It’s been a while since since we’ve done a link round-up!

How it feels to undress in front of your spouse: goofy! But here are some tips for how to do a strip tease and three reasons its sexy to strip for your husband. If you’ve only got a few seconds, just flash him your boobs. And if he’s feeling down, offer to let him touch your breasts.

What’s on your sexual menu? — House favorites, appetizers, lighter fare, daily specials, and dessert.

Easy exercises for women on the go — Kegels, push-ups, and squats. Exercise improves sex in all sorts of ways.

A collection of recent sex studies — I’m throwing out my polyester.

I’d rather have an orgasm than fake one — perhaps surprisingly, husbands and wives both do it.

Do men like having their balls played with? — Uh, yes.

Your definition of gross changes when you’re aroused — You might need to try something while aroused rather than just talking about it. Challenging your own preferences can help you expand your limits and have more fun.

Sex socks — Winter is coming, so get your wife some warm socks to sleep in (and nothing else!).

Wives: when you’re making love, squeeze your butt — and all your pelvic muscles.

If you want to share a link, put it in the comments!

Here’s a fascinating study about using light therapy to increase the libido of men with low sex drives. Don’t worry, it’s not some hippy thing!

Exposure to bright light – similar to daylight – boosts levels of the male hormone testosterone and can triple sexual satisfaction, the research found.

“Before treatment, both groups averaged a sexual satisfaction score of around two out of 10, but after treatment the group exposed to the bright light was scoring sexual satisfaction scores of around 6.3 – a more than three-fold increase on the scale we used. In contrast, the control group only showed an average score of around 2.7 after treatment.”

While average blood levels of testosterone in the “control” group remained at around 2.3 nanograms per millilitre (ng/ml) before and after the study, those of the men receiving active light treatment rose from 2.1 ng/ml to 3.6 ng/ml.

“The increased levels of testosterone explain the greater reported sexual satisfaction,” said Prof Fagiolini. “In the northern hemisphere, the body’s testosterone production naturally declines from November through April, and then rises steadily through the spring and summer with a peak in October. You see the effect of this in reproductive rates, with the month of June showing the highest rate of conception. The use of the light box really mimics what nature does.”

The article doesn’t mention it, but testosterone is also essential for women’s libido. (Though, of course, at lower levels of the hormone than men require.)

And best of all, you don’t need a fancy “light box”! Just go outside and bare some skin to that giant ball of fire in the sky that God helpfully provided — for free! The study quoted above indicates that as little as 30 minutes per day in the sun will have an effect, so go get some exercise.

The results from this study on co-sleeping aren’t surprising in the least!

While some parents find co-sleeping helps to make nights with a baby more manageable, others find the constant caregiving and interrupted sleep to be exhausting.

Beth Day and her husband, of Seattle, slept in the same room with their son and found he started waking more and more frequently around 12 months. As soon as they moved him to his own room, he started sleeping through the night.

“Once I got my personal space back, my relationship with my kid and my husband improved immensely. I don’t think I realized how I had such a feeling of invaded personal space until it wasn’t any more,” Ms. Day said. Getting better sleep helped, too. With the fragmented nights of co-sleeping, “I was really irritable with my son and my husband, and didn’t have the energy to really play or interact” with her baby, she said.

Your master bedroom should be reserved for marital intimacy, which includes sex but so much more!

One of the most common questions about co-sleeping is how it impacts a couple’s sex life. Parents say that when a baby is sleeping in the same room, maintaining intimacy can require creativity.

“We don’t have sex in our bed anymore, but there are other places to have sex,” said Leah Nilson of Vancouver, British Columbia. She and her husband have co-slept with their 2-year-old son from birth. “It has not negatively impacted our relationship in the slightest. Parenting in general has, but bed-sharing is one of the more pleasant aspects of parenting.”

Yes, there are lots of places to have sex besides your bed, but be honest — if you remove your bed from the equation, the frequency of sex is going to go way down.

