Anyone in a relationship who has had the misfortune of forgetting the significance of February 14th and showing up at home empty handed, knows the true meaning of the popular TV ad that rhetorically asks: “Wanna Get Away?” Maybe it’s time for Valentine’s Day to be about more than just hearts and flowers.
Valentine’s Day has become a retail extravaganza. According to several sources, including U.S. News magazine, Americans spent more than of $19 billion on gifts for their sweethearts in 2016. The magazine notes that Americans between 35 and 44 years old are most likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
“The average person celebrating Feb. 14 will shell out $142.31, with $96.63 going to a spouse or significant other and the rest split among family members, friends, co-workers, pets, children’s classmates or teachers, and other recipients.
“The average man who’s shopping for a significant other will spend nearly twice as much as the average woman ($128.90 and $62.47, respectively) – suggesting chivalry is not, in fact, dead,” the article concluded.
Candy and flowers have a short shelf-life and they are expensive. However, getting more intimacy is priceless.
Spending money on hearts and flowers is sweet, but wouldn’t you rather spend it on having a glorious love life? To celebrate Valentine’s Day, EVEXIAS is offering a complementary couples’ consultation (a $300 value).
The founder of EVEXIAS Medical Centers, Terri DeNeui, DNP, ACNP, APRN-BC, who has helped thousands of men and women gain renewed satisfaction in their relationships, has some thoughts on making sex exciting again.
When Did Sex Become Boring?
“When we see couples in our practice, they are unsatisfied with their love lives,” Terri said. “That’s why they are here. Once we get their hormones balanced, overwhelmingly the couples report that they are very happy with their sex and intimacy.
“Sexual lethargy is multifactorial,” she noted. “We have discussed the role testosterone plays in relationships and how hormone balance is so critical to relationship health, but there are other factors involved.
“Balancing hormones can awaken libido, but there are physiological and emotional aspects to relationship health. For example, if blood flow to sexual organs is impeded, it presents a physiological challenge. Plus, if we are unhappy, for whatever reason, we tend to ‘take it out’ on the person who is closest to us and that it is usually a spouse or significant other.
News Flash! Men and Women are Different When it comes to Sex
Men and women approach the lack of intimacy in a relationship differently. Terri explains.
“In my experience over the last decade – seeing both men and women – it has been proven to me that men don’t lose the desire for sex,” she said.” Typically, they lose erectile function as they age. This is due to a stiffening of their arteries causing the blood flow to be reduced. Testosterone helps to open up the arteries allowing men to maintain an erection. The problems with men are primarily physical.
“With women, the challenge for maintaining a healthy libido is due to both physical and emotional factors that come with aging. One patient said she ‘would rather eat nails’ than have sex. This is usually due to low testosterone and balancing this hormone has a dramatic effect. Interestingly, in most cases this has nothing to do with the men in their lives. Usually our female patients are very much in love with their spouses but they couldn’t care less about having sex with him.
“This is why testosterone is so important to female sexual arousal. It ‘turns on’ (literally and figuratively) the part of the woman’s brain that stimulates sexual desire.”
Talking it over
Besides balancing hormones, EVEXIAS Medical Centers help couples explore and improve their relationship by facilitating communication. This is crucial to the couple’s success.
“Having an open, honest conversation with your spouse or significant other early in the relationship is absolutely critical to building a healthy sexual relationship,” Terri said. “Most men and women don’t tell their spouses what they need sexually and how often they need it.
“As women, we expect our husbands to know what we like and what we want. The reality is that men cannot read our mind, and in order to get what you want and need, candid communication is necessary. Having the courage to express one’s sexual preferences is critical to building a satisfying physical relationship.
“When couples are first dating or newly married, sex is great. It’s exciting and it’s an important part of the day. However, as life happens, it becomes easy to put sex – or even ‘date night’ – lower on the list of priorities.”
Oxytocin: The Love Hormone
“Typically men can last one or two days, at the most one week without sex,” Terri noted. “Women can usually go for one or two weeks without sex. There is a scientific reason for this and it has to do with oxytocin.
“Oxytocin is known as the ‘attachment’ hormone,” she said. “It is released when women breastfeed, leading to bonding between mother and child. It is also released in orgasms.
“For women, after an orgasm, oxytocin remains in the body for about two weeks. Women ovulate for about two weeks of the month and after the sexual act, they are satisfied for about two weeks. For men, the oxytocin can ‘burn out’ in a span of twenty minutes (in younger men) and up to two days in older men. As men get older, the oxytocin stays in the body longer and they are more likely to enjoy cuddling and need less sex.
“I tell our women patients that if they want their men to show more interest in them, they should try and have sex at least every two days,” she laughed. “That’s a good rule-of-thumb that most men will agree with.”
What about Trying Chocolate?
One of the more popular gifts this February 14th will be chocolates. Is there something about chocolate that stimulates a woman’s libido?
“Actually, the fact that a guy thought enough about his spouse to get her a gift is more important that the chemical compounds found in chocolate,” she laughed. “He could bring her chocolates, flowers, anything but a vacuum cleaner, and it would have pretty much the same effect.
“Chocolate has gotten the reputation as a ‘love gift’ because it increases the level of serotonin in the body,” she said. “Serotonin is called the ‘happy’ hormone because it releases dopamine. During certain times of the month, a woman’s serotonin level dips and chocolate can help her overcome this. There is a small tie between chocolate and mood improvement among women.
Two is Better Than One
EVEXIAS Medical Centers encourages couples to approach their sexual rejuvenation together, rather than separately. Here’s why.
“There’s a huge advantage in couples approaching this process together,” Terri noted. “It is validating for whichever party has become less interested in sex because the other spouse can see tangible reasons (from blood work and hormone count) for this lack of interest. Both spouses can then understand the reasons for their lack of intimacy, which helps them to become more empathetic and supportive of each other.
“Balancing the hormones of both parties at the same time is also a much better strategy for long-range sexual health. If one party feels great and sexually frisky, while the other person is still bored and uninterested, the opportunity is wasted.“
You can spend big bucks on flowers and chocolate, or invest in earth-shaking intimacy.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, EXEXIAS Medical Centers is offering a complimentary couples’ consultation (a $300 value). You can spend big bucks on flowers and chocolate, or invest in earth-shaking intimacy.
Speaker, Author, and Board-Certified Nurse Practitioner, Dr. Terri DeNeui, DNP, ACNP, APRN-BC, has extensive training in her field. She earned her B.A in Nursing from Texas Women’s University and her Master’s and Doctoral degrees at UT Arlington. In addition to her training in acute and emergency medicine, she has extended her education to include certifications in Preventative Wellness Medicine, Functional Medicine and Hormone Replacement Therapy.