With busy lives, kids to entertain and demanding work schedules, it’s no surprise that sex can slip to the bottom of your ever-increasing to-do list.
Basically, we’re all shattered, and stripping off to get frisky can feel too much of an ask.
It’s no surprise that sex can slip to the bottom of your ever-increasing to-do list
In fact, according to research carried out by YouGov, only a quarter of us are having sex every week, and by the age of 44, almost a fifth of us don’t have sex at all.
But if there’s one day of the year when you might want to relight the sexual flame, it’s Valentine’s Day.
Yes, it’s a cliché, but setting aside specific time to be intimate can work wonders for your sex life.
In fact, many therapists swear by scheduling sex, as it guarantees quality time together, and that anticipation can really build arousal.
So now that it’s in the diary, how can you make bed time the best time, fast?
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Get your frills
Scrap those enormous Bridget Jones undies (we know they’re comfortable, but there’s a time and a place!), it’s time to dig out that lacy set languishing at the back of your drawer.
Sex and relationship expert Susan Quilliam says sexy underwear tends to be made from smooth or soft material that can arouse you sensually.
“It’s usually designed to ‘present’ your body visually in a way that emphasises the sexual triggers, such as boobs and bum,” she explains. “This makes you feel good, kick-starting your libido.”
Another added bonus is that “the emphasis on boobs and bum also works for [your partner], so you’ll get a good response from [them] which may then in turn enhance your libido.”
Opt for red undies, as there’s evidence to suggest that red can stimulate the brain’s excitement levels. You’ll be off to a racy start in no time.
Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy sex life… Pilates might not be the first thing you think of when hoping to give your libido a speedy boost, but just a little stretching can really get blood flowing to those intimate areas – and increase flexibility to boot.
“Pilates will not only give you the tools to build a stronger body, including a stronger core and pelvic floor – essential for both women and men in the bedroom – it will also help you have a more positive relationship with your body,” says Rebecca Convey, owner of Kinetic Pilates.
While it takes regular practice to strengthen your core and pelvic floor – which, over time, will boost stamina in the bedroom.
For a swift release of endorphins that can fire things up quick-smart, Rebecca recommends sinking into the single leg stretch.
It boosts blood flow to the pelvis and releases feel-good endorphins, helping to lift your libido.
Lie on your back and bring your knees up to your chest while keeping your abdominal muscles pulled in.
Place both hands on your right knee to keep it close to your chest, while you lift your head and shoulders, and stretch your left leg out.
Switch sides and slowly repeat five to 10 times. As you exercise, squeeze your pelvic-floor muscles to wake them up even more.
Have fun with fungi
Adding a Portobello to your evening meal might not sound like the sexiest way to kick off your evening, but medicinal mushrooms – namely cordyceps – are gaining a reputation for their after-effects.
This mushroom has been used for thousands of years as a potent aphrodisiac by many cultures.
“They can help address male impotence, improve erectile function, sperm production, motility and mobility, and increase sexual arousal in both men and women,” claims Hania Opienski, naturopath and mycotherapy specialist at biotech company Hifas da Terra.
They are native to the Himalayan mountains, but you can buy cordyceps extract capsules or powder to stir into tea for a pretty sharpish libido pep-up.
Try Erbology Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Powder (£15.99 for 60 servings).
Still wondering what to eat for your V Day meal? Opt for a fillet of salmon – the natural fats in this tasty, oily fish can help to improve blood circulation, which in turn will drive your libido.
But steer clear of anything too salty or deep-fried on a date, as these can lead to bloating and gas – an instant mood-killer!
Remember what it was like when you caught your partner’s eye for the first time?
Recreate those early-day shivers and find yourself promptly in the mood, thanks to a little “eye sex”.
A bout of eye contact will “re-establish the physical bond between you and remind your body – and heart – that you’re a loving couple,” says Susan. “Libido flourishes with emotional closeness.”
Research has found that eye contact can help us connect more deeply with other people, making us feel vulnerable and open.
To up the intensity, gaze into your partner’s eyes for four whole minutes (who remembers that Married At First Sight Australia episode?).
A study by psychologist Arthur Aron suggested this is the length of time needed for two strangers to hold eye contact before experiencing deep feelings of love, so imagine what it can do if you already have baseline feelings for each other.
Whether you do it over a romantic dessert, or take a moment in bed simply to be still and enjoy the excitement of locking eyes but not touching, chances are it will lead to more…
Say no to the Big ‘O’
The idea of not prioritising an orgasm might sound a bit odd – especially on the most romantic night of the year – but bear with us.
Valentine’s Day already comes with a lot of pressure. You’ve got to have the perfect romantic meal, find a card to encapsulate your whole love story and make sure you have fireworks in the bedroom.
It’s a lot to live up to for all involved.
And when it comes to what goes on between the sheets, it can be especially pressured if reaching orgasm is something that doesn’t happen all that often.
Research by sex toy retailer Lovehoney found that having an orgasm is the main goal of 42% of men and 35% of women.
However, while 75% of men orgasm almost every time from sex, only 28% of women do.
So instead of stubbornly chasing the big “O”, try letting go – remember, sex is about the journey not just the destination!
A ban on orgasmic sex can put the focus firmly back on arousing foreplay, says Susan.
She suggests giving one-way, no-orgasm sex a go.
“Take it in turns to pleasure each other. This means you can both enjoy the act more.
“Set a timer for half an hour each way, and be prepared to ‘give’ for 30 minutes, and then ‘receive’ for the same amount of time.”
And if you do get there, it’s a bonus!