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Hot Sex: When Your Partner is Hot and You're Not


Communicate

Make a Contract and Follow Through

It's out in the open. You and your partner have positively communicated specific sexual desires and have made a commitment to respond to one another. Now, it's time to make a contract, suggests Lana Holstein, M.D., a sex expert and author of the book, "How to Have Magnificent Sex: The 7 Dimensions of a Vital Sexual Connection."

Holstein, who also leads sexual workshops at Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Ariz., says that often the problem isn't communicating desire as much as acting on it. The fatigue and grind of daily life bury even the best sexual intentions.

Calling the contract "a deal for sexual wealth," Holstein counsels couples to create a "good sex division" of their relationship. Put down on paper what the two of you want sexually. For instance, you may decide that one of you gets to call the shots for the next month. The partner responsible for initiating sex is also in charge of making the encounter happen.

For the contract to work, you need to be able to begin an encounter from a low level of desire. It's like exercise, explains Holstein. You don't always want to do it, but once you start working out, you're pleased you did. "We don't always feel 'in the mood,' but usually after we're ... into it, we're glad to be there and often relieved," she says.

After one month, discuss how the contract is working, which experiences were pleasurable, which taught you something, and which didn't work. Then you can decide to extend or modify the original agreement — and perhaps add penalty clauses for not following through.

Resolving Desire Discrepancy

Once you get the communication and contract going, you are likely to discover that all-too-common problem — desire discrepancy. It occurs in couples of all ages, and contrary to what you might think, it isn't always the man whose sex drive is higher than the woman's. Particularly at midlife, a woman may be coming into her own sexual power just as her man may be feeling less aggressive in sexual relations.

A shift in desire between partners isn't necessarily a problem unless one person feels frustrated or rejected. That's usually the high-desire partner because he or she is doing the initiating yet being sexually scorned.

Learn Your Partner's Language of Love

Pat Love has specific suggestions to help low- and high-desire partners improve their lovemaking. Topping her list is learning your partner's language of love. This gets to the heart of what arouses your partner, and it's often more subtle than sexy underwear for him and chocolate and roses for her.

Love gives this example: Tom would like to make love once a day, whereas Sue is satisfied with once a week. What might soften Sue and make her more responsive to Tom's desire for more frequent sex? Tom needs to become an expert in creating desire in Sue.

What Tom may not be aware of is that there is a connection between Sue's desire and her day-to-day life. She often claims to be too tired for lovemaking because of the kids. But suppose one evening Tom says to Sue, "I'll take the kids for an hour so you can relax and do whatever you want."

This generosity might cause Sue to feel a surge of love for Tom, creating an atmosphere in which sex can ignite. For Sue, Tom's act is foreplay.

"You have to honor the reality and experience of the other," says Love. "You have to jump in there and respond to the cues; you have to find out what says, 'I love you' to your partner."


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