Get In The Mood
THE SECRET TO GOOD SEX? Free your mind and warm your feet. In the first brain scans ever recorded during orgasm, researchers from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands discovered the key to arousal for women is relaxation. The subjects also climaxed more easily when wearing socks.
Whether you go barefoot or slip on your Ugg boots, letting go of stress and anxiety in bed can be a challenge. "For women, stress is a huge block to healthy sex," says psychotherapist Kathleen A. Cervenka, Ph.D., author of In the Mood, Again. "If you're stressed, tell your partner what you're feeling and talk about what you can do to alleviate the stress." Cervenka advises couples to massage each other or to slide into a bubble bath together with a glass of wine. "But just one glass, because more would deaden the senses," she adds.
To unwind and find a connection with your partner once you're in bed, sex therapist and Sexual Healing author Barbara Keesling, Ph.D., suggests a technique called "spoon breathing"--it's done with the two of you lying front-to-back, like spoons in a drawer. Designed to help couples "gradually learn to reduce anxiety in sensual and sexual situations," spoon breathing is recommended before and after sex.
Here's how to do it:
1. Lie together with your partner so that one person's back snuggles up against the other person's front, both pairs of legs bent. The partner in back places his or her hand on the stomach of whoever is in front.
2. Begin to pay attention to your breathing. Avoid talking or squirming, even if you become aroused.
3. To slow your breathing, both of you take three or four deep breaths and then exhale forcefully. Relax your muscles by concentrating on your bottom leg, imagining it sinking into the bed.
4. Stay in this position and breathe deeply for five to 10 minutes. Alternate focusing on your breath, then your partner's; eventually your breathing will synchronize naturally.
5. Every time you and your partner practice spoon breathing, alternate who's in front and who's in back.