CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: You have to feel desire to get aroused.
BOLD NEW THINKING: You don’t need to be in the mood to get excited.
Maybe this rings a bell: Your guy wants some action and you’re stuck in deadma mode. Hey, it happens. But before you blow him off because you’re not into it, consider this: New research proves that your body can be turned on even during those moments when your mind is turned off. That’s because desire and arousal are two separate animals. Desire occurs in the mind (i.e., sexual thoughts), while arousal unfolds in the body (i.e., feeling hot and lubricating). True, desire usually leads to arousal, but our bodies don’t need desire to get to that warm, tingly place. In fact, researchers at the University of Amsterdam have discovered that a woman’s central motor system lights up instantly with physical stimulation, before her mind begins to process it (or spoil the fun).
What to do when he’s feeling hot and you aren’t: Have him zone in on your physical hot buttons, says Sari Locker, PhD, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Amazing Sex. “Focus on your body, and give in to the feel of his lips against your neck or the way his hand is brushing up against your back.” And feel free to sharpen your body’s sexual antenna—it’s searching for stimuli 24/7. Take time to really taste the way that ice cream melts on your tongue or smell how your guy’s cologne lingers after he’s left your place in the a.m. The more you indulge your physical senses, the more you’ll be primed for sex later on—regardless of what kind of mental mood you’re in.
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: Women take forever to get turned on.
BOLD NEW THINKING: We don’t necessarily need a long preamble to get going.
Somewhere along the way, it became commonly accepted knowledge that women require hours of foreplay to get primed for sex. Now, we’re all for tons of kissing and oral, but it’s not always necessary. A new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine claims that both men and women begin showing signs of arousal within 30 seconds. What’s more, there was little difference in how long it took women and men to reach peak sexual arousal (meaning maximum genital temperature for both sexes). Researchers at McGill University in Canada had young men and women watch porn. Meanwhile, in a hidden area, scientists controlled thermal imaging sensors to measure heat changes in their genitals. According to Tuuli Kukkonen, one of the study’s authors, men reached peak arousal in 11 minutes, while women clocked in at 12 minutes. Of course, this flies in the face of old arguments that claim women reach the brink in about 20 minutes. So what gives? As it turns out, participants in this study watched images through special goggles to minimize their field of vision so they were less likely to be interrupted by what was happening on the sidelines of the room.
The lesson here: When you want to get revved up ASAP, you have to nix all the distractions. “Women are more likely to multitask, and they tend to get rattled by a ringing phone or by overthinking what they have to do the next morning,” says Berman. The problem? “It takes them out of the moment because they want to attend to all that’s going on.” So whatever you do, power down the TV, and carve out time strictly for you and him to get it on.