Boost Your Sex Drive

Fitness HighsYou love the rush of a vigorous workout: Your mood improves, you have more energy, and you feel more attractive. But what's surprising is how those sweat sessions boost your libido-and lead to you getting a little action. WHAT GETS YOU GOING: It turns out a healthy body, not a healthy sex life, is your No. 1 motivator for working out: Forty-four percent of you said getting stronger, leaner, and fitter was what pushed you to hit the gym. But 75 percent of you also reap the libido-boosting benefits of a cardio session, reporting that when you're exercising regularly, sex is better and you're more frisky. (More than half of you say your drive plummets when you skip a few workouts.) LET'S GET PHYSICAL: The best time to make love? Right after you exercise. Both men and women say they're in the mood post-gym. On a scale from one to five (with five being the most randy), 57 percent of women ranked their sex drive at four or higher then; 67 percent of men said the same. TARGET THOSE TROUBLE ZONES: What body part makes you cringe the most during sex? For a whopping 70 percent of you, it's your abs, followed by your butt and thighs, breasts, arms and back. THROUGH THICK AND THIN? When we asked if a partner's weight gain would affect how attracted you are to him, 45 percent of you said yes, if he gets to an unhealthy number. Sixty percent of men echoed the sentiment.
FIT TO LOVE: Being in shape does factor into dating: Sixty-three percent of men said they prefer women who are active, while 47 percent of women (the majority) said other attributes-like humor, compassion, and smarts are more important. EXPERT TAKE: 'Tour fitness level is linked with how sexy you feel," says Hilda Hutcherson, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City and the author of "Pleasure: A Woman's Guide to Getting the Sex You Want, Need, and Deserve." When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins that improve your mood and relax you. "This is the state of mind required to feel fully aroused," she says. It's not that you can't have a love life without working out, says Hutcherson. It's just that you'll enjoy it more when you're getting the mind and body benefits of exercise. Being fit also has a positive impact on your body confidence, says Ann Keamey-Cooke, Ph.D., director of the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute and author of "Change Your Mood, Change Your Body." "The real-life gains you achieve at the gym -- say, going from using a 5-pound dumbbell to a 10-pounder or running an extra 10 minutes on the treadmill -- give you an incredible sense of power and accomplishment," she says. "That physical pride makes you feel sexier inside and out You radiate that, and in turn your partner becomes even more attracted to you."
The Ultimate EatsYou may count calories and watch what you eat, but to really feed your libido, filling your plate with the right type of food is key. THE SECRETS AT SUPPER: This may come as a surprise, but men think women who eat are sexy. Two-thirds of the guys in our survey said it's a turn on when a woman orders a "reasonably sized" meal at a restaurant. Yet 55 percent of women said they'd just nibble a low-calorie dish, like a salad, on a date. KITCHEN AIDS: To increase your desire, 42 percent of you said you've downed cocktails and 20 percent have tried nibbling on chocolate. More than 69 percent of you indicated that drinking wine lowered your inhibitions. EXPET TAKE: There's some truth to the rumor that certain foods can get you in the mood, says Robert Fried, Ph.D., co-author of "Great Food, Great Sex." But eating chocolate truffles and oysters on the half shell or drinking red wine isn't going to make you amorous. "So-called aphrodisiacs do nothing to fuel your libido," he says. "Lean meats, deep-green vegetables, and brightly colored fruits, however, are all good for sexual vitality." These foods boost blood flow to your heart and sex organs, which will help you become aroused, increase lubrication, and better your chances for an orgasm.

So what qualifies as a "sexy" meal? Lynn Nezin, Ph.D., a clinical health psychologist and co-author of "Great Food, Great Sex," suggests shrimp cocktail followed by a grilled meat or fish entree -- preferably without a heavy sauce or gravy -- a green salad, sauteed spinach, or green beans as a side, and a dessert loaded with fresh berries. Sharing food may also create a more intimate mood. "Feeding each other bites of dessert can definitely set the tone for certain after-dinner activities," says Nezin.

Sexy and Confident
From getting naked to trying a new position, you told us that the pleasure you get in bed connects to how assured you are in your looks.

FULL DISCLOSURE: When it comes to stripping down in view of your mate, you're not unanimous. About 42 percent of you said you like getting undressed in front of your partner, but 34 percent responded that doing so makes you feel self-conscious and anxious.

MAKING THE FIRST MOVE: Though we want to be seen as strong, empowered women, forays into foreplay often leave us in the backseat. When asked who initiated sex most often, 64 percent of you said you waited for your partner to give you the signal. Yet 32 percent of men wish women would make the first move! (Also, 77 percent of guys said they wanted their mates to be more adventurous in the bedroom.)

PLIPPING THE SWITCH: About 50 percent of you said the lights had to at least be dimmed during sex, and another 30 percent said you wanted total darkness. TWO-WAY STREET: Pleasuring your partner is paramount for women and men. When asked how crucial it is that you give your partner an orgasm, both sexes saw eye to eye: About three-quarters of men and women said it was very important. THE WEIGHTING GAME: Nearly 84 percent of you said you would need to slim down to feel your sexiest -- 44 percent wanted to shed 5 to 10 pounds, while another 40 percent said it would take dropping 10 or more. EXPERT TAKE: The key to mind-blowing sex? Get out of your head, says Hutcherson. "While you're worrying about which position flatters your tummy, he's focusing on the pleasure of the moment -- and most women miss that," she says. "Your partner's not imagining you 5 pounds lighter or cataloging your perceived flaws, he's turned on by the way you look right now." Another downfall of obsessing over your body during sex: You may seem disinterested. Try to put aside your insecurities and pay more attention to what gets you-and your partner excited, says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., author of "The Great Sex Weekend.""Men are visual, and they need to look at our bodies and see that we're confident showing them." Letting him know that you're secure in your looks (a trait that's super-sexy) can be as simple as getting busy in broad daylight or using your senses. "Slip on silky lingerie, sip red wine together, bathe in bubbles and oils, or cue up suggestive music," says Kearney-Cooke. "You can also decorate your bedroom with sensuous colors and lighting and scented candles." Setting the stage for a romantic night shows him you're putting thought and energy into your relationship, and he'll appreciate and respond to the extra efforts you make.
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