Want a romantic getaway but still need to take the kids? What do you do when he's not in the mood? Sexpert Jennifer Berman answers your questions.
Q: My husband and I would like our family beach trip to double as a romantic escape. Got any tips for sneaking sexiness into a family vacation?
A: Floaties, zinc oxide, and hours at the kiddie pool don’t scream romance. But trust mewith the right planning, it can happen. Pick a destination that will help you keep the kids happy, fed, and busy. In most cases, this means opting for an inclusive resort rather than booking a beach house of your own, unless you plan to bring along a sitter. I tell women to look for resorts that provide child care (and ideally, suites, so you and he have a bedroom door to close). The more activities offered for the children, the more free time you two will have to steal away for a little one-on-one. Take advantage of the outdoor activities the resort offers for adults, too. Work up a sweat together; it's an excellent aphrodisiac. (See Three Easy Ways to Get in the MoodFast!) Or book a couple’s massage in the spa. Definitely hire a sitter once or twice, so you can treat yourselves to a romantic dinner and take a leisurely evening stroll on the beach. Nothing beats coming back to a clean room with the kids asleep and both of you intoxicated by the smell of the sea.
Q: You often hear that guys want to have more sex than their wives do. For me, it’s just the oppositeI’m always the one to initiate. How can I boost his libido?
A: You’re actually in good company. Recent research shows that as many as one in five men has a low sex drive. Despite those stats, we continue to think of men as the highly sexual ones, so your guy’s lack of libido may make him feel depressed or even ashamed.
Gently bring up the issue when both of you are relaxed, not after a failed attempt to initiate sex. Together, agree on a set number of times a week or month that feels right. And when the moment arrives, help him get in the mood. Offer to give him a full-body massage, starting with his feet. Your soothing touch can help him relax and can reawaken those erogenous zones. During off-times, stick to the plandon’t let snuggling, kissing, or hugging lead you to press for more. He needs to know that he can show you affection without performance pressure.
Also keep in mind that certain drugs, including common blood pressure pills and antidepressants, can sabotage sex drive; he can ask his doc about switching meds. Finally, it’s not uncommon for men over 40 to experience a dip in testosterone levels, another challenge to the libido. His doctor can diagnose this with a simple blood test and possibly prescribe testosterone-replacement therapy.
Q: My husband and I have a wonderful sex life, with one catch: I frequently end up with bladder infections. Are we doing something wrong?
A: Certain positions simply make you more prone to infection. Rear entry can put a woman at greater risk for urinary-tract infections (UTIs) because it increases friction on the urethra, the small tube that empties urine from the bladder. You may want to switch to missionary and woman-on-top, both of which are gentler on female parts.
Some forms of birth control can also increase the risk of bladder infections. Condoms make the pH of the vagina more bacteria-friendly. And a diaphragm can push on the bladder and keep urine from being fully released, which also creates a bacterial risk.
To lower your chances of contracting a UTI, always urinate right after sex. Also, make sure any vaginal lubricants you use are fragrance-free and water-soluble; glycerin- and petroleum-based lubricants can trap bacteria. Finally, talk to your gyno if you have a history of frequent UTIs (more than three a year). She may be able to prescribe an antibiotic taken post-sex to prevent future infections.