Are You Ruining Your Sex Life?

Written by Dr. Marty Klein

A delicious meal with a bottle of wine may sound romantic, but it could be choking your sex life. Columnist Marty Klein, Ph.D., identifies the most common sex squelchers.

Instead of thinking about how to improve sex, let's talk about how to ruin it.

Sex killers undermine desire, arousal and satisfaction. We sometimes invite them around without knowing it; let's look at some common ones.

Talk with your mate about what prevents you from getting into a sexy mood


What can you focus on when unwanted thoughts intrude on a sexual experience?


What could your partner do more of to help you feel sexy?

Food: The traditional big romantic meal (complete with dessert) may feel luxurious, give you a chance to dress up and show you care. But it also slows your metabolism, diverts your energy and can make you sleepy. As food writer Gael Greene once said, "You can have your orgasm at the table or in bed, but not both."

Alcohol: Drinking may look and feel sexy, but after just one glass, it simply isn't. Alcohol depresses our reflexes, including erection, lubrication and orgasm. It reduces our control over our body; decreases our ability to feel, smell and taste; and makes it harder to sense our partner's emotional states.

Bad breath or dirty hands: Our hands and mouth are what we use to approach and connect with our partner. When they aren't fresh and appealing, we convey a lack of respect for him/her, eroticism and ourselves. We make it harder for both ourselves and our partner to feel like sex is a special adventure.

TV: TV is a black hole, absorbing our time and attention, giving back nothing. Ever notice that people on TV are never shown watching TV? We'd be bored watching them! Millions of people watch TV instead of making love, especially at night. Unplug the set so you have to make a conscious decision when you feel like watching. You'll cuddle more, talk more and maybe even make love more.

Self-criticism: Disliking your body, criticizing your sexual technique, doubting your partner's affection and thinking you don't deserve better anyway is extremely unattractive. When your partner says he/she likes your body and you point out all its flaws, you're insulting his/her taste and character.

There are many more sex killers on the loose. Talk with your partner about the ones roaming your house, and see if you can get rid of a few. When that frees up some of your energy, sex will probably get better and you may have more energy for other projects, too.

Marty Klein, Ph.D., is a licensed marriage counselor and sex therapist in Palo Alto, Calif. He has written for national magazines and appeared on many TV shows, including Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael and Jenny Jones. You can read more about his books, tapes and appearances on his Web site,

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