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Over-the-Counter Aphrodisiacs with Possibility

Many of the women I see in my office want a “natural” treatment for their sex life. They don’t want a prescribed medication if they can get their libido back in some other way. Many experiment with trying over-the-counter herbs fully aware that there may be more hype about love potions than actual fact, and hopeful that there is some truth to the marketing.

In this blog post I point to the medical research that has been done on the over-the-counter products that are out there now; these products are available to everyone, and yet they are not safe for everyone to use. The comments below outline for you what is known about these products from medical research.

The info comes from a 2015 review presented in Journal of Sexual Medicine. The review was done to answer the same question: Was there was any evidence to support all the claims of sexual wonder?  It turns out that fenugreek, Korean red ginseng, maca, L-arginine and tribulus terrestris are plant products that did show supporting evidence, even if the evidence was limited in scope. I have included a few details from this review of research below.

Fenugreek: Fenugreek is an herb, often used in Ayurvedic medicine, which contains building blocks used to create estrogen and testosterone. A 2015 study showed that fenugreek improved arousal, lubrication, and satisfaction in premenopausal women. There were minor intestinal side effects. The dose used in the study was 300 mg twice a day. Fenugreek should not be used by people taking blood-thinning medication (anticoagulants), or by women with hormonally active cancers.

Maca: Maca is a root vegetable from Peru and has long been used for fertility in the Andean culture. Three out of four of the random clinical trials mentioned in this review did show positive effects on sexuality. Study doses ranged from 1.5 to 3 grams of maca a day. Its mechanism of action is not fully understood. It is known to not alter estrogen and testosterone levels as fenugreek does. It does contain phytoestrogens, plant-based compounds that can inhabit the estrogen receptors in your body. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you are, your hormonal status, whether you have cancer, the medications you are on, and many other factors that researchers are currently trying to decipher. Maca is well tolerated. We do not yet have data on what doses are optimal or safe for women to take.

Ginseng: Korean red ginseng is an herb that has been shown in one double-blind study to heighten arousal in menopausal women. It works by encouraging the release of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow in the clitoris and vaginal walls. (This is the same biochemical pathway that is augmented by Viagra, Cialis and similar medications.) Ginseng has been shown to be estrogenic, so it should be avoided by women with hormonally active cancers, and by women who have bleeding disorders or are on anticoagulant medications.

Tribulus Terrestris: This herb contains a compound which converts to DHEA. DHEA is a building block for your testosterone. This review found two randomized placebo-controlled studies that demonstrated improvement in female sexual function using this herb. The herb was well tolerated and sometimes caused minor intestinal side effects.

Horny Goat Weed (Traditional Chinese Medicine herb), Potency Wood (Brazilian herb), Damiana Leaf (extract from a Mexican shrub), and Gingko (tree used in Traditional Chinese Medicine) have promise, yet lack research. Yohimbine (parts from an African plant) is a strong aphrodisiac and its side effects can be life threatening, so it is not recommended for any over-the-counter use.

L-arginine, a common amino acid, is taken by many men and some women for a Viagra-like effect. It is a precursor to nitric oxide and nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate and fill with blood all over your body, including the clitoral and vaginal areas. There is significant evidence that L-arginine is helpful in producing firmer erections in men. Research on L-arginine by itself in women is lacking. There is a small double-blind study of 108 women that showed an increase in sexual desire and sexual satisfaction after taking the supplement ArginMax. This is a multi-ingredient supplement which has L-arginine in it, along with a variety of vitamins and herbs, some of which we have just mentioned: Korean Ginseng, Ginkgo, and Damiana Leaf.

Medicine, to date, hasn’t generated enough evidence-based data to establish guidelines for safe use of herbs over time, so we are left somewhat on our own. I say somewhat as there are naturopaths, herbalists, and nutritionists who are well educated in the potential of these plant products and have used them clinically for decades. Be careful in experimenting! Herbs are powerful products, and as you can see above, they can increase hormones in your body that can contribute to cancers and blood clots.

Set the Stage for Delicious Sexual Events

Are you an alive sensual feminine being who has a yes for pleasure, and wants to have a great bedroom experience with your partner?  Then design your bedroom to be a great space for a romantic and sexual encounter. No kidding – intending your bedroom space to be sensually great for you makes a difference to your sex life. This is even more true in long term relationships.

Make the bedroom a place that turns you on – a room that reminds you to feel your sensuality as soon as you walk into it. Declare this room to be only about the sensual wonder and magic that is possible between your partner and you. Even if you’re not feeling that magic in the relationship yet, make the room feel and appear as if you are.

