Sex “My boyfriend wants more sex than I do.”
Self-confessed human dustbin, writer Lucy Sweet, puts conventional wisdom to the test.
… we were long distance, and now that we’re in the same city, he’d like it three times a day. I countered with once on weekdays and twice on weekends, but he seemed disappointed. Now I’m self-conscious that my sex drive is low and that we aren’t sexually compatible. What can I do?” – Lacey, 28
Never schedule sex
“Sex should be fun and spontaneous, and you can’t promise that you’re going to be in the mood when you’re just not. You could try sexting; you can have that foreplay all day, and then when you see each other, you’re excited and he’s excited and you can do all of the things you talked about. But don’t compromise on what you want. Sometimes when we’re trying to please a guy, we forget about ourselves. You can try to meet him halfway, but don’t do something you’re not into. It’s not worth it.” – Amber Rose, creator of the Amber Rose Slutwalk
Find a compromise
“You don’t sound sexually incompatible in the least! Sex twice a day on weekends is pretty close to three times a day. You’ve made a generous compromise and he can meet you in the middle (masturbating more frequently is one idea). But having a ‘ how many times a day’ rule isn’t the best approach to a healthy sex life. Rather try to allow it to happen with fewer expectations.” – Dr Kristen Mark, sex and relationships researcher
Know the cardinal relationship rule
“A partnership should never depend on the other person changing for you, and you shouldn’t feel obliged to have sex three times a day in order to maintain your shared bond. (And if anybody needs to give, it’s him – he’ll have a harder time finding what he’s looking for.) If you are not able to reach an agreeable compromise, all the communication and love in the world won’t change that. So you may need to move on.” – Evan Marc Katz, dating coach and author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Internet Dating (Ten Speed Press; R291)
Distinguish between reality and fantasy
“Sex three times a day sounds passionate, at least in theory, but it’s amusingly impractical. Ask how often your boyfriend really had sex in his past relationships; it will help you figure out whether he has a high sex drive or if this is just his fantasy. Either way, have sex when you want to. Women are socialised to see sex as a duty they perform for their partners, and who wants something that’s a job rather than fun? It’s important to remember that sex isn’t just about making a partner happy; it’s about making you happy, too.” – Rachel Hills, author of The Sex Myth: The Gap Between Our Fantasies and Reality (Simon & Schuster; R247)
do you snack without realising? Or guzzle down your food? I do, most days. But studies, including research from experimental psychologist Dr Charles Spence, show that simple mind tricks can help us eat more healthily. “Mindful eating is recognising the differences between physical hunger and ‘head hunger’,” adds dietician Laura Clark. But will these tricks stop us from raiding the fridge? I find out.
1 Conscious eating
The trick Turn off the TV and watch what you eat instead. Why Research shows we eat up to 25% more when not focusing on our food. “Eating with distraction or speed means we don’t allow the appetite centre in our brain to recognise that we’re eating,” explains Laura. My verdict I often wonder where entire bags of chips have gone while watching Netflix. So I turn it off while I snack and I’m soon rationing myself, eating less than a third of a bag before virtuously returning it to the kitchen.
2 Sensory eating
The trick Eat with all your senses – savouring smell, taste and texture. Why “Feeling your food as you add each ingredient, smelling it and tasting it, helps you appreciate it more,” says Alice Mackintosh, nutritional therapist and co-founder of nutritional supplement Equi London. My verdict This worked, Nigellastyle, while cooking. A sniff of lemon zest here, a nose in a pan there. But not so good when you’re plunging your nose into a tub of reduced-fat hummus. However, it does make you think harder about the quality of what you eat.
3 Complex eating
The trick Eat with your non-dominant hand or even with chopsticks. Why “The easier it is to ingest food, the more we consume, so the idea is to make it more difficult to eat so we slow down,” says Dr Spence. It allows the brain to receive messages – like feeling full – from the stomach. My verdict Have you ever eaten spaghetti with chopsticks? Joyless and, after a week, most of my clothes were stained. “There are better ways to create ‘pause points’,” says Laura. “Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls and have sips of water, and don’t load your next forkful until your mouth is empty.” This is much easier, and surprisingly, I enjoyed my food more.
4 Distraction eating
The trick Beat food cravings by checking emails or phoning your mom. Why “A sense of craving for food has very little to do with hunger,” says psychologist Dr Jane Ogden. “This generates a sense of ‘must-have’, but it doesn’t last and any form of distraction will break the association.” My verdict This is a good one, especially when in the presence of the office biscuit tin. Instead of giving in to my lunchtime Cheese Curls craving, I hit Instagram and within a few minutes, I’ve forgotten it.