Five Ways to Sizzle

Want to find out the hottest 5 ways to make your love life sizzle this year? If the hottest moment you've had in bed lately is the sharing of a nice cup of tea, it may be time to inject some variety. Here, a Relate couples counsellor, suggests 5 ways to help add some zing to your love life.

SizzleBe fully present

There may be a zillion and one things on your to-do list, but don't let thoughts of these, and everything else, take you away from the right now with your partner.

Sexual intimacy can be one of the most playful and pleasurable experiences in any relationship - so give yourself 100% permission to be fully present and enjoy it, without letting extraneous thoughts de-rail the moment.

Vary the menu

Avoid getting into a rut by regularly changing the menu and time zones of your lovemaking. We're not suggesting a trip to Fiju here, but the benefits of a flexible - and changing - menu. Options could include: 'Fast food' sex - a steamy quickie that's great for immediate gratification. 'Meat and two veg' - which lasts about half an hour and can deepen the intimacy in your relationship. Then there's the 'take-away' - when you plan to have sex in a place other than your bed. And for the most memorable of 'meals', carve out time for leisurely 'gourmet taster sex', when you agree to give each other an hour or more of pure sensual seduction and pleasure. This is the lingering kind of lovemaking which most couples yearn for, but rarely allow time for.

Pencil him in

Too often, love-making is relegated to the last thing at night, when you're both completely exhausted. So give your love life some priority for a change, even if it means arranging some child care for time alone. Part of the pleasure is in the preparations. So treat yourself to an earthy-scented Shunga massage oil or those new French knickers you fancy. Or get into the right frame of mind by reading an erotic story or two together, such as Five Minute Erotica by Carol Queen.

Go on a whine-free diet

Want to know one of the secrets for keeping your partner hopelessly and passionately in love with you? Quite simply, the key is to help them to feel good about themselves when they are around you. If your relationship has developed its fair share of whining, whinging and nagging, then what you are doing is helping your man to feel small, weak and less capable, and slowly strangling love. The remedy is to put your relationship on a whine-free diet. Cut out the criticisms, the jokey put-downs and sarcasm, and put positive messages in their place.

Prof John Gottman, a leading marriage researcher says happy, long-lasting marriages have five times as many good moments as negative ones in a day. Good moments are often simple, loving gestures - a kiss, hug, a compliment, or sending a loving (or sexy) text message.

So be kind, and generous to your partner. Tell him what you appreciate about him. The more your compliments are from the heart, the more power they'll have to deepen your connection and make your relationship feel healthy and alive.

Libido Alert

If all this talk of sex leaves you cold, and you'd really rather have that nice cuppa in bed, it could be time to figure out why and do something about it. A vanishing libido is the number one female sexual problem, for all sorts of reasons, from hormones to kids to the samey boredom after many years together, to lowered body confidence from the extra years and possibly extra pounds, and the biggest libido killer of all - those unsorted niggles, hurts and resentments which can easily turn you off the whole idea.

Desire has more to do with what is going on in your head than anywhere else. That's why it's crucial to get problems, be they tiny hiccups, or major hurdles, aired and resolved, either on your own, or with the help of a professional counsellor.