Create the Environment That Invites the Sexual You to Show Up

Imagine a room decorated to match the sex life that you want to have. You can create this by the use of textures, colors, lighting, and accessories. Start by selecting a theme that makes you feel tender, open, and excited. If exotic places create interest for you, include elements of exotic décor. If a romantic style is what revs you up, create that. If clean lines and simple surroundings make you feel most open for love, then keep the room décor
understated.

A quick Google search of exotic, romantic, or contemporary bedrooms will yield endless decorating ideas that you can use to ignite your style of romance. I am not an interior decorator, so I either use pictures of what others have created or ask my décor savvy friends to come over and help me. You may want to ask your friends too. After you explore and recognize which theme works for you, put your plan into action.

The décor should draw your eye to the bed and should elicit the idea of sex or sleep. Nothing else. The bedroom is not a home office, a laundry-sorting station, or a TV room.

Even if the kids still sleep in your room at times, your kids’ stuff, including family pictures, should be placed elsewhere. This is an adult space. It’s your play area. The bedroom needs to reflect an intimate, safe place where you can temporarily step out of the “mom” mindset. The other rooms in the house can be family rooms.

Get rid of everything that is not linked with either intimacy or rest. Be ruthless!

Textures: Use fabrics that invite you to want to touch them. Create a “want to stay a while” atmosphere by adding layers of silk, faux furs, mohair, cashmere, fine linens, and other soft, velvety cottons. Make it a sensual playground.

Colors: The colors of the sheets, bedspreads, walls, and pillows should compliment your eyes, hair, and skin. You are the beauty in the room. Showcase yourself at your sensuous best!

If you don’t know what your best colors are, you can hire a color expert who can advise you or go to the bookstore and find a reference. 1

Lighting: Most women agree that bright light will dampen a sultry mood faster than things disappear when you hit delete on the keyboard. Replace harsh white light bulbs with soft pink ones. If you can, add a dimmer switch. Use candles too. The flickering of candlelight can add to the feel of romance in the room and provide a gorgeous forgiving glow to your skin. If you’re worried about burning down the house, there are many electronic candles on the market that can mimic the same effect. If you want to really shake things up, occasionally introduce strobe lights and/or black lights to the mix.

Accessorize: Add framed, romantic, or sensual pictures of the two of you together to remind you of what this room is about. Add accents of curved vases, sculptures, or other shapes that suggests a sensuous body.

If you like music, collect songs or albums on your iPod or CD player that make you feel sexy. If you have yet to compile a collection of songs that get you in the mood, start listening to music with this question in mind, “What songs make me feel sensually alive and excited?” Create a way in which you can quickly access and play those songs when the mood strikes.

Couples that take the time to set the mood through lighting a candle and playing music have been shown to be the couples that have more passion and satisfaction in their sexual relationships over time.

Make sure to delight all of your senses. Sensual smells can be provocative, and using scented candles or essential oil diffusers can add to your relaxation and arousal. Essential oils that are used to increase arousal include jasmine, cinnamon, ginger, rose, vanilla, patchouli, and ylang-ylang. You probably won’t like all of them, so try several to see which ones turn you on.

If you use oils, lubricants, contraceptives, or other devices, find an easy-access and aesthetic way to store them. Also, include benches, stools, and cushions in the furnishings. They can facilitate different activities and positions. You also may place mirrors in strategic places for visual stimulation.You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can find many of these items at popular discount stores.

You’ll know your room is ready when you can answer these three questions with an
emphatic “Yes!”

  • Is your bedroom a place that looks like it is ready for a romantic and sexual
    encounter?
  • Does it inspire you to feel sensually activated?
  • Does the décor accent your beauty, your skin tone, eye color, and hair color?

Claiming your bedroom as a special place to enjoy your sex life is a concrete way to declare that your sex life has your attention, and that it is important. Committing to this one change, creating an inviting sensual bedroom space creates a ripple effect that can be bigger than expected.

If your lovemaking space delights your senses, you are much more likely to show up in it with all your senses ready to be delighted. Remember, surrounding yourself with what’s arousing and interesting to you is central to having a great sex life.

Reference: Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor, The Triumph of Individual Style: A Guide to Dressing Your Body, Your Beauty, Your Self (New York: Fairchild Publications, 2002), 112-153.

Click here to read more about Women and Sexual Desire.

For more bedroom inspiration and design ideas, visit my Pinterest page by clicking here.

