Who doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t love receiving just a little bit more than giving?Ã‚Â But get this: Being generous in the bedroom can amp up your own desire, according to a new study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.
Researchers studied Ã¢â‚¬Å“sexual communal strengthÃ¢â‚¬ÂÃ¢â‚¬”or a willingness to meet your partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sexual needsÃ¢â‚¬”in 44 long-term couples. The couples completed individual surveys every day for 21 days, starting with a longer background survey that gauged how willing they were to meet their partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s sexual needs, their relationship satisfaction, and their desire level. The result: People who were more willing to meet their partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s needs in bed reported higher levels of daily arousal.
And being a giver doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just have temporary lust-boosting effectsÃ¢â‚¬”it was also associated with higher levels of desire four months later! While many couples saw a dip in their libido at the four-month follow-up, those who were more focused on their partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pleasure were able to maintain the spark, says lead study author Amy Muise, PhD, post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.
So how does sexual generosity amp up your own arousal? Ã¢â‚¬Å“Knowing that you can satisfy your partner and turn your partner onÃ¢â‚¬”thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a huge boost to your self-esteemÃ¢â‚¬Â says Ian Kerner, PhD, founder of Good In Bed and author of She Comes First. And that sexy confidence, paired with an equally turned-on partner, tends to result in mind-blowing sex. Ã¢â‚¬Å“If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re putting yourself in a situation where youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re attentive to your partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s needs, it creates a virtuous cycle of sex and sexual desire,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kerner.
But before you bend over backwardsÃ¢â‚¬”literally or figurativelyÃ¢â‚¬”for your guy, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one big caveat: Focusing on your partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s desires at the expense of your own does not have the same effect, says Muise. Instead, the idea is to foster a mutual focus on each otherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pleasure and to both make an effort to fulfill the other personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s needs between the sheets.
Feeling inspired? Here are three ways to make your sex life a little more gratuitous:
Find out what turns him on Ã¢â‚¬Å“I always encourage couples to talk about their fantasies,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kerner. Just make it clear that this is purely a sexy conversationÃ¢â‚¬”not an immediate request or an area to judge. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re blanking on sexy fantasies to share, think back to your favorite x-rated movie scenes, your celebrity crushes, or what your porn preferences are. Even if something is totally out of your element, just acknowledging your partnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s turn-ons and talking about them can boost your intimacy and open up the floor to hotter sex.
Really make an effort SexÃ¢â‚¬”like every other part of your relationshipÃ¢â‚¬”should come with a healthy dose of give and take. Whether your guy prefers a particular position or has been dying to try something new, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not a bad idea to take one for the team every once in a while (as long as youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re comfortable with it). Ã¢â‚¬Å“What this study shows is that giving pleasure is just as important as receiving pleasure,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kerner. So the next time youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re getting busy, take a minute to think about what your partner is craving at that moment and how to give it to him. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Knowing that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re creating that pleasure, that youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re giving that to your partner, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s incredibly sexy and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a huge turn on,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kerner.
Make sure they return the favor So what about when itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s your turn to receive? When youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re craving something specific in bedÃ¢â‚¬”whether itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s more foreplay or trying a position that makes it easier for you to orgasmÃ¢â‚¬”thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a way to ask for it without making your partner feel like a failure.Ã‚Â Whatever you do, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t start with something like Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we everÃ¢â‚¬Â¦Ã¢â‚¬Â Framing it this way comes off as negative and will automatically put him on the defensive, says Kerner. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Rather than having a conversation that points to what youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re not doing, talk about the sex you want to be having,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Kerner. Bring it up in a non-confrontational way, like telling him about a crazy-hot dream you had about him the other night, or the interesting article (like this one) that you read, or even texting him a scandalous link (like this one). ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a simple and sexy way to bring up something you want to tryÃ¢â‚¬”and weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re willing to bet heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be game.
photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock More from Women's Health:
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