365 Nights of Lovin’

It seems like a no-brainer, but there has recently been a great deal of research on how more sex can increase intimate connections between couples and even improve overall health.

Sex may not be a cure all for every marriage, there are certainly other forms of intimacy beyond sex, but for most couples, sex is a vital source of romance, bonding, commitment, security, and communication. Sex also fosters improved general health, decreases cancer, depression, and heart disease, and is an instigator, i.e. it improves the sex drive as well.

This research actually began with the anecdotal evidence provided by two couples, married 8 and 14 years respectively, who took it upon themselves to improve their relationship by introducing daily sex into the household routine. The result was not only a better marriage, but two popular books based on their experiences. The first book, written by Doug Brown is called Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days (No Excuses!), and the second, 365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy, written by Charla Muller and Betsy Thorpe.

The rules of this experiment were quite simple. Every day, no matter what happened at work, which appliance was on the fritz, or what little Johnny or Suzy did at school, the couple would retire to bedroom for some adult playtime. There was no pressure, no expectation, but the couple did have to make an effort to engage in some form of intimate contact at least once a day. You might be thinking these couples must have been athletes to take on such a tall order, but they are actually average — juggling kids, careers, a mortgage, and with an average sex life to match.

According to the National Opinion Research Center, average is about 66 encounters per year to once a week for most couples. However, this national average fails to show that the percentage is skewed by the 18-plus group who engage in sex 109 times a year. On the other end of that spectrum are the 15 to 20 percent of married couples who engage in sex less than 10 times per year, which is the traditional definition of a “sexless marriage.”

The Brown’s and the Muller-Thorpe’s realized their sex lives were on a downward spiral, but like many of us, they were not interested in counseling, drug therapies, or writing daily journals. They wanted to approach the problem with the most obvious, natural solution, more sex. But how do you make time for it? Well, you schedule it, and adhere to the schedule even though you may feel overwhelmed, tired and maybe a little bored.

At the end of these trials, both couples reported a sharp increase in their enjoyment and appreciation of sex. But more importantly, their overall marriage had improved in nearly all areas. The subsequent clinical studies echoed these results. Evidently, most couples experiencing lagging sexual relationships, due to arousal difficulties or interest level, can improve their relationships simply by making time for more sex. And the best way to get started is to simply get on with it.

But do you have to make love for 365 days to make the change? No, but you do have to make a schedule and stick to it. It may seem unromantic to schedule sex, but many couples reported that the anticipation was very erotic.

If you would like to experiment on your own, here are some points that may help you work your way up to 365 nights of sex:

• Set date nights (sex nights) on the calendar and hold each other to them.
ï Remember the things you used to do when you were dating? Well, your partner may have forgotten, so why not remind them from time to time. It’s the little things that set the mood.
ï Even when you are “not in the mood,” research shows that by going through the motions, it will not take long for your mojo to catch up and join the party.
ï Increase your sex life in increments. Most sex therapists recommend doubling your frequency every few months, until you’ve reached a comfortable, maintainable amount of sex.
ï Besides date nights, set times to re-examine your sex life and make changes or suggestions for improvement. This is an experiment, so don’t hesitate to change the rules from time to time.

And most important of all, have fun!

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