 

The Female Brain and Your Level of Sexual Desire

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Sexual desire is funny mystery. You want to be relaxed enough so that you can then enjoy a build up of tension. It seems like two different directions at the same time, yet that is how sex works. The following current medical research looks at these two directions:

MRIs were taken of the brains of women who have low desire. Their brain activity was compared to the activity in women without low desire. In the women with low desire, the area of the cortex that is involved in self-monitoring and has ‘inhibitory executive control’ showed hyper activation. This meant her YES for sex was dampened down, and she had built-in inhibition. This is not what most women want.

In medicine, low desire through one frame is seen as the result of an imbalance in the excitatory and inhibitory processes inside of us. These are biochemical processes. The imbalance is caused by too little excitement or too much inhibition or a combination of those two phenomena.

Neurotransmitters are one focus of what may be involved. For example, Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that stabilizes our moods, is calming, and promotes good sleep. It is also a key inhibitory factor in sexual desire. It weakens the ability of the excitatory systems in our bodies to be activated by sexual cues. Sexual cues are what trigger our arousal and get us activated sexually. You want to be activated to have a good time.

Medicine is currently looking at ways to intervene in this process by modulating these excitatory and inhibitory pathways through targeting of neurotransmitters. Bupropion (Wellbutrin), bremelanotide (possible brand name is Rekynda) buspirone (Buspar), and flibanserin (Addyi) are examples of the drugs being explored to activate. At this time only flibanserin (Addyi) has been approved by the FDA to treat low desire.   Of note, there are combination products under study now. A combination product of testosterone and buspirone has been designed and is not yet available in the US, and a combination of trazodone and bupropion is in development here.

There are non-pharmacological ways to influence neurotransmitter levels too!   Cuddling with your mate and spending time with girlfriends are two that are well known to increase your activating neurotransmitter levels.

In my blog post titled: “Women and Sexual Arousal” I talk about Addyi, click here to read it.

More coming on this topic in future newsletters.

Sex Doesn’t Have to be Painful

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“Treat Your Vaginal Dryness Early” are the words I would put on large billboards along I-5 and along other major highways in the US. I want to get the word out to women sooner about this common problem. Many women I see have waited months or years to seek treatment, and I cringe at the number of nights they have been in pain. Or the number of nights they are ambivalent about having sex as they face the no win choice of either “sex with pain” or “no sex”.

 

 

Treating women’s dryness early would reduce that personal pain and burning during and after sex, and it would do so much to maintain the closeness in marriages — the closeness that can wobble when this happens. So don’t wait. There is no reason to wait. Vaginal dryness, particularly menopausal vaginal dryness, is progressive. The earlier you treat it the better.

Treating dryness early would not only reduce sexual pain for women, it would also improve the capacity for arousal and the quality of the orgasms of millions of American women. On top of that it would add quality to the sexual experience of the women’s partners. As far as what it would do for relationships, well that is a lot. When a partner isn’t available for sex there is confusion, distress and sometimes a misinterpretation of the source of the problem. Treating dryness early would make this relationship chaos less.

Vaginal dryness occurs in more than 50% of women experiencing menopause. It also occurs in young women. Usually these young women are on hormonal contraceptives like the birth control pill, hormonal IUDs, and implants, or they have a hormone condition called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Significant sexual pain occurs in 10% of young women who go on the pill because of vaginal changes that occur from taking the pill. This intimate pain is quite a negative introduction to the new world of sexuality for these young women.

Whether vaginal dryness is due to the pill or menopause or other conditions, it is quickly and easily treated. Don’t wait. The symptoms of pain with intercourse or the feeling like you have a rug burn after sex, will resolve in six to eight weeks. And the treatment is safe. It doesn’t increase your risk of getting breast or endometrial cancer (links to the research on safety are included later in article).

There are multiple treatments for dryness, and there are a few new ones. Intra-vaginal DHEA is one that I reviewed in the last newsletter. More new treatments, including laser therapy, are gathering data now. Low dose minimally absorbed estradiol is still the go-to treatment for dryness. Below is the handout I give to women when prescribing this medication.


USING LOW DOSE MINIMALLY ABSORBED VAGINAL ESTRADIOL

You have been prescribed a vaginal estrogen preparation to use topically.

This prescription is to treat vaginal dryness related to loss of estrogen, or for some women it is to replace estrogen when “crowded out” by naturally higher levels of testosterone.

This is a prescription that you pick up at the pharmacy.

