are
hundreds of others. In fact, Sexual Pharmacology, the standard
reference book on medication-related sexual problems, is 589 pages long!
Oral contraceptives can also cause problems. "Many women report that the
Pill diminishes their desire," says Dr. Owens. She adds that even drugs
that seem innocuous, such as over-the-counter allergy treatments, can get in
the way when taken over long periods. The bottom line: If you've recently begun
a medication program and have found that your interest in romance has dropped,
talk to your physician about damage control.
Don't Forget to Brush!
Your husband has seen you in sickness and in health, but that doesn't mean
he has stopped noticing little things like oral hygiene. "We just concluded
a study in which we asked men and women who were in long-term relationships —
mostly married couples — whether the 'taste' of their partner's kiss influenced
their interest in intimacy, and if so, what taste was best," says Alan
Hirsch, M.D., neurological director of The Smell & Taste Treatment and
Research Foundation, in Chicago. Both sexes agreed: "Women said minty, and
men said spearmint and peppermint were tastes that turned them on."
Go for a Simple Cuddle
"People think you have to feel passion before you reach for your
partner," says Dr. Owens. "But that's not true. You don't have to be
hungry for sex to start making love." Instead, relax and let some plain old
affection show, and see what develops. Spoon at night. Give him a quick pat in
a strategic place when the kids aren't looking. Ask for — or give — a foot rub
at the end of a hard day. Before you know it, you've got desire.
Rent a Thriller
You'd never mistake it for erotica, but watching a movie like Fatal
Attraction can actually have the same engine-revving effect as something
more overtly sexual. "Fright and arousal originate from the same part of
the brain," explains Dennis Sugrue, Ph.D., former president of the American
Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists, so something that taps
into your fear factor may tune up your romantic feelings as well.
Of course, you can get a good scare outside the movie theater. "When a
couple rides a roller coaster, for example, and engages in romantic activity
soon afterward, some of the thrill from the ride comes along into the
bedroom," explains Weeks. "Anything that cranks you up physiologically
will add excitement to the relationship."