Want to take things between the sheets to the next level? Get ready to embark on one week of extended foreplay that will banish bedroom boredom. You’ll feel more sensual all over, and you’ll discover hot spots you never knew you had.
Day One: Clear the Deck
Grab a pen and a journal-you're going to start a sex diary. But there's a hidden challenge in this adventure: At first you need to use your diary to write about any negative sexual experiences you've had. "You have to let go of disappointments, hurts, shame and fears about sex so they don't eat away at your future happiness," explains Patti Britton, Ph.D., author of The Art of Sex Coaching: Expanding Your Practice (W.W. Norton). Change the way you think about any bad experiences by writing positive affirmations in your diary, such as, "I forgive myself for the time I got an STD."
Bedroom Bonus: Freeing yourself. "You're healing the past first so you can set a course for a positive future," says Britton. You'll also see how any bad experiences have put a hex on your enjoyment of sex now.
Day Two: Remember Magic Moments
Once we release the things that hurt us, we can plug in to the things that turn us on. Close your eyes and think back to the last kiss that took your breath away, your steamiest night, your best orgasm. Welcome to your next three diary entries. Feel free to include romantic book passages, take notes on leg-crossing movie scenes, or even pen the lyrics to steamy songs you like listening to over and over again. Just be sure to jot down exactly what it was about those moments that drove your body wild. Was it the scent of your man's cologne? The firmness of his grip? Write it down so you can repeat it.
Bedroom Bonus: Tapping into pleasure. You're connecting with what gets you hot so you know how to push your own buttons-and can show others too.
Day Three: Rock Your Body
In the morning, pop Mtume's "Juicy Fruit" into your CD player and go for a jog. Try a new yoga class. Or rent an aerobic striptease workout DVD to burn some calories. Then in the afternoon, get your body silky smooth. Have your nails done, or stop by a spa for a body wrap, a facial or even a Brazilian wax. "It makes you feel sleek and sexy," swears Debbie Ethridge, owner of Washington, D.C.'s Fusion Day Spa, where Brazilians are a client favorite.
Bedroom Bonus: Increasing your stamina and sensual feelings.
Day Four: Dress the Part
We dress sexy not just to please someone else but also to feel more erotic in our own skin. So ditch the stockings and put on the fishnets you never thought you'd wear to the office. Give the cotton T-shirt you wear to bed a rest and put on a baby-doll cami. You might also want to undress the part and slide between the covers naked, letting the folds of fabric caress your bare skin.
Bedroom Bonus: Getting in the mood. "I'm a proponent of dressing up as though you're a sex siren, just to see what it feels like," says Britton. You may discover a look that turns you (and someone else) on.
Day Five: Read Some Erotica
Crawl into bed and stay up late reading steamy stories to yourself or a partner. Not sure where to start? Browse your bookstore's erotica section, or look online for titles like Brown Sugar anthologies (Washington Square Press), Punany Poet books (punanypoets.com) or Best Black Women's Erotica (Cleis Press).
Bedroom Bonus: Discovering new turns. "Your brain is your major sex organ," explains Suzanne Rapley, Ph.D., a Santa Barbara, California, sex therapist. "As we read, our bodies start responding to the images conjured up in our brain, and all sorts of surprising sensations are the result."
Day Six: Talk the Talk
After you get out of the bathtub today, spend more time than you usually would putting on lotion. Take a long, soft look at yourself in the mirror-naked-and shower yourself with self-affirmations. Don't be bashful. Touch every spot from your face to your breasts to your thighs and think: I am lovable, I am sensual, I am lush. And don't just think it. Believe it.
Bedroom Bonus: Building confidence. "We're constantly telling ourselves we're not sexy enough, and that keeps us from feeling confident and connected during sex," says Rapley. Self-affirmation can turn all that around.
Day Seven: Pick One Toy
Finding the right sex toy can help unlock the mystery of what your body craves in bed. For instance, do you love that popular vibrator called the Rabbit? That might mean you need more clitoral stimulation during sex. Shop discreetly online, or for fun, visit a local sex-toy shop solo or with a partner.
Bedroom Bonus: Locating your heat zones. It's impossible to tell a lover how to please you if you don't know how to please yourself.
NOW Get It On!
...if you haven't already. Though our sexuality is honed over a lifetime, by opening up to new ways of thinking about sex over the past week, you've fast-tracked yourself to one hot night of delight. Enjoy!