This medication is a low dose hormone prescription. It is different than a lubricant, and different than a vaginal moisturizer. You can think of it like a conditioner.

You do not use it before sexual activity.

The hormonal changes that occur to the vagina also affect the tissue around the opening of the vagina and the urethra (the tube that creates the passage where urine leaves your body). When a topical estrogen cream is prescribed, often the instructions are to take ½ the dose and apply around the opening of the vagina and the labia (lips) including the clitoris and clitoral hood. The other half of the medication goes into the vagina using the applicator from the pharmacy. You also can use your fingers to insert the cream internally.

If you are beginning the prescription, you will often be advised to use it daily for a week, then reducing to twice a week. It takes six to eight weeks for the tissue to get back to the thickness it had been before the hormonal change. When your symptoms are gone, you can reduce the prescription to once a week. If symptoms reoccur you can then increase again to twice a week. If you have been using it for 8 weeks and you still have dryness or pain, come back in — something else may be going on besides vaginal dryness.

Prescriptions for inside the vagina are also written for rings (Estring: this is a ring that is placed inside the vagina and releases low dose estrogen for three months) or suppositories (Vagifem or custom compounded suppositories). These methods deliver estrogen to the vagina internally. Often when a woman uses rings or suppositories internally she will still benefit from some estrogen cream applied externally around the opening of the vagina where more pressure occurs particularly with thrusting.

Compounded vaginal estrogens can be made in creams without parabens and propylene glycol and other chemicals that irritate when cracks or fissures are present, or when there is skin sensitivity. There are bio-identical options for both compounded and non-compounded prescriptions.

Vaginal Estrogens have not been shown to cause an increased risk of breast or endometrial cancer, or any other cancer. See the 2016 American College Of Gynecology guidelines here for women who have had Breast Cancer, and their use of estrogen, click here to visit.

The use of low dose vaginal estrogen and risk of stroke continues to be under study, and so far the Estring, and low dose topical creams show no increase in blood clots, click here to visit.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Don’t put up with dryness or sexual pain from dryness. Find out the cause and treat it until it is gone. There are many resources to help you be successful with this safe treatment, so if your provider doesn’t ask you, then you ask them for treatment.

Click here to read my article about why there is no better time in history to be a post-menopausal woman who wants to have a great sex life.

 

New Treatment for Menopause and Vaginal Dryness

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On July 24, 2017 the Vaginal DHEA suppository we have been hearing about for five years became commercially available. Called Prasterone, with the brand name Intraosa, it is available by prescription. It is for the treatment of sexual pain during intercourse due to menopausal changes. Prasterone (DHEA) is converted locally in the vagina into androgens and estrogens which are the hormones that restore the vaginal tissue.

According to AMAG Pharmaceuticals, there is Copay Savings Program, which lets most insured patients receive their first prescription for a $0 copay and will then pay no more than a $25 copay for each refill for the duration of the program.

The unique research news was that the hormonal effects happened locally in the vagina and did not appear to raise blood levels of estrogen or testosterone throughout the body. Even though hormone levels did not increase, this treatment is not currently approved for women who have had breast cancer, or women who have unexplained postmenopausal bleeding. You can get the prescription from your provider. The vaginal suppository is inserted daily.

Click here to read my blog post about why there is no better time in history to be a post-menopausal woman who wants to have a great sex life.

Women and Sexual Desire: Adding clarity into this mystery

The women I see in my office express a yearning for a deep connection and a big love affair, for a mate that treasures them more than anyone else. They want this passion and excitement in their everyday lives. Preferably they want to have this with their current husband, or partner. They do not want to change husbands to get this, though they may if it seems impossible otherwise.

At the same time that they express this yearning for a deeper and more exciting connection, they speak very highly of their mate. Nine out of ten women who come to my office give high marks to their partners. They deeply love and respect the male or female partner in their lives. They comment on his/her patience, understanding, and willingness to try anything. They talk about kindness and support and goodness. They are attracted to their mate.

And then we come to SEX, the reason she made the appointment in the first place. She says, “Is there something wrong with me, or wrong with my hormones, that I am not interested anymore? Is there a reason I am not into it? Can I change anything? Do I have to accept this as my new normal? Can I get back to the way it used to feel?” Or if she has never been turned on, “Can I ever feel what I hear is possible? It is not him, it is me. I am just not that into it.”

Low desire is the number one complaint women have worldwide. Four out of ten women say they have low libido, and one of those four is distressed about it.

