The food pyramid? Yawn. The latest news is the sex pyramid. Learn why including different types of lovemaking in your romantic repertoire can help you have more fun in bed.
By Jenna McCarthy
Subsisting on a diet drawn from one food group isn't healthy or gratifying. Even eating cupcakes 24/7 eventually would get old! And yet when it comes to feeding our sexual appetite, many of us rely on one mode to sate all of our romantic cravings. Turns out, women who order the same meal at the same restaurant every time, so to speak, are missing out. Engaging in different shagging styles not only prevents boredom in the bedroom, but "it also fulfills your many physical and emotional needs, allows you to express different aspects of your personality and enables you to grow sexually as a couple," explains Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a sex and relationship therapist in New York City. No one is saying you have to install a trapeze in your bedroom or invite the neighbors to join in. But just as following the food pyramid's guidelines will improve your overall diet, integrating different types of sex into your regular routine can recharge your romance.
Building your own sex pyramid is easy: It's all about finding the right balance for you. The foundation should be whichever style nourishes you on the deepest level, your second favorite kind will fill the spot immediately above, and so on. Use the following recommendations to guide you, and be sure to take your personal preferences and lifestyle into account. Quickie sex might be closer to the base of a busy mom's pyramid but nearer the top for a single gal. Whatever your individual mix, striving to enjoy each of these types will guarantee that you'll have a healthy, well-rounded and satisfying sex life.
IntimateWhat it is A leisurely exploration of each other's body that allows you to reestablish your bond; it may or may not include intercourse.
The benefits Having an orgasm may feel good (OK, amazing), but more measured lovemaking fulfills our innate need for emotional closeness. Because feeling in sync is so integral to relationship satisfaction, intimate sex is often at the base of women's sex pyramid. "Feeling connected and conveying your affection for one another requires you to slow down and really tune in to each other," says Trina Read, author of Till Sex Do Us Part: Make Your Married Sex Irresistible (Key Porter Books). "When you race to the finish line, it's easy to lose sight of your partner's physical and emotional needs," Read says. By spending some time between the sheets with no pressure to have an orgasm-or even intercourse-you'll appreciate the act and each other more, which is bound to generate some of those warm and fuzzy feelings.
The recipe No matter how long you've known your partner, he still can't read your mind, so communicate what makes you feel connected. (He probably doesn't know how much you miss those marathon make-out sessions-you have to tell him!) To ensure an affirmative response, "offer some positive reinforcement by saying, 'I loved it when you did such and such…let's try that again!'" says Emily Dubberley, author of The Going Down Guide (St. Martin's Press). In the moment, do whatever you need to do to feel closer: Kiss, laugh, share a secret you've never told anyone. You'll feel so enamored that it won't matter whether it ends with a bang.
AdventurousWhat it is Anything that's out of the realm of your routine, whether it's a new position, sex in the shower or dressing up in a costume.
The benefits Mixing it up in bed enhances your sexual self-esteem, so adventurous sex will probably fall somewhere in the middle of your sex pyramid. "Doing something different, whether or not it's 'successful,' will increase your confidence and embolden you to step out of your comfort zone more often," Read explains. Shaking things up will likely accelerate your sex drive, too: "When you venture into uncharted territory, it sticks out in your memory," she says. And the more you think about sex, the more frequently you'll want to do it.
The recipe If broaching the topic of, say, trying a new sex toy seems intimidating, you're in good company. "Many women want to experiment with their partners but aren't sure how to bring it up," says Amy Levine, a certified sexuality educator in New York City. Some common concerns: "Women may worry their mate will think he's inadequate, or they're afraid he'll judge them or question where they came up with the idea in the first place," she explains. A relatively painless approach is the old "I just read about [fill in the blank] in a magazine or book. Does that sound fun to you?" Another way to suggest something racy-write down five things that you'd like to try; ask him to do the same and then compare notes. Anything that appears on both lists gets the green light, and you can approve or consider the other items. One cautionary note: Imagine hooking up with Johnny Depp all you want, but it's generally best to share only those fantasies in which your partner has a starring role.Sex calendar: Get inspired to get busy!
ElectricWhat it is Fast, furious and strikingly short on foreplay: Let's do this right here and right now! (Otherwise known as a quickie.)
The benefits For a busy woman who juggles work, kids, chores and more, finding time for sex can present a challenge. That's why a quickie can be the perfect solution when you need to sneak some lovin' into a packed calendar. It's also a fun, effective way to show your partner that your relationship is still on the radar, so electric sex might occupy one of the middle tiers of your pyramid. It can inject a little excitement into your life, too: If both of you can step away from your desk in the middle of the day, sneaking out to meet up for an hour or so is exhilarating. "There's no better way to break up an otherwise monotonous day," Levine says. "Once you get back to work, you'll be totally fired up for the rest of the afternoon."
The recipe The beauty of speedy sex is that it doesn't require elaborate forethought. You simply need to carve out a sliver of time in your hectic day. If a lunchtime tryst isn't practical, squeeze in a session before dinner or set your alarm clock 15 minutes early and connect before the kids wake up. Stuck at a boring party? Sneak off to the powder room together to make it a night you'll both never forget. (Remember to lock the door.)Find 3 ways more ways to liven up your sex life here!
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