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Health & Sex

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And Now for Something Completely Different

Know what you want.

One Woman's Sexual Success Story

Cathy Williams (not her real name), a 50-something mother of three who lives in California, hasn't experienced a drop-off in her sex life, probably because she has long been a student of what interests her sexually. If she didn't like the way one boyfriend made love to her in college during the late 1960s, she found another. With experience, she began to define her sexual style. One important piece of information came in the 1970s when she dated a "fabulous, sensual man," she says. "He felt comfortable enough in his body to dance naked in the big living room," she says. While "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" blasted from the stereo, he lifted her into the air. Then they made love.

She learned some of what fueled her desire: soul music by Marvin Gaye and James Brown, dancing, delicious food, good wine and stimulating conversation. Now in a long-term marriage, she's found that a sensual ambiance keeps the sexual pulse alive with her husband. For example, getting dressed up in a sexy outfit and meeting him at the bar of a swank restaurant gives a kick to their sexual energy, she says.

She also stumbled on other techniques of arousal. "I like seeing the latest pornography magazines," she says. "I'll go to a store -- a store I don't usually go to -- and look at them." She also likes to peruse the magazines with her husband in bed or watch X-rated videos with him.

Do Something Different -- Something New

Reading erotica, whether romance-laden or hard-core, is the easiest way to add some spark to your sex life, says Lonnie Barbach, author of Turn-Ons: Pleasing Your Lover While You Please Yourself. Reading about sexual fantasies can give you ideas you and your partner can try. Some women find, for example, that dressing up in silky lingerie makes them feel more erotically aware. Other women (and men) may enjoy role-playing.

"Often people find the things they think they wouldn't like, they like, and the things they thought they'd like are a dud," says Barbach. The important thing is to make some kind of change. "It's more a matter of doing something different, something new," she says.

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