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Sex should be a fun, stress-relieving, calorie burning break from your crazy to-do list. But sometimes, it feels like just another item to fit in between "pick kids up at band practice" and "finish book club novel." We asked experts how to turn off that majorly mood-killing internal monologue and get you both chilled out and turned on.

 

This inability to enjoy the moment is the main thing that prevents women from having amazing sex. "At any given time, we've got multiple trains of thought, most of which have nothing to do with what's happening in the present," says Keryl Pesce, happiness expert and author of Happy Bitch. "Yank the emergency brake on your runaway train of thought and choose to focus on the physical sensations and connection that come with sex." She suggests starting with a small task, as simple as folding laundry: If you can bring your attention 100 percent into the present and relax outside the bedroom, it will be a lot easier to do so under the covers.

 

If those stray thoughts are nagging body image insecurities, you're in good company. But, if you're beating yourself up about the cellulite on your thighs instead of savoring how great your guy looks in his boxers, there's no way you're maximizing your pleasure. "So many women have body issues, but fail to realize that what they see as flaws, their partner sees as assets — or doesn’t notice at all!" says Rachel DeAlto, a Flirting and Communications Expert and CEO of FlipMe Flirting Cards. To clear your head and boost your confidence, DeAlto suggests mind-quieting activities like yoga, pilates, and meditation. As for what your guy can do to rev you up, DeAlto stresses the importance of offering emotional support. If he's willing to discuss issues, and listen to you vent, you're more likely to trust, and give yourself over to him.

 

Just remember, it goes both ways. Newly published research in The Sex Habits of Americans finds that more men than women turn down sex because of stress. Kind of surprising, right? Keep in mind "men and women each need different things to get in the mood," says Jennifer Jones, a staff member at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice, who works with couples in therapy. "You might be turned on by a sweet note or surprise phone call that shows you your husband is thinking about you, whereas he might need time to relax and recharge after a tough day at work." The key takeaway: Be patient with each other and keep in mind that though you may be wired differently, the better emotional intimacy you cultivate, the more physically in tune you'll be with one another.

 

Emotional issues and insecurities aside, sometimes we all need a quick, foolproof way to heat things up. Relationship expert and radio personality Jenny Hutt recommends building up anticipation throughout the day. "If we allow ourselves to enjoy the game in our minds, then our bodies will follow," she promises. Try sexting something naughty during the workday — he'll come home primed and ready for action. Hutt also suggests getting down and dirty before dinner when you'll feel better naked, and be less likely to blow off fooling around. If you find yourselves in a sexual rut, jumpstart the chemistry with a quick trip out of town. "Even a one-night stay in a nearby city can get the romantic vibe pumping," advises DeAlto. If you can't get away, reignite the spark by doing something new together, like rock-climbing or hitting an amusement park. Lastly, relax! Take a bath, power down your cells and TV, and enjoy each other. If you can do that, the rest — a.k.a. lots and lots of action — will follow.