Spicing up your sex life at the holidays
Kim Carney / MSNBC.com
By msnbc.com contributor
msnbc.com contributor
updated 12/21/2006 7:49:54 PM ET 2006-12-22T00:49:54

Any advice for spicing up your love life at the holidays? What kind of a gift do you buy for a "sex buddy"? Sexploration answers your queries. Have an intimate question? To e-mail us, click here .

Q: My husband and I have a very predictable — boring — sex life. The holidays seem like a good time to try to spice things up. What do you suggest?

A: You mean spicier than the nutmeg in your eggnog? The cinnamon in your Christmas cookies? The onion in your Hanukkah latkes? That’s the kind of spice we at Sexploration think of during the holidays, but maybe there’s something to be said for the sex kind, too.

Last year, I suggested a raft of sexy gifts. You could check those out , but when I asked British sex psychologist Petra Boynton about this, she pointed out that while sex-related gifts can indeed spice up your sex life “they may not work if the relationship isn’t OK or if you’re in the midst of Christmas rows.”

And that’s an excellent point. The holidays are fraught. You don’t mention if you have extended family, kids at home or other circumstances, but as we repeat so often here at Sexploration, sex life has an awful lot to do with, well, life. I mean, the Whos in Whoville and the Grinch might realize Christmas doesn’t come from a store, but until the rest of us catch on the holidays will have stress mixed with joy. Trying to stack a major upgrade in your sex life on top of all that could add even more pressure to perform.

But since you asked, let me make some suggestions. Sex toys can be fun, but this year, how about taking a stroll in the streets (preferably in a dusting of snow if you can find it) by yourselves holding hands? Do some window shopping and watch everybody else hustle around. Try stopping for a little toddy.

Talk. Talk about your kids if you’ve got ’em, and how proud you are of them even though they drive you crazy, and think about everything you and your husband have been through together, and give him a kiss for no good reason. Talk about the year gone by and how you are both still around and how wonderful that is.

Dress up and go someplace nice for dinner or to the theater. Lay in his arms looking at the tree and the lights. Watch “Miracle on 34th Street” (the black and white version, not the colorized). Play with the kids’ new Wii late on Christmas Eve while they’re sleeping.

You get the idea, right?

Relax. Reflect. Do stuff together. Recall why you wanted to have sex with him in the first place (besides that!), and help him remember why he wanted to have sex with you.

Q: I’ve had the same [sex] buddy for over a year. We’re good friends also. He’s a stylish guy with everything and this year we’re exchanging Christmas gifts. What do I get him?

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A: Nothing romantic! Seriously, this whole sex buddy thing is tough to navigate without crossing the border into the Land of Love. So don’t add romantic gift giving at Christmas to the equation. No man jewelry, no cologne, no silk boxers, no clothes of any kind.

You need something either just about sex because that’s the nature of your relationship, or neutral.

How about any gee-whiz-but-utterly-unnecessary device from Sharper Image? A GPS for his car? Think of it: Wasteful tech gadgets alone give you dozens of options for meaningless-yet-obligatory gift giving.

And if he’s not a gadget guy, try a book that would interest him, or a CD or DVD (but not, say, “The English Patient” — more like the “The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”). Then there’s sports. Tickets to an NBA game?

Food? A box of Omaha steaks? A cheese log …

Brian Alexander is a California-based writer who covers sex, relationships and health. Alexander, also a Glamour contributing editor, is traveling around the country to find out how Americans get sexual satisfaction for the MSNBC.com special report "America Unzipped" and in an upcoming book for Harmony, an imprint of Crown Publishing.

Sexploration appears every other Thursday.

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