When you have a new baby it’s easy to become completely focused on that wonderful new life. Babies are awesome! But your marriage relationship should always be your top priority, and it’s hard to prioritize it when you have an infant sleeping in your bed.

Despite how much you love your baby, you need to give yourself and your spouse permission to have your own space. You need to put the kids to bed and make time for yourselves. Keeping Mom and Dad healthy is the best thing for baby, and protecting your marriage will pay dividends for years.

We already know that it’s common for a husband to underestimate his wife’s sex drive — women tend to be a lot more subtle than men, to such an extent that your wife herself might not even know when she’s aroused!

Men’s subjective ratings of arousal were in agreement with their body’s level of sexual arousal about 66 percent of the time, while women’s were in line only about 26 percent of the time.

“The general pattern that I have seen in my laboratory is that women experience a genital response but do not report feeling sexually aroused,” Chivers told LiveScience.

So how can a husband know when his wife is interested? Being direct and verbal can be effective, but can also risk “ruining the mood”. Women like to be romanced and wooed — even after years of marriage! — and “Hey, wanna go upstairs and *blank*?” may not make her tingle.

Every husband should be a student of his own wife: learn everything about her, especially her sexuality. Every person is different, but here are a few behavioral signs a husband can watch for that may indicate his wife is more interested in sex than is immediately obvious.

  • Physical touch. Casual touching is always an indicator of affection and openness. If your wife initiates touching then she’s definitely happy with your relationship and receptive to your overtures. Physical touch doesn’t mean that she definitely wants sex — she may just want to cuddle for comfort after a hard day at work. Touches from hands, fingers, and lips — as well as “accidentally” brushing against you — are likely to be greater indicators of sexual interest than are hugs and cuddles.
  • Eye contact is always a sign of intimacy, and longer is better. You should hold eye contact until she breaks away — it will signal your confidence and dominance. If she breaks eye contact with a submissive downward gaze and a smile, she’s practically naked.
  • Posture and attention. Body language says a lot. Look for open postures: face and shoulders straight at you, rather than with a shoulder towards you; arms and legs uncrossed; leaning towards you; shoulders back, breasts pushed forward; close proximity, inside personal space. Also watch for mirroring, which is generally a sign of rapport and intimacy.
  • Self-touching and grooming. Touching her hair, adjusting her clothes, playing with her jewelry, and other kinds of self-touching — especially around the mouth, face, and neck. Licking or biting her lip, or sucking on a straw or toothpick, is a strong sign.
  • Vulnerability shows a desire for intimacy. Signs include: revealing more skin; exposing her underarms, wrists, or neck; submissive positioning or postures.
  • Verbal cues. In addition to non-verbal indicators, your wife’s language can also indicate sexual interest: giggling; using your nickname; playful teasing; mismatched words and body language (e.g., laughing while disagreeing); complimenting you; soliciting compliments or approval; re-starting the conversation when you stop talking.

Husbands, when you learn to read your wife’s indicators of interest she’ll feel like you really understand her, like you’re reading her mind, like you’re in sync. She’ll feel good about your relationship, your intimacy will increase, and you’ll have more sex.

Wives, what do you think? It’s probably pretty easy to know when your husband is interested in sex… or is it? Husbands, do you have any tips to share? Leave a comment!

If you need yet another sciencey reason to have more sex consider this: sex releases oxytocin, and oxytocin helps keep you slim.

Forget eating salad and pounding on the treadmill – regular sex can help dieters keep slim.

On top of burning around 100 calories an hour, it also triggers the release of a hormone which may stop us overeating, new research suggests.

Oxytocin, dubbed the love or cuddle hormone, is released after sex to induce feelings of trust and affection, bonding couples together.

‘Oxytocin enhances prosocial and related behaviors. Increases in oxytocin tend to decrease appetite – especially the consumption of sweet carbohydrates,’ she said.

And that’s not all! Not only does your body produce its own oxytocin when you have sex, but wives also absorb oxytocin from their husbands’ semen — improving their health and mood.

