From the warmth of summer to increased togetherness, Independence Day brings many elements of a romantic night. While some research shows that the increased exercise, revealing clothing and perspiration of summertime increase sexual desire, hectic schedules, stress and the monotony of a lackluster routine stand in the way for many. Regardless of where you fall on the summertime arousal spectrum, there are many ways to rev your sexual engine and make sure that the sex you do have is as pleasurable as possible.
- Prioritize sexual play. Living in a culture in which you can legally express your sexuality in your home as you see fit is gift many take for granted. In 1916, Margaret Sanger was jailed for opening the first birth control clinic in the United States. Sex toys, which are known to enhance intimacy and sensual delight, remain illegal in India. If you tend to put others’ wants and needs before your own, consider adding sensual play to your calendar this month or take a bit of time each day to partake. For added playfulness, try something new.
- Use a healthy lube. “Lubrication is your body’s way of telling you that you’re turned on,” Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine told Women’s Health Magazine. “You can’t have comfortable or successful sex without it.” Applying lubricant to your genitals during foreplay–whether you’re prone to vaginal dryness or not–can signal and enhance arousal, making sex more satisfying. For added spark, choose an all-natural, certified organic variety, such as Aloe Cadabra, which won’t raise health risks associated with many commercial varieties.
- Talk about sex! You’re free to discuss sexuality with your partner, but do you? A study coauthored by Anthony Lyons, a researcher at La Trobe University in Melbourne, showed that 54 percent of men and 42 percent of women are dissatisfied with their sex lives. Talking openly about sex, particularly issues such as desired frequency, said Lyons, appears to be very important for overall sexual and relationship satisfaction. Talking about sex can also serve as ultra-arousing foreplay. (Va va va VOOM!)
- Turn troubles into triumph. The United States never could have cultivated freedom if its founders had ignored, rather than overcome, adversity. If your sex life isn’t as active or pleasurable as you’d like, address underlying problems. If you’re experiencing physical sexual dysfunction, have your hormones checked or consider shifting to a healthier diet and exercise routine to improve circulation to your genitals. Other common causes of sexual dysfunction include stress, sleep loss and certain medications. Most sexual problems are highly manageable, says the Cleveland Clinic. They simply require willingness to address them.
- Challenge negative views. A study published in The International Journal of Impotence Research in June 2004 showed that the vast majority of women’s sexual problems, including a lack of interest in sex and an inability to orgasm, derive from emotional factors, such as having negative sexual attitudes, rather than physical problems. If discussing or expressing your sexuality gives you the willies, take small steps to increase comfort with both. Tell your partner about a sexual fantasy, for example, or say to yourself in the mirror, “I am a beautiful, sexual being,” every day. Over time, you’ll likely believe it.
Our Bodies Ourselves: A Brief History of Birth Control
Women’s Health Magazine; Have Hotter Sex With Personal Lubes
The Times of India; Delhi Police Cracks Down on Sale of Sex Toys
Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy; Sexual and Relationship Satisfaction Among Heterosexual Men and Women: The Importance of Desired Frequency of Sex
The International Journal of Impotence Research; Sexual problems among women and men aged 40-80 y: prevalence and correlates identified in the Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors
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