Distractions at home – chores, the school run, bills – can put a dampener on our libido. Plus familiarity, that passion-killer of long-term relationships, can make you and your partner blind to what attracted you in the first place. “Schedule in ‘couple time’ together, such as a weekend away, where you can be intimate without distractions,” says Relate counsellor and sex therapist Peter Saddington (relate.org.uk). A study of over 1,000 people found that 74 per cent of couple have sex at least once every other day when on holiday, compared with 19 per cent of couples reporting the same frequency while at home. Plus, the novelty of a new setting helps you recognise what turned you on in the first place. “Women rarely put themselves first so getting away from it all allows you to tune into and address your needs, making room for great sex,” says psychotherapist Abigail Eaton-Masters. Don’t forget to hang the “Do not disturb” sign.
2. When your alarm goes off
“Your energy levels are likely to be at their peak first thing, while the stresses of the day have yet to begin,” says Abigail. “Plus morning sex can really keep you feeling emotionally engaged with your partner.” And, as most of us know, men’s testosterone levels are higher in the morning, says Peter.
3. Before a big work presentation
On the day of a testing work event, making love dissipates nerves. University of Paisley researchers asked 24 women and 22 men to keep sex diaries before a stress test. Participants who had sex that morning were found to be less stressed and their blood pressure returned to normal faster than those who hadn’t. “During sex, your body releases ‘happiness chemicals’ dopamine and endorphins, which make you feel relaxed ahead of doing something nerve-racking,” says Peter.
Counter-intuitive, yes, but sex can be a pain reliever. Research from the University of Münster in Germany found that more than half of migraine sufferers who had sex during an episode experienced an improvement in symptoms – and one in five patients left with no pain at all. “It’s down to the release of endorphins that can reduce pain,” says Peter.
5. After your sun salutations
Post-workout is a great time for sex. “You’re likely to have a positive body image after a workout and good sex usually starts in the mind,” says Abigail. Also, physical activity increases blood flow and pumps adrenaline around your body, which can make you feel like getting it on. Yoga can enhance sexual function and satisfaction in women, according to a study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Researchers asked 40 women to complete a sex questionnaire before and after a 12-week yoga programme – at the end, there were improvements in the women’s desire and sexual satisfaction. And a University of Texas study compared women’s reactions to erotic material after a 20-minute bike ride. They found that blood flow to their genital region was 169 per cent higher after a workout. One more reason to pull on your workout gear!