Vaginal tissue is very absorptive. It’s richly endowed with blood and lymph vessels. Given vaginal absorptiveness and all the mood-elevating compounds in found in semen, Gallup, Burch, and SUNY colleague Steven Platek wondered if semen exposure might be associated with better mood and less depression. They surveyed 293 college women at SUNY Albany about intercourse with and without condoms, and then gave the women the Beck Depression Inventory, a standard test of mood. Compared with women who “always” or “usually” used condoms, those who “never” did, whose vaginas were exposed to semen, showed significantly better mood–fewer depressive symptoms, and less bouts of depression. In addition, compared to women who had no intercourse at all, the semen-exposed women showed more elevated mood and less depression.

So next time you’re feeling down or craving something sweet, grab your spouse instead of a treat!

We’ve written about shaving for husbands and wives before, and the practice is increasingly seen as “the new normal”, especially for women. However, despite what most women seem to think, the benefits are primarily sexual, not hygienic.

A new study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology on Wednesday confirmed just how widespread the practice is. Sixty-two percent of a nationally representative sample of 3,316 women said they opted for complete removal of their pubic hair; 84 percent reported some grooming.

But while previous research showed that women groom to facilitate sexual activity, this survey found the overwhelming majority said they did so for hygiene.

That perception troubled researchers. “Many women think they are dirty and unclean if they haven’t groomed,” said Dr. Tami S. Rowen, an obstetrician-gynecologist and the lead author of the study.

Of course, what a person means by hygiene may not line up with the medical definition. Hair “down there” really gets in the way of oral sex — it’s distracting, especially when it tickles your nose or gets stuck in your teeth.

Your mileage may vary, but we enjoy the intense, sensual smoothness of bare skin.

A new study presents data suggesting that husbands underestimate their wives’ sexual desire.

In 3 dyadic studies, we provide evidence that men in established romantic relationships err in the direction of the opposite bias and underperceive their romantic partner’s sexual desire. We also demonstrate that this underperception bias is functional (particularly for men) in that it is associated with their partner feeling more satisfied and committed to the relationship. In addition, people are particularly likely to underperceive their partner’s desire on days when they are motivated to avoid sexual rejection, and men’s underperception bias is, in part, accounted for by men’s higher general levels of sexual desire than women.

Translation: it’s true that a wife often has a lower sex drive than her husband, however, the husband still frequently underestimates his wife’s sexual interest because he doesn’t enjoy having a sexual advance rejected.

XX Factor puts it this way:

The researchers found that, on a regular basis, men significantly underperceived the degree of their female partners’ sexual desire, while women consistently made accurate judgments about how much their male partners wanted sex. Among diary-keeping couples, on days when men underestimated their female partners’ libido, the women showed higher levels of relationship satisfaction.

Basically, when a wife has high relationship satisfaction she wants more sex — but apparently husbands aren’t good at noticing when their wives have high satisfaction. Here are some ideas:

  • Wife: make sure your husband knows when you’re happy with the state of your relationship! He probably already knows when you aren’t happy, but tell him when you are.
  • Husband: when your wife expresses affection and happiness with you, consider that an opportunity to initiate.

This doesn’t seem complicated, but apparently a lot of us are missing the obvious.

Several recent studies show that up to 30% of men admit to faking an orgasm with their current partner. The potential for a woman to “fake it” is a common trope, but it’s often ignored that men can fake it, too.

Previous studies have shown that men’s rationales for feigning orgasm are not so different from the reasons why women play pretend in bed. Both have reported that they fake because they’re intoxicated, to arouse their partner, and to end sex sooner; the most common reason among both genders is preserving partners’ feelings. This new survey indicates that men who pretend to orgasm because they want to avoid having a talk about their sexual needs are less likely to be satisfied in their relationship and in bed. The study’s authors say these men “might be contributing to [their] own low desire and satisfaction by reinforcing unsatisfying sexual activity by feigning orgasm rather than communicating [their] sexual needs and desires.”

