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Holiday Elixir: Sex
'Tis the season to do the nasty, fa la la la la, la la la la.

The perfect mixture for the holidays is sex.

I have a love/ hate relationship with the holidays. I love to get together with family and friends, listen to holiday tunes, see the beautiful decorations, and smell wonderful cooking. I really hate how it messes up my already busy schedule.

From my own experience and talking to my gal pals, our three biggest concerns during the holidays are: headaches (probably from clenched jaws while waiting in line to pay way too much for gifts), lack of sleep, and waistbands fitting snugly from excessive holiday cheer.

We agree that all three in combination (or by themselves) make us feel less than sexy. Who wants to have sex while tired, bloated and cranky? Certainly not me.

Yet, paradoxically, having sex is probably your best holiday elixir. Think about it. Sex two-to-three times a week during the hectic holiday season is just what Santa prescribes to keep the holidays happy.

Here me out if you are rolling your eyes and ready to stop reading this column.

First of all, my definition of sex is much broader than simply intercourse. In fact, I think of sex as having two dimensions: intercourse and outercourse. Among other things, outercourse for me includes a wonderful massage, shared late night bubble baths or meaningful touch (a full-body hug is my favorite). With outercourse activities, I do not have to include intercourse as the finale. Guys, stay with me.

For some it might seem like a rip-off to get things started and then not follow through with the "real" thing. Yes and no. Ask yourself how many times you avoided sex because it meant having intercourse and you did not have the time or energy. Outercourse is a great way to spend much needed quality time with your partner and not feel the pressure to perform.

When I am feeling tired, cranky and bloated, trying to shift gears and psych myself up for intercourse seems debilitating. However, a back or foot massage, or a lovely soak in the tub with my husband is a luxury I can look forward to at the end of the day.

If your definition of sex needs to include intercourse, remember intercourse from start to finish usually lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. While most of us do not have a free hour to give away, 15 minutes is doable—even for the busiest of people.

Before any of this can successfully happen, you need to wrap your mind around sex being a "need-to-have" and not a "nice-to-have." In other words, put sex on your priority list. I know if I try to let things magically happen when I am busy, they simply do not occur.

For example, you must choose sex over a holiday party you do not want to attend. However, I have never read in an etiquette book how to properly turn down the host with, "I’d love to attend, but I need to do the nasty instead. But thanks for the invitation." Priorities can sometimes work in your favor.

If you are still not convinced sex is your best holiday medicine, here are some sex-facts.

Have fun while you exercise:
  • Firms tummy and buttocks
  • Improves fitness level
  • It can help people achieve weight loss since about 200 calories are burned during 30 minutes of active sex
Be More Merry:
  • Keeps you and your partner connected emotionally
  • Gives people a positive attitude on life
  • Reduces depression
  • Makes a person more calm and less irritable
Build your immune system:
  • Offers pain-relief
  • Has a therapeutic effect on the immune system
  • You can experience less frequent colds and flu
  • Is the best thing to relieve menstrual cramps
  • Helps people to sleep better. Enough said
  • Look and feel good
  • Creates great skin tone
  • Boosts self esteem
  • Makes a person feel younger
  • Improves sense of smell
  • Improves digestion
  • Lowers the level of Cortisol, a hormone that can trigger fatigue and cravings
Finally, here is another way to look at why sex is your best medicine. When we avoid or push away affection and feel-good touch, we isolate ourselves. Isolation will invariably induce more stress, fatigue and crankiness. Essentially, not intimately connecting to another human being works against us being happy.

Besides, there are worse things in this world than having sex a few times a week when we are already busy. From my family to yours, have a wonderful holiday season.

Dr. Trina Read has a doctorate in human sexuality. Dr. Read is also an international speaker and offers a free sex audio tip weekly on her website www.trinaread.com/t-sextips.

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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.

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