Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Keep Your Guy Totally Turned On"

Catch Him & Keep Him

Once you’ve been dating the same guy for a while, it’s easy to relax … maybe more than you should. Noted psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow reveals seven sins of too-comfy couples and offers advice on how to keep sexual allure alive.

In the first blush of romance, no effort seems too great. Intoxicated by love or lust or both, you swipe your lips with delicious gloss or shell out a ton of money for a bottle fragrance no larger than your big toe. You forego any carb in sight and wax every inch of flesh until your body has less hair than an Olympic swimmer’s. You take extreme yoga just so you can wrap your legs around his neck. And it pays off. Sex is mind-blowing!

Then at some point you begin to feel … comfortable. Perhaps even too comfortable. Maybe it’s six months into the relationship when you’ve started spending every weekend at one another’s place or when you’ve actually gone ahead and moved in together.

You’ve decided to skip the contact lenses more and more often and just put on your funky glasses — they feel so much better. You gain 5 pounds and don’t sweat it — you’ll get back to the gym one of these days. As for him, he’s hitting the bathroom with the door wide open.

Temptingly easy to commit, such small insidious acts can lead to a big problem: an overdose of familiarity. These are the little, (or sometimes not so little) behaviors you can so easily drift into that together have the potential to kill off a relationship’s magnetism, mystery, and sex appeal.

“Keeping the spark alive is nearly impossible after a certain amount of time,” says psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, host of his own nationally syndicated TV show. Dr. Ablow has counseled both individuals and couples for more than 20 years, witnessing first hand how familiarity can breed, if not contempt, then certainly a loss of excitement by partners who assume that intimacy must mean letting it all hang out. But why sacrifice the erotic side of your relationship if you don’t have to?

Here, Dr. Ablow shares his wisdom on how to avoid committing those too-comfortable crimes. “These things are not musts,” Dr. Ablow emphasizes. “You can blow them all off, commit each sin, and be loved anyhow. You just may not end up in bed as much.” Who wants that?

What smart girlfriends never do

1. Giving gifts his mom would buy. Ever notice how guys don’t take it on themselves to surprise you with your favorite deodorant? Yet many women seem to glory in presenting their lover with a three-pack of boxer shorts or a toothbrush. You may think it shows how close you are and that you’re thinking of him, but you also risk morphing from lover into mother. (Ewww!) Since everyone can shop for him- (or her) self, confine gift giving to objects that speak of romance or are at least unique to your man.

2. Flossing together. Do you really want to watch your dream lover picking the night’s meal from between his teeth? Worse, do you want him to see you do it? How about witnessing you wax the 5 o’clock shadow beneath the pert little nose he loves to kiss? Just close the bathroom door and maintain as much mystery as possible. Let him see you at your best. Don’t even think of doing anything on the toilet in his presence — a sin that men are far more likely to commit. (You should, by the way, nicely encourage him not to. The sins of intimacy work both ways.)

3. Drifting into a sex rut. It’s a classic scenario. You’ve discovered what works for each of you in bed, so you cut to the chase and do only that. “Do not believe that just because you’re sexual with your partner, you know exactly what that man wants in bed,” warns Dr. Ablow. “If it becomes obvious that you’re going to be in his life for some time, he may become nervous about telling you what really turns him on.” He doesn’t want to risk rejection. Often, men who cheat on their girlfriends end up having one kind of sex at home, and another, more adventurous kind of sex with their other women.

4. Baring all, all the time. In an old Seinfeld episode, Jerry grumbles that his new girlfriend spends too much time in the nude. That seems like a strange complaint for a guy to make, but think about it. Few of us truly want to see a naked person squat to pick a sock up off the floor … or, for that matter, experience a coughing fit, strain while opening a pickle jar, or fix a bicycle.
Overexposure may anesthetize your man to how provocative your nude form is. So make an effort to keep the vision of your unclothed body special. “I’d go as far as to say that nudity should be connected only to sex,” says Dr. Ablow.

5. Flaunting your flaws. Your well past formal dating. His razor is at your place. His dog sleeps over too. This is a critical time, according to Dr. Ablow, when couples are at risk of getting sick of each other. “We want to be accepted by our longtime lovers as completely as we are by our own families,” he explains. So you think, what difference does it make if I tell him about my dental problems? The guy loves me. Well, maybe he does. But would you talk about the horrible black cavity you need fixed on the first date? How much does your man need to know about it seven months in?

Of course, no one’s perfect, but there’s no positive side to sharing what you consider your body’s imperfections with your guy. Take the maddening whine of many women: “I’m fat!” Keep complaining that you’re trying to lose 10 pounds and he may think, Jeez, the woman has no willpower or Is it just going to get worse?

You’re focusing his attention on an imperfection he may not have noticed or didn’t consider a problem in the first place. Self-confidence is sexy. Either accept yourself confidently or diet quietly. Bottom line regarding flaws: Either fix ‘em or forget ‘em.

6. Dressing down, down, down. “Once you’re a couple, it’s easy to wander around the house wearing sweats and an old tee shirt, or some comfy stuff you picked up at the second hand store,” says Dr. Ablow. We want to believe we’re so well loved it doesn’t matter, he explains. The problem is you can be very well loved and yet not remain sexually attractive to your partner. “It ruins the allure, and makes the bedroom a less magical place.”

7. Spending every night together. The deadliest sin of all, Dr. Ablow believes, is crowding one another. Even if neither of you feels a pressing need to get away, too much togetherness is a surefire way to cool passion. “A woman may have to insist that her man take some individual time, because not all men know how,” says Dr. Ablow. “If he gloms onto you, every so often tell him ‘This weekend I’m unavailable.’”

Whether you keep your own apartments or have moved in together, reserve at least one night a week to go out with your friends. Taking separate vacations is another fun way to add an air of mystery, explains Dr. Ablow, ” because you don’t know the other person’s every move.” Hey, it’s also a great opportunity for phone sex.

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