Seven secrets to a sizzling sex life

The stresses of modern life can turn sex into another chore to be done. If you feel that you could do the whole thing in your sleep because it's all so familiar, Pamela Allardice has seven ways to spice things up.
1. Talk to each other.
Going off sex is often triggered by another issue in the relationship. Talking openly about problems stops you from bottling up resentments, which evidence themselves in other ways. Blocking the lines of communication creates confusion and distance.
2. Time it right.
Don't have sex when you're tired or sick or to make the other person happy; all these will backfire on you. Human sexuality is affected by food, stress and even the weather. Keep a diary of when you feel most and least sexy. Interestingly, our body clocks are more primed for sex first thing in the morning — a good reason for setting the alarm a little earlier.
3. Be brave.
Say what you want. Don't let your relationship fail because you find it difficult to express your desire. Ask yourself, "what would I like to do next in my sex life?" It could be telling your partner about your sexual fantasies, writing erotica, logging onto a tantric website together or visiting a sex shop. And before you think, "decent people don't do that sort of thing", stop. They do. Decent people can and do take a healthy interest in sex and are committed to developing intimacy with their partners.
4. Take it slowly.
In our race to get everything done, there's a temptation to skip the kissing and cuddling of foreplay. Don't just kiss on the lips either: kiss your partner's ears, wrists, thumbs, shoulders, ankles and other nifty new pleasure spots. Turn the lights down or use only a soft lamp. Bright lights are a big turnoff.
5. Get fit for sex.
Studies repeatedly show that fitness levels, body confidence and having great sex are all linked. As well as committing to an overall fitness program, work on strengthening your pelvic floor muscles (located around the vaginal area and used to control the flow of urine). All together now, squeeeeze!
6. Take a chance on dance.
You can't beat dancing for having fun together and becoming acutely aware of each other's bodies. Choose a class like Latin American salsa or lambada, which is all in the hips and very sexy. Even if he won't come dancing with you, you can sign up for belly-dancing classes and get in touch with your inner sex goddess.
7. Try ginseng.
Doctors of traditional Chinese medicine call ginseng "the root of life" and prescribe it to nourish qi, the body's vital life force. It is used to enhance libido and fertility in men and women. Look for a brand which lists the standardised ginsenosides (the active ingredients in ginseng) in the product on the label. Avoid ginseng if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant.

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