Love  &  Sex

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    When it comes to (cough, cough) intimate lubrication, I think we all want to be careful about whatever we're using. After all, this is a substance we're using with our most delicate parts. Of course, most of us create our own natural lubrication -- more or less. But sometimes it falls in the "less" category and you need some reinforcement. There's plenty of slick substances out there. But what if you want to avoid petroleum-based products?

    No worries -- there's a growing number of more "natural" intimate lubrication options, whether that's water-based or homemade lubes. Nothing is as natural as what you produce, but these are the next best thing.

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    Technology has, in many ways, improved our love lives beyond our wildest imaginings. There are vibrators that plug into USB ports that memorize sequences and the way you like it. There is vibrating underwear that your lover can manipulate from afar. Of course, that's not all. 

    Internet dating is now so mainstream that what was once stigmatized as being for losers who couldn't find love without help is now pretty normal. And yet even with all these improvements to our love lives and prospects, the truth is not everyone is handling technology in the right way when it comes to love.

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    Think back to your wedding presents. Which are the ones you remember best? Still glowing from her 30th anniversary, Michelle Duggar remembers one special wedding gift that made a lasting impression on her family. It was a surprise from their neighbors, an elderly couple. "They were like our adopted grandparents," Duggar writes in a recent blog post. "And they lived three doors down from our first honeymoon cottage." This present is something the Duggars still use to this day.

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    Bummer dating news for some of us: OKCupid has been experimenting on you. A couple of their tests were pretty harmless. There was one where they threw out a profile featuring a sexy photo of a bikini babe and no description at all. Her fake profile quickly became among the most popular because duh: Hot, scantily clad chick. But another experiment they did completely defeats the whole point of online dating -- and could make you lose faith in it altogether.

    Or it could just confirm what you've long suspected about online dating.

    Regardless, this is going to seriously peeve a lot of single women out there.

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    If you're like most women, you're probably at least a bit curious about role-play in the bedroom -- acting out sexy scenarios with your spouse. Stacey Burton, CEO of CouplesChemistry.com, says that according to her research, 71 percent of wives describe their relationships as "traditional," but 82 percent say they're interested in getting "kinky" with their husbands. And almost all women say they'd like a sexual relationship that's "experimental and surprising."

    It's just that we're not talking about it. No matter how open our communication, a lot of us have fantasies we haven't shared with our spouses ... yet. But maybe it's time we did? We tapped three experts to explain how role-play works, how to get started, and how to make it fun and fulfilling.

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    Does the idea of stealing a few romantic moments with your husband while vacationing with the kids seem as unlikely as not hearing the dreaded "Are we there yet?" when embarking on an eight-hour road trip

    But making sure you and your spouse have a little downtime can be the key to a truly relaxing and enjoyable getaway. Licensed professional counselor Terri DiMatteo of the award-winning Open Door Therapy agrees. 

    "Child-centered family vacations can result in parents returning home tired, fatigued, and resentful -- in need of a separate vacation just for them," says DiMatteo. "It’s all too easy for parents to overlook their own needs when planning a 'family vacation.'"

    If the closest you'll get to achieving intimacy on a family vacation this summer is holding hands while waiting in line for the log flume ride, don't despair. We've got some suggestions for making the magic happen, even with the whole brood on board.

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    Hey Baby, what’s your number?

    No, not phone digits or notches on his bedpost. We’re talking numerology -- the study of the symbolism of numbers -- and you’d be surprised what you can learn about the guy you’re dating or married to with a little simple math!

    "Numerology is a cut-to-the-chase tool that reveals your partner’s personality traits with unyielding accuracy,” says Felicia Bender, PhD, author of Redesign Your Life: Using Numerology to Create the Wildly Optimal You. "It’s an amazing way to gauge compatibility.”  

    To find out your man’s Life Path number (which is similar to knowing his astrological sun sign), simply add all the digits of his birthdate until you get a single-digit number. So for example, if he was born on 11/19/1985, 1+1+1+9+1+9+8+5 = 35, and 3+5 = 8. He’s an 8!

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    I admit that back in the day, I got quite a thrill out of one-night stands. There was something hot about meeting someone and hooking up with absolutely no strings attached.

    Well, maybe it's because I'm older now, and I'm a mom, or just more sexually experienced. But these days the idea of a one-night stand completely turns me off. Grosses me out, even.

    Lest you think I'm a prude or a fuddy duddy, allow me to explain why I like to keep my sexual activity within the confines of a relationship of some kind.

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    Smile a lot. Touch his arm. Compliment him. Mirror his physical movements. Twirl your hair. We've all heard these flirting tips before, and they're all actually pretty effective (yeah, even that dumb hair-twirling trick). But what if you hate flirting -- that way? What if you think it's intimidating, or just "not you," but you still want to attract that cute guy?

    Do it anyway -- but your way. At its essence, it's just about connecting to someone you're attracted to in a way that shows them you're really, really interested. And what's wrong with that? Here's a few ways to flirt that won't make you feel like a faker.

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    Ask any married couple and you will hear the same thing: Being married is not easy. Loving someone and having them be your best friend is wonderful, but the daily slog and the tit for tat fights and the little squabbles add up. Sometimes the person you love most in the world becomes the person whose eyes you dream of scratching out in a fit of rage. Those are the bad moments.

    Of course, there are also lovely moments. Moments when you can't imagine being with anyone else and the sun rises and sets with your spouse. But how can you tell when the bad moments are starting to outnumber the good? How can you tell when your marriage has gone from normal, everyday difficulty to "we're in trouble" town?

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