But the root cause of this problem—faked orgasms as sub-ins for honest conversations about sexual desires—lie in gender norms that compel men to strive for unrealistic benchmarks of sexual performance. “The image is that men are always up for sex, which makes you feel under pressure to perform even when you don’t want to,” Harvard urologist Abraham Morgentaler said of men’s reasons for faking.

Those same improbable expectations have given rise to women’s pretend orgasms, too. The authors of a 2010 study that found up to 80 percent of women faked orgasms wrote that women often do so “because their men are so goal-directed they won’t stop until a woman climaxes.” Our social construction of sexual pleasure has pegged men’s orgasms as simple—inevitable, even—and women’s orgasms as complicated reflections of their male partner’s sexual abilities. The authors of the new Canadian survey write that these reductive ideals may encourage men to feign orgasm to “appear normal” and women to fake it so their partners’ egos don’t crumble.

As I bolded above, Morgentaler is right: faked orgasms are a poor substitute for honest conversation. For both husbands and wives, it’s important to be honest about our needs and desires. We’ve written a lot here about the importance of sexual enthusiasm and responsiveness, so I suppose it’s important to reiterate the importance of genuine vulnerability.

No matter how great your sex life is with your spouse, not every sexual encounter will go perfectly. Our bodies aren’t machines: sometimes the stars don’t quite align for orgasm, even for men. Don’t be ashamed, be honest. Sometimes there’s some circumstance about the situation that can be fixed or avoided in the future, but sometimes there’s no real explanation — let it go. Try again later!

If your sex life with your spouse is generally good but you have a few misfires, don’t sweat it, that’s normal. If the misfires and frustration begin to overwhelm the successful encounters, then consider talking to your doctor or a Christian counselor who has experience dealing with sexual issues. In either case, honesty is the best policy. Faking an orgasm might spare you and your spouse some immediate embarrassment, but it won’t help in the long run.

Share your thoughts in the comments!

A new study says that maintaining an active sex life is good for the health of your brain.

Older guys who get laid regularly have better “brain health” and are less likely to lose memory, according to the Coventry University study.

Men ages 50 to 89 with active sex lives scored 23 percent higher on cognitive word tests and 3 percent higher on numbers puzzles, according to the researchers, who quizzed 6,800 people across England.

Women who had more sex scored better on the word test but not the numbers test.

The improvement for men on the numbers test was pretty small (only 3%) so that result is questionable. It’s safe to say that more sex is good for the brains of both men and women (though correlation does not equal causation). So, if you want to protect your brain, maintain your ability to recall lists of words, and boost your immune system, I recommend that you have frequent sex.

Here’s an interesting study that looked at the most comfortable sexual positions for people with back pain. The most common advice that physicians give is for couples to use the spooning position to avoid back pain, but that seems to be wrong.

“I’m assuming because people lay on their side, someone thought the spine would be supported and this was good for people, but it turned out not to be true,” [Professor Stuart McGill, professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo, Ontario] says.

For men with that particular back pain trigger, the study suggested ‘doggy-style’ sex was far less likely to aggravate the back problem.

In general, the researchers found that the person on top—whether male or female—is most responsible for motion.

For individuals with back pain triggered by movement, the researchers suggested there was no position that would avoid pain, and advised instead that they should try to move more using their hips than their back.

“The more the hinging takes place at their hip, the less the hinging takes place in their spine, the better off [their back is],” McGill says.

Basically, the person with the back pain should be in the top/active position, so that they can control the movement and avoid painful or aggravating motions. Check out our post about doggy style for some ideas!

The study also had some observations about orgasm strength. It’s not your imagination, some orgasms are stronger than others.

Researchers were also able to measure the impact of orgasm on the body, which yielded some surprises.

“I had no idea of the range; how it’s basically a non-event in some people, through to really substantial muscle contraction in others, and you could see that if they were out of position, they would hurt themselves,” says McGill.

Here’s to a pain-free, sexually adventurous new year with your spouse! If you’ve got any tips for avoiding back pain during or after sex, please leave a comment.