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I used to have a friend who worked at an office where a particularly good-looking lawn guy could be seen from the office windows.
The gals in the office would manage to take their break to gaze upon the hot sweaty lawn guy, which may rekindle memories for some of you of this Diet Coke commercial that was all the rage back in the day.
It's all nice in theory (or in commercials), but jumping into bed with your spouse when one or both of you is already dirty and sweaty sounds... well... a little disgusting, if you ask me.
Now don't get me wrong.
I don't mind the idea of getting all sweaty during sex. That's one thing. Sweat from passion is totally different than the lingering grime of lawn mower oil or the "I-just-ran-the-Boston-marathon" aroma.
If this topic were being discussed at a dinner party (which, I know, is doubtful), I'm guessing the vast majority of married folk would admit that they'd rather make love feeling clean than icky.
Lack of personal hygiene can be a big sexual inhibitor in marriage. (At least that's what I gather from the emails I receive, as well as some good hearty common sense).
It can even cause tension, when one spouse has tried to lovingly express their reservations about their beloved's lack of hygiene -- only to be harshly rebuked or punished by passive aggressive behavior.
Personally I think that when a husband and wife make the effort to come to bed clean, they are more comfortable and uninhibited in enjoying each other's bodies. Call me crazy, but comfort and lack of inhibition are key components of great sex in a marriage.
Plain and simple, good personal hygiene can be a turn on. (I told my husband this early in our marriage. Come to bed clean and you'll have a happy, available wife.)
If we want to be incredibly honest, we would admit that some sexual acts, such as oral sex, are just more pleasurable for both the husband and wife if both have taken the time to clean up.
A few tips worth considering...
1. Shower or bathe before bed.
This seems really counter-intuitive to some people.
I've even had some women tell me that if they take a hot bath before bed, all they are going to want to do is SLEEP, not have sex. To which I say, "Don't take a long bath. Take a quick bath. Enough to really get clean and then hop out."
Another idea is to shower or bathe together, which can be great foreplay. (Our tub is too small. Sad.)
Showering together may not be an option every night, but every now and then, jumping in together can be a fabulous way to get things going. And even when you can't shower together, shower separately.
Feel fresh and clean.
Enjoy each other. (And maybe I'm being super obvious here, but even if you don't have sex, doesn't it just feel better to sleep clean?)
2. Brush and floss. Maybe use some mouthwash.
Maybe your dentist's admonishments could serve you beyond just happy, healthy teeth.
Suffice to say, bad breath can put the brakes on romance fast. If after brushing and flossing regularly you still struggle with bad breath, talk to your dentist or check out some more effective over-the-counter rinses that work better than the conventional ones. They are a little pricier, but worth it.
I've never -- and I mean never -- figured out why any woman would not shave her legs or armpits if indeed she could. That's just me.
I know some people are into going natural, but that would be a surefire way in my marriage to wreak havoc in our sexual intimacy.
I'm guessing that the majority of my female readers share my sentiments and do try to shave on a somewhat regular basis.
You might ask your husband if he finds it particularly appealing when your legs are freshly shaved and super smooth. You could even pique his interest a bit further and ask him if he would like you to trim your pubic hair. He might find that hot.
The armpits on a woman can be a real erogenous zone. I'm guessing husbands would likely pay more attention to this area if their wife has shaved. That's my guess at least. (You know, from my really scientific personal studies).
As for men and shaving, this is a personal preference thing. Some women prefer their husbands super clean shaven, while others like the scruffy look (and feel), and still others find the Grizzly Adams thing totally hot.
At any rate, talk to each other and express what you like. You may even ask your husband if he would be willing to trim his pubic hair (or let you do it? Hmmm. Be careful.)
4. Take care of your fingernails and toenails.
I'm not saying you have to dole out the money for a manicure or pedicure (although this can be a nice treat), but do what you can to keep your nails clean and trim.
Some guys find polished nails (fingers and/or toes) totally sexy, so you might ask your husband what color he'd like to see on your nails and then surprise him.
Foreplay. Foreplay. Foreplay. The little details really do matter.
5. Perfumes, colognes and lotions.
There is a certain perfume I wear that turns my husband on big time. For that reason, I occasionally spray this on the sheets or on myself before hopping into bed. (No, I'm not going to tell you which perfume, because I think that's just TMI, even from a gal like me).
Some date night when you have the time, stop by your local drugstore or department store and browse the perfume area. Each of you find scents that you both like and buy them.
I found a scent for my husband that has a really goofy name, but I just love the stuff. Seriously. Lock-the-bedroom-door kind of effect on me.
I know it's easy for marriage to become a super relaxed place where we let personal hygiene habits slide, all in the name of "we love each other for who we really are."
You might be surprised, though, what a difference it can make in your attraction to one another -- and in your sexual intimacy -- if you devote a little more time to personal hygiene.
Clean sex is hot sex if you ask me. (Few people ask me things like this, but if they did... I'd be ready with an answer, wouldn't I?)
Copyright 2012, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog.