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Women: Rev Up Your Sex Drive

Has "not tonight, honey" turned into "not this week" or even "not this month"? It's a common refrain. The sex drive of both women and men tend to wane at various times, says Dr. Karen Stewart, a psychologist based in Santa Monica who specializes in sexual dysfunction and couples' issues. For women, the cause is often internal, such as not feeling desired or feeling unattractive; for men, it is often external forces such as overwork. But Stewart has suggestions that can get you back to your old self. Read on:

Exercise. Being active makes us feel good physically and psychologically, both of which are necessary for a healthy sex drive. If your aversion to sex has to do with your feeling unattractive or out of shape, exercise will help you work toward your physical goals so you are more comfortable with your body.
Relax. "Stress and anxiety are some of the leading causes of reduced sexual desire," says Stewart. Making time in your schedule for calming activities like doing yoga, meditating, reading or taking a walk can help ease tension, in turn reviving your interest in sex. There's a physiological bonus, too: When you're relaxed, blood can flow to skin and genitals, which helps with arousal.
Sleep. You may be exhausted from working, taking care of kids and keeping up a house, along with a million other responsibilities. Too little sleep can drain your libido fast, plus if you have a spare half hour, all you want to do is get some shut-eye, not make whoopee. Make it a priority to get seven to eight hours each night.
Get creative. Have you been having sex the same way, with the same partner, for years? We're not suggesting you step out on your sweetie, just that you spice it up a bit. Come up with something new together—a toy to try, a different position or whatever appeals. It might light your fire again.
Use your words. Communication is key for a satisfying and strong sex drive, especially for women. "When a woman is not happy with her relationship, she'll often bring those issues into bed," says Stewart. "Letting feelings fester inside can cause women to turn off their sexual desire for their partner." Maintaining a sound emotional connection can yield a steady libido and better sex, so share how you feel with your partner.
Inject some romance. Women tend to crave romance more than their male partners. Take it upon yourself to create the mood: Light some candles, run a bath or spritz on your favorite fragrance. "Women have reported feeling more sexual after doing something that gave them pleasure," says Stewart.
Cook together. For women who enjoy cooking and baking, having their partner join them—and take an interest in a pastime they enjoy—can make them feel more attracted to him. Adding certain spices may also kick-start your interest in sex: "Black pepper, garlic, cinnamon, onion, scallion, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper and horseradish have been linked to increasing sex drive," says Stewart.
Treat yourself. Manicures, pedicures, massages and even a new lipstick aren't superfluous—they're good for you. "Things that make a woman feel better about herself can lead to an increase in arousal," says Stewart. "Take a few minutes for yourself every day, even if it's a cup of tea. When you're not happy with yourself, you can experience a loss of sexual desire."
Have sex. Women tend to forget to make sex a priority. "Making time to reconnect intimately with your partner—a few minutes in the evening or a scheduled date night—is important to keeping your relationship in good working order," says Stewart. "A fulfilling sex life is an essential element in a well-balanced and healthy life."http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/womens-health/articles/2010/09/17/women-rev-up-your-sex-drive
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