Ever seen a book called Porn for Women? The cover sports a smiling man performing an act that undoubtedly makes many women sigh with pleasure: He’s vacuuming the living room. Inside the pages, another man does laundry, promising to go grocery shopping with the kids “so you can relax.”
It’s definitely a clever gimmick. But the book hits on what women — and the experts — have known for years: If you want to get lucky, you need to get your hands on a bottle of Windex. The best foreplay may, in fact, be a clean kitchen. And all this week at Good in Bed, we’re talking about foreplay techniques that really work.
The concept of “choreplay”— that women are more likely to want to have sex when their male partner helps out around the house — is a hot topic in research circles. One recent study from the University of Western Ontario found that wives are happier when their husbands pitch in with housework. Another report from researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago even suggests men who help clean, take care of their kids, and do other domestic chores may see the benefits of their labor pay off in the bedroom.
When you think about it, these “mop-and-glow” findings make a lot of sense. Researchers in the Netherlands have found that the key to getting a woman turned on and to the heights of orgasmic bliss is a deep sense of relaxation and a lack of anxiety. They scanned the brains of 13 women and 11 men while they were manually stimulated to orgasm by their partners. The scans showed that, for women, the parts of the brain responsible for processing fear, anxiety and emotion slowed down the more aroused they became, producing a trancelike state at orgasm. Men showed far less change in these areas of the brain.
Of course, it’s tough for a woman to chill out when she comes home from one job, only to be burdened by a “second shift” of cleaning, cooking, and chaos. In that scenario, sex is just one more task on her to-do list. The goal: To move sex to the top of that list by helping her cross off some of the less scintillating items. Men aren’t mind readers, but most of us are aware enough to notice when the sink is full of dirty dishes or the garbage is overflowing. Remember, once guys start carrying their weight around the house, they’re apt to find that women have more energy inside the bedroom. There’s no motivation like sex!
Ian Kerner is a sex therapist and NY Times best-selling author of numerous books including She Comes First and Love in the Time of Colic. He is the founder of GoodinBed.com. Ian lives with his wife and two sons in New York City.