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Summer is here, but are you still making the shift from winter lethargy to summer activity? This is no small feat. Primping, plucking, priming and polishing become a reality as we consider bringing the neglected parts of our bodies back into the sunlight. For many of us, stepping out tanless and hoodie-free into a sun-filled world requires a brand of bravery no human carrying the Y chromosome could ever understand. Before overthinking your poolside look, consider giving your sensual side some attention too. Here’s some summertime ideas to help heat things up in your marriage:

Enjoy the sun and get some vitamin D. A vitamin D deficiency can cause low estrogen in women and low testosterone in men. Lower levels in these two hormones can lead to a low sex drive. If you feel like your libido has been lacking lately, get some sun and soak in the benefits of vitamin D.

Stop body-shaming. Break up with the mean girl inside of you; stop body-shaming yourself (and other women) and become body-positive. Don’t let the only thing boosting your body be your push-up bikini top. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, so affirm your body, grab your sunscreen and have some fun in the sun!

Read a summer romance novel. Take a break from all your self-help and weight loss books, and read something fun and romantic instead. Women who read romance novels are having twice as much sex as those who don’t. Just make sure to steer clear of those trashy romance novels that are disguised in girlie language. Choose something dreamy to read poolside and watch things heat up for you and your spouse.

Ditch the cover-up. Whether you’re a size 2 or 32, confidence is sexy. Forget about covering up the things you don’t like about your body, and instead, focus on showing off the things you do love. Self-hate is a sex killer. God makes everything glorious – that includes you! Dedicate an evening to showing off those tan lines with confidence.

Join the “50 State Club.” Eighteen years ago my husband, Tim, and I spent a summer evening at a coffee shop filling a journal with a bucket list of things we wanted to do as a couple. The night was magical as we dreamed of singing karaoke in Japan, renewing our wedding vows with Elvis in a Las Vegas chapel, kissing on top of the Empire State Building, AND making love in all 50 states. As you plan your summer travels, consider joining the “50 State Club”. We have planned several vacations around this goal to “experience” the wonders of our great nation.

Not big on traveling? Make it your goal to “make a memory” in all of the counties (or parishes, if you’re a Louisiana girl like me) in your state. Time and money a factor? Make love in all of the rooms in your house. Live in a loft? Have sex facing each wall! You get the point. Get intentional and have some fun!

Make space for summertime romance. Sunny summer days and hot summer nights can be a treat after a cold and dreary winter. Soak in the sunlight, embrace body-positivity, replace that hoodie with a new swimsuit and enjoy some summer lovin’.

Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of  Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived. Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo.
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