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Valentine's Day Romance - Spicing up the Night despite Fertility and Body-Image Issues

Valentine's Day Romance - Spicing up the Night despite Fertility and Body-Image Issues

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As Valentine's Day approaches, many couples become antsy, angsty, and simply overwhelmed. The holiday can be tremendously stressful for those who are searching for the perfect Valentine's gift to increase the romance in their relationship, and even more so for couples who are also having concerns about their sex lives. After all, sex can be the source of a couple's greatest bliss - or their greatest stress. In particular, couples who are trying to conceive a child in the face of fertility problems may be struggling to keep their love lives steamy, while couples dealing with weight and attraction issues may not be getting the joy and satisfaction that they should be getting from sex.

But this Valentine's Day, take heart. DocShop has uncovered some ways for couples confronting these problems to "spice up the night."

Body Image and the Law of Attraction

For both sexes, having a positive body image can improve intimacy, since it helps a person to perceive him or herself as more attractive. A survey by the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality at Penn State University found that the cultural emphasis on thinness may have an influence rivaling or exceeding that of menopause on female sexual functioning and satisfaction. Survey participants who perceived themselves as unattractive were more likely to report a drop in sexual desire or activity. Therefore, it stands to reason that an improvement in body image - through a combination of body improvement and self-acceptance - would develop or increase sexual desire.

This was the case for Sharron and Clarence, whose love life improved after Sharron lost a significant amount of weight and underwent a tummy tuck procedure. She found herself not only more satisfied with her physical appearance, but also more excited to get undressed at night for her husband. In Sharron's words, "Before, with gaining the weight and then losing the weight, having the loose skin, I didn't feel as good about my outer appearance. After the surgery, I'm pleased. I look forward to getting dressed each day and wearing nice-fitting clothing. And undressing is quite a pleasure; I look forward to ‘the show' each and every day."

Physical and Emotional Solutions for a Better Body Image

People seeking to perk up their sex lives by improving their body image should keep in mind that body image has physical, emotional, and psychological components. According to psychotherapist Judy Lightstone, Ph.D., body image is indeed an "image" - a perception influenced as much by mood and imagination as by physicality.

Moreover, although physical attractiveness plays a role in sexual desirability, the importance of unconditional acceptance between couples cannot be overstated. Perhaps the most romantic thing couples can do is to accept each other as-is. People seeking to alter their bodies, whether through diet and exercise or through cosmetic surgery, should strive to accept themselves and their significant others apart from their appearance. This may be the key to keeping the fire alive in the relationship, and in the bedroom.

Sex, Passion, and Infertility - Keeping It Spicy Despite Fertility Issues

For couples struggling to conceive, having sex can become more an act of scheduling and precision than one of passion and pleasure. In addition to coordinating intercourse with ovulation, couples must navigate the complex emotions that stem from coping with infertility, and many couples' sex lives become a series of mechanical steps toward transporting sperm to egg. In the words of Brian - now a proud parent - after over six years of meticulous ovulation-charting and sex-scheduling, "many of our scheduled nights ended up with us giving up and watching T.V. instead." Timing is Sexy.

Most couples are aware of the importance of timing to conception, and of the need to make the most of the days surrounding ovulation if they wish to achieve pregnancy. Additionally, to "trap" the sperm in the uterus, couples should time their respective orgasms (men first), and the woman should elevate her legs at a 25 degree angle for about half an hour after sex.

Couples who view "timing" as an opportunity for enhanced communication, intimacy, and foreplay - instead of viewing it as a checklist - can find that it actually enhances their sex lives. It did for Brian, who said, "this coordination forced us to communicate with each other, to pace ourselves, and to work together - which, when orchestrated properly, only added to the fun. It really was an exciting time in our marriage, particularly in comparison to how dry and clinical the sex could have been."

Secret Scheduling

Scheduling is one of the biggest detriments to having good sex. After all, it's hard to get swept into the moment when the moment is determined a week in advance.

The solution for Brian came in the form of his wife keeping her biological "schedule" to herself. "By necessity, she had to know the schedule," he said. "But everything was a surprise for me. Sometimes, she'd initiate sexual activity and then inform me it had nothing to do with our attempts to have a baby. Suddenly, things seemed spontaneous and exciting to me again. And, while she might not have been surprised by the timing, as such, she enjoyed thinking up new ways to surprise me. Our attitudes improved, and the sex became much better."

Remember Romance

Last but not least, remember the words of Amanda Cross: "Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze." Simple, unexpected romantic gestures, whether a gift of flowers or a heartfelt love note, can help to keep the romance alive. Whether a couple is trying to achieve pregnancy or simply feel more attractive and desirable, a little bit of romance can go a long way toward reducing their stress and improving their love life.

Valentine's Day has earned a reputation for being a commercial holiday in which couples must meet certain standards of gift-giving, romance, and passion in order to measure up. While this might be true to an extent, couples who consider the holiday as an opportunity to develop their intimacy - by taking into account the emotional component of attraction and the softer side of sex - can expect to enjoy increased emotional closeness, with sultry side effects in the bedroom.

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