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We're a family-friendly site, so don't expect any etchings from the Kama Sutra here. Committed couples of all ages and various parings, however, can benefit from these essential secrets to the hottest sex.

Breathe together

Obviously, if one you had the garlic loaf special for lunch,then a modicum of deodorant attention makes this principle work better for your lovemaking. But it's a fundamental of enjoyable sexual relationships that the partners breathe in sync.

Typically one gender reacts to this advice with "Yes, yes, yes!" and the other with "You gotta' be kidding me," but here's how it works:

Try tandem breathing with your partner after you have disrobed but before you get into any heavy physical contact. Lie next to each other. Look at each other. Be sure you can hear, see, and feel how your partner is breathing.

Typically, sex experts advise something on the lines of "Gaze in your partner's eyes. Forget the boundaries between your bodies. Feel as one." However, what makes the difference in sexual performance, the ability to achieve simultaneous and longer orgasms, for instance, is physical.

It helps to exhale longer than you inhale. Probably you won't want to turn your sex session into an exercise session, but ideally you should breathe in to a count of five, 1-2-3-4-5, and breathe out to a count of eight, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. As long as the exhalations take longer than the inhalations, however, your circulatory systems will direct oxygen and nourishment. Your hearts will physically beat stronger, but not faster, and there will be greater circulation to the genitals.

Just because you are taking advantage of biology, of course, doesn't mean you can't be romantic. After you have spent some time breathing in unison, try circling breaths. Sitting on the bed face to face, lap to lap, breathe in while your partner breathes out. Breathe out while your partner breaths in. Let your bodies relax while your genitals are energized.

Don't work at it. Let it happen naturally. You will get better and better results with practice. Experts often advise couples to think of breathing energy into their erogenous zones. That's entirely unnecessary. You'll already be aware of your erogenous zones.

And if doing a breathing exercise with your partner in the nude makes one or both of you giggly at some point, that's OK. Just stop the breathing exercise and proceed to doing what comes naturally.

The feast of love

Throughout human history men and women have sought out aphrodisiac foods. The most common comestible eaten to stimulate thoughts--and abilities--for romance in modern times is chocolate.

The Aztec emperor Montezuma ate enormous amounts of chocolate to fuel his romantic trysts, up to 50 cups a day (which begs the question of his weight, which is not recorded to history). Casanova, the legendary lover, preferred chocolate to champagne. The wife of the Marquis de Sade sent him chocolate in prison. But is there a scientific explanation of why chocolate might fuel sexual desire?

On a biological level, chocolate is a good source of tryptophan, the amino acid the brain needs to make the feel-good chemical serotonin. In men, serotonin is essential to the neurological processes that lead to ejaculation. In women, serotonin shortages can cause anorgasmia, the inability to achieve an orgasm. The sugar added to chocolate candies makes it easier for the bloodstream to deliver the tryptophan to the brain.

Lovers can get the same benefit to brain chemistry, however, from a meal of steak or oysters or even tofu, or from a few hours in the sun. There is nothing that chocolate can do for your love life that many other foods cannot--unless you happen to love chocolate, or you are a connoisseur of chocolate. Then the emotional effects of receiving a gift of chocolate can indeed become the fuel for great sex.

Commonly recommended "aphrodisiac" foods

•    Avocados. The Aztecs referred to this fruit as, well, "testicles." The fatty acids in avocados are anti-inflammatory and good for your circulation, but unless you have a pleasant mental association involving avocados, eating them before lovemaking is not likely to have much of an effect.
•    Almonds are a great source of the essential mineral zinc, which is associated with maintenance of the libido and sexual desire. The effects of the mineral, however, take days or weeks.
•    Arugula, the salad green, has been used as stimulant to sexual intercourse for nearly 2,000 years. It works because of what it stops, not what it starts. When you eat arugula, radicchio, or bitter salad greens, the bitter taste triggers a reflex that stimulates secretion of stomach acid. That's not a good thing if you have gastroesophageal disease, but it's a great thing if you need for your digestive processes not to interfere with making love.
•    Strawberries dipped in chocolate are typically a gift of men to women, but it's the men who turned on--by the color. Seeing the color red stimulates sexual desire in men.
•    Oysters are the best known aphrodisiac. It is not their nutritional content but rather their slippery, slimy texture and salty odor that put couples in the mood for lovemaking. First-time lovers are unlikely to be stimulated by oysters.

Letting lightning strike twice

Many men don't realize that orgasm is possible without ejaculation--and that stopping intercourse short of ejaculation can power an even more intense orgasm for both partners in a longer sex session.

It's not necessary for couples to learn "pranic breathing," to do "energy healing," or to master yoga or martial arts, as some experts advise, just to make sexual intercourse last longer. The most important secret for letting lightning strike twice is to make sure you have plenty of time undisturbed--which in itself may be a major undertaking--and you and your partner both want to make the experience go on as long as possible.

Men in heterosexual relationships need to get rid of the "Wham, bam, thank you ma'am" mentality that interferes with delicate lovemaking that can "take a break" before climax. Since the average man only lasts about two minutes during lovemaking, this means that a more slower, less deliberate approach may be required during the first part of the session. Men may be concerned about losing their erections if they interrupt intercourse, and, the fact is, this can happen. The maximum amount of pleasure, however, is obtained by couples who are aware of and can accept the reality that it can take a man, even a man with better than usual sexual stamina, up to 20 minutes to "start" again.

Women in heterosexual relationships benefit from being open to experiences of orgasm that not just genital--and to communicate to their male partners what they want to feel, how they want to feel it, and what he can do to turn them on. The boudoir is not the place to need to call the psychic hotline. Both partners benefit when they can share their desires in terms of wants, not needs.

  • Salonia A, Fabbri F, Zanni G, Scavini M, Fantini GV, Briganti A, Naspro R, Parazzini F, Gori E, Rigatti P, Montorsi F. Chocolate and women's sexual health: An intriguing correlation. J Sex Med. 2006 May,3(3):476-82.
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