One way to talk about women’s sexual desire is to break it down and talk about the different types of desire. Spontaneous desire is the name we give to desire when a woman herself wants sex. She is interested, she is on the prowl, she is excited. She is not responding to her partner’s advances; instead she is the one initiating the contact, making that first wink. There is also receptive or responsive desire. This is when a woman responds with interest to her partner’s or husband’s approaches. Sex is not her idea. The idea is originating with her partner. He or she does the thing that gets her interested, whispers the personal sweet thighs into her ear, or draws her a bath and lights candles.

Spontaneous desire in women can happen for a variety of reasons. One pattern that gets a lot of floor time in my office is cyclical or biological desire. This is the most common description I hear from women of what desire means to them. If you are still menstruating this occurs mid-cycle for a few days when hormones peak at ovulation time, about day 14 of your cycle. Some women also report an increase in desire right before their period begins or a day into their periods. At this point in your menstrual cycle, the PMS time, estrogen and progesterone are actually at their lowest levels. Testosterone is the only hormone left standing. It gets to dominate the action for a day or two, or longer. This type of desire is hormonally driven by the hormones that drive your menstrual cycles. This cycling drives the acne and irritability before your period too.

The cyclical spontaneous desire that can occur mid-cycle, and maybe at the end of the cycle, is not there after menopause. It is also not there when you block ovulation with hormonal birth control. As you can see women are not simple around sex, and in their beauty and complexity there are many places to look for desire. Occasionally low desire is caused by one thing, like an interfering medication. Sometimes it is hormones, vaginal dryness or sexual pain. Most often it is a variety of obstacles, physical and non-physical.

An important thing to remember: A woman does not have to have a surge of hormonal desire to make something interesting happen in the bedroom. She can create something interesting any day just because she can. 

Click here to read my blog post about women and sexual arousal.

A Body Designed for Sexual Pleasure

There is quite a lot to celebrate about the fame body and how it responds to and is geared for sexual pleasure. It is quite marvelous. When arousal is triggered, cascades of events occur. Neurotransmitters release from a woman’s brain and she gets a nice tingly feeling in her genital tissue. Her nipples become firm, and the clitoris gets erect. Her vulva swells and the labia change from flesh or pink color to a dusky rose or purple. She feels sexually excited. The vaginal walls get suddenly wet. Her clitoris and its two 5 to 7cm long internal legs and surrounding significant vascular tissue engorge with blood. Some muscles contract and heart rate increases. Breathing is fast. There is a sense of tension.

On the outside of a woman’s vulva, women and their partners can see the glans of the clitoris, that external bump of tissue. This glans has the most nerve endings of any place on her body. This is similar to the head of a man’s penis which is thought to be the most sensitive part of the penis with the highest concentration of nerve endings. Both these glans are very sensitive to touch and they can be extremely so. Yet they are not the whole story of arousal and orgasm. Obvious on the male, yet hidden on the female are the shaft and the two internal legs. The shaft and the legs, are what cause the organs, both the penis and the clitoris, to swell when arousal happens. They become erect. That internal swelling can be felt through the upper vaginal Wallin the area we know as the G-spot. When swelling is significant enough and those clitoral legs are impacted by the swelling that surrounds the urethra, an internal orgasm occurs, a vaginal orgasm. There is also an area of the vaginal wall that is deeper inside, referred to as the A-spot or the Deep spot. This spot is in front of the cervix, and when stimulated can lead to orgasm. This is mediated by a different nerve and women report that it feels different than an external orgasm.

The only function of the clitoris and its 8,000 nerve endings is for a woman to experience pleasure, sexual pleasure. The clitoris does not secrete substances or hormones, it does not contribute directly to reproduction or urination, it does not support other processes in her body. It is there for her pleasure.

On top of this awesome genitalia there are the many other erogenous zones in the female body. Her lips, her breasts, her nipples and the skin at the nape of her neck or inner thigh are territories of sensual delight to be explored. Skin can be wonderfully erotic and is packed with nerve endings. Light feathery touch can be scintillating, exploration can be done with your lips, tongue, fingers. There are 2,500 nerve endings per square centimeter in female fingertips, for example, and a lot can be communicated with touch intended to excite and arouse.

Look at the female body and you can appreciate that the physical groundwork for exquisite pleasure has been pre-established. Having this sensitive equipment does not mean women get easily aroused. Many don’t. One has to have one’s arousal triggered for this cascade of events to occur. What triggers arousal is the million dollar question. Arousal is not something you choose – it is something you discover. Arousal can start long before you get in the bedroom, or it can start in the bedroom. It can start with a look, a touch, a smell. If a woman’s arousal is heightened and sustained on enough of her multiple channels, her orgasm happens.

