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Great Sexpectations

Women don't need a lab report to confirm that sexual sensation centering on the vagina is different from sensation focusing on the clitoris-or on the breasts, for that matter. But apparentiy, this is breaking news to sex researchers, who have only recently confirmed these facts using high-tech brain scans. And if this information comes as a surprise to your partner, you'll be able to quickiy improve your sex life in the most satisfying ways imaginable.

New US research from Rutgers University shows not only that stimulating the clitoris, vagina, cervix and nipples activates distinct brain regions, but also that titillating one area affects other sexual brain sectors as well. These findings are especially important for longstanding couples. The same old, same old sex routines dont work for women because female sexuality is complex-more like a symphony than a cymbal clang. So if your partners approach to sex is one-note-exclusively focused on your vagina, for example - he's short-changing you of your pleasure potential.

If you're hesitant to have the talk with your partner about your concerns, try a prop to get the conversation going, suggests Gabrielle Morrissey, PhD, a human-sexuality and relationship expert, and author of Spicy Sex ($26.99; HarperCollins). Find a book or magazine article that mentions something you're interested in trying and show it to your partner. Use this as your jumping-off point. "If you're feeling awkward, using such a device shifts the responsibility of coming up with the idea away from you," Morrissey says.

Mix it Up

Even if you're willing to commit to more frequent sex, variety and moving beyond the missionary position are what keep women coming back for more, scientists say. When researchers from Indiana University in the US surveyed 2000 adults about their most recent sexual experience, they found that 8l% of women who reported receiving oral sex reached orgasm, compared with 66% for those who stuck to intercourse. The researchers concluded that the more varied the stimulation - oral sex being a particularly good example - in a single sexual event, the more likely the women were to climax. But if you're unhappy with your sex life or oral sex isn’t currently on the menu, clear communication is the only way to get what you want, says Pamela Supple, a sex and relationship therapist From Sex Therapy Australia. "With oral sex, some women won't even go there and are too embarrassed to even hint at it. But no one's a mind-reader! If you don't communicate about these issues, resentment builds, which just leads you to desire your partner less, not more."

A Breast in the Hand

Some women shy away from breast attention because their partners don’t know how to touch them in a way that feels good. But now that we know the nipples are tied to the brain's sexual-pleasure circuitry, its time for you to speak up and for men to brush up on their technique. "Your partner might be touching you the way he wants to be touched - maybe fast and hard. But if you don’t tell him, how is he meant to know what feels good for you?" says Supple.

Lessons in Self-Love

It helps to try some exploratory masturbation so you know what to ask your partner to do differently in bed. If you’ve been touching yourself the exact same way since you were a teenager, the time has come to try a new, routine. Pick an area you don’t usually pay attention to and experiment. When you discover a new sensation you love, show your partner how you like it. says Supple.

What about the G Spot?

The G spot, that much-debated area on the front wall of the vagina, is the focus of as many rumours as Big Foot or that elusive bunyip. Supposedly, it's the source of some of the most intense orgasms, and even ejaculation, when manipulated correctly. And although its very existence remains a controversial subject, Italian researchers reported pinpointing the G spot location using ultrasound in a small 2008 study. But don’t stress yourself out over it, Supple advises. "Worrying too much about your G spot can be counter productive. It can take a lot of practice to find it, and you often need a vibrator of a particular shape, as it's hard for some women to get there using just their fingers. To date, science has yet to reach a consensus. But that's no reason not to do some research of your own, no one can blame a girl for trying!

Play a Head Game

In long-term relationships; women tend to be tougher to turn on than men, at least as far as what the sexperts call 'spontaneous sexual desire'. That's the powerful impulse that drives men to come on to their partners, regardless of the situation. Many long-married women don’t get lusty on the spur of the moment, and they need a subtle matrix of mental and physical cues to really get in the mood. But there are ways to get things cooking. "Women can kick start sexual desire in themselves if they just start engaging physically". says sex therapist Nan Wise. That means being open to intimacy even if your mind is in a thousand places and none of them is between the sheets. Your brain will catch up with your body, especially if your hot zones are getting expert attention from a partner specially trained to turn you on.

"The most common complaint I hear from men usually has to do with the quantity of sex they’re getting, and questioning where the spontaneity has gone"... says Morrissey. Aussie researchers confirmed this sentiment when they examined the sex lives of more than 8,000 Australians in a recent study. Searching for the link between sexual satisfaction and frequency of sex, they discovered that 54% of men are dissatisfied with how regularly they’re doing it, and, unsurprisingly, they mostly want more time getting it on. As for the 42% of women who were dissatisfied with the frequency of their lovemaking, a whopping two thirds still wanted more, not less, action.