Click here to read my blog post about women and sexual arousal.

Create an environment for an “EVENT”

Women want to have an interesting and compelling time in the bedroom. They want experiences where they melt and merge with their partners, have exquisite sensations, and have feelings that are too big and beautiful to be described in words. If you want to invest in having this kind of a sex life, one practical and physical place to start is to “set the stage.” Believe it or not your bedroom furnishings can support your sex-life being great. Getting started doesn’t have to be difficult. Let’s start first by asking yourself these three questions:

  • Is your bedroom a place that looks like it is ready for a romantic and sexual encounter?
  • Does it inspire you to feel sensually alive?
  • Does the decor support your beauty?

The idea is to make the bedroom a place that turns-you-on…a room that reminds you of your own vibrant femininity and sexuality. You can achieve this by simply changing the feeling of the room through the use of textures, colors, lighting and accessories. Overall the décor should draw your eye to the bed and to the mind of sex and rest. Nothing else. It’s not a home office, Landry-sorting station, or TV room. The bedroom is a place for sex, tenderness, intimacy and sleep. Everything else that is not linked with either intimacy or rest has to go. BE RUTHLESS! Declare this room to be only about the sensual wonder and magic that is possible between you and your partner. Even if you’re not there yet, make the room feel and appear as if you are. Imagine a room decorated to match the most exciting sex life that you want to have.

Start by selecting a theme that makes you feel tender, open and excitable. If exotic places take you there, put in exotic elements. If a romantic style is what revs you up, create that. Maybe clean lines and simple surroundings make you feel most open for love, then keep the room understated. A quick Google search of “exotic,” “romantic,” or “contemporary” bedrooms will give you endless decorating ideas that you can use to radiate romance. I am not an interior decorator by nature, so I either need to see pictures of what others have created, or ask my more visually oriented decorating friends to come over for help. Recognize what works for you, decide on a theme then put your plan into action. By shopping at designer discount stores such as TV Maxx, Ross, and Tuesday Mornings, even second hand shops, each offer great selections and styles while helping to keep costs within an affordable range.

Textures- Use fabrics that invite you to touch them. Create a “want to stay awhile” kind of atmosphere by adding layers of silk, faux furs, mohair, cashmere, linen, and other soft, velvety cottons. May eat delicious for you.

Color- The colors of the sheets, bedspreads, walls, and pillows should be colors that are tens for your eyes, hair, and skin. You are the beauty that those colors are supporting. In this scenario the man’s favorites should not be the focus as we are wanting to showcase you at your sensuous best!

Lighting- Most “women” agree that bright light will kill a sultry mood in a heartbeat. Replace harsh white light bulbs with soft pink ones, even add a dimmer. Candles-it’s a no-brainer! The flickering of candlelight can add to the feel of romance in the room and a gorgeous forgiving glow to your skin. Worried about burning down the house? There are many electronic candles out on the market now that can mimic the same effect! Want to shake things up occasionally? Introduce strobe lights and/or black lights to the mix.

Accessorize- Frame romantic or erotic pictures of yourself with your mate and/or mirror and place them in featured positions. Adding accents of curved vases, sculptures, or anything that suggests a sensuous body will elicit a steamy mood.

If you like music, collect songs or albums on your iPod or player that make you feel sexy. Most of the women I talk to don’t have a list of songs that ‘get them in the mood.’ If that’s you…start listening to music with the question in mind: “What song(s) make me feel sensually alive and excited?” Then create a way in which you can quickly access and play them in your room. If you use oils, lubricants, contraceptives or other devices, find a workable and aesthetic way to store them close at hand. Also, benches, stools, and cushions are handy for different activities and positions and should be included int he furnishings.

Maybe after reading all this you are saying: “But, we’re parents of young children.” Even if part of their bedtime involves a regular visit to your bed, don’t make the room a Kids Zone! Kids stuff, including family pictures do not belong in this adult space. This is your play area. The bedroom needs to reflect an intimate, safe place where you can temporarily remove the “mom” mindset and block out the outside world.

Overall, what’s arousing to you is central to having a great sex life. Your arousal, the feminine person’s, is what we are more often looking to increase. You’re not decorating the most intimate space in your home for anyone else- so have fun, experiment, and try something new!

Click here to read my 12 low or no cost tips on how to keep the bedroom alive and interesting for both of you.