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Whether you’re going away for a special event, or you’re just celebrating a birthday or anniversary with your partner, you’re probably thinking that the change of scenery will result in more sex than usual while you’re away. And that’s a good thing.
But to make sure you’re prepared to deliver an impressive performance all weekend long, you’ll need to do some pre-planning, and that starts with the menu.
“People think [better sex] is about what’s happening downstairs, but it’s the middle—your heart,” says Wesley Delbridge, R.D., a Phoenix-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Anything you’re doing that’s good for your heart is going to make sex better, especially eating well and doing physical activity, he says.
Here, Delbridge shares expert advice on how to improve your diet right now for a better sex weekend, as well as what to eat, drink, and avoid all weekend long for optimal performance.
High cholesterol—when bad (LDL) cholesterol builds up in your arteries and forms fatty, waxy deposits called plaque—can impact how well blood flows through your arteries. And any guy can understand that a healthy sex life means good blood flow is important.
“I recommend a high-fiber diet as part of a better sex diet,” says Delbridge. “I don’t think people think of the efficiency of fiber in their diets.” If you genetically have a tendency for high cholesterol, check with your doctor about the right amount of fiber for you.
A lot of people don’t eat enough fresh produce, which is high in fiber. You should also look to oatmeal and beans to add fiber and help lower bad cholesterol, says Delbridge.
Having clear arteries also helps with energy. Delbridge says that when some of his clients had stents put in to open narrow arteries, they tell him that they didn’t know how tired they were until they were feeling better and more energized after their blood flow was improved. If you’ve been feeling sluggish lately, talk to your doctor about what could be going on. And consider a diet like the DASH diet to help lower cholesterol if that’s part of the problem, suggests Delbridge.
Before you start adding cups of beans to every meal and snacking on broccoli a few days before your romantic weekend, nutrition experts recommend adding fiber gradually to avoid bloating and gas. (Your partner will appreciate this as well.)
Often, when we travel, our eating and sleeping schedules are off. If you slept in—especially because you tied one on the night before—you might be inclined to skip breakfast. That’s a mistake, Delbridge says: Give your body optimum energy by eating a breakfast with protein, fats, carbs, and fiber. (In fact, every meal and snack should have that, so keep those macros in mind throughout the weekend.)
When you have that combo, you have delayed gastric emptying, so you’ll be satisfied for longer, Delbridge says. Some people resist breakfast because they’re not used to digesting as soon as they get up, but Delbridge suggests you slowly add foods each morning for better overall metabolism and energy.
You might want to enjoy a leisurely brunch with your date on your romantic weekend. That’s totally fine, says Delbridge, just balance out what you eat with the rest of your meals. Starting with French toast or pancakes? Cut back on carbs and sugar the rest of the day.
You may be inclined to think you’ll be staying in bed together all weekend, but lying around won’t lead to better sex, says Delbridge. Get your heart pumping (and increase blood flow) with a hike or a partner workout. Do some digging ahead of time and look for paths you can walk or run along, or see if there’s a halfway decent gym at your hotel.
SEE ALSO: The Hottest Hotel Gyms in the U.S.
Go ahead, giggle at that headline. But keep in mind that nuts contain zinc, which can raise testosterone levels—and testosterone helps with your sex drive.
“If you’re going on a hike, add nuts to the trail mix,” says Delbridge. “They can help with overall performance, including the mental part of your sex drive.”
C’mon, you already know how eating the wrong foods can upset your stomach and make you feel like crap. You might head into the weekend channeling your inner buff Guardians of the Galaxy version of Chris Pratt but find yourself feeling like a chubby, lethargic Parks and Rec Pratt instead if you make these food mistakes.
To maximize energy, try to stay away from refined carbs, added sugar, sugary drinks, and fried foods throughout the weekend, suggests Delbridge.
“If you eat healthy and then you splurge, you’re body’s going to have a tough time digesting that, and you might feel crampy, gassy, or bloated,” says Delbridge. A lot of people find that digestive issues tend to come when traveling, he says. If you know certain foods like dairy don’t always agree with you, don’t order mac and cheese at dinner followed up with a sundae.
SEE ALSO: 10 Ways To Spice Up Your Sex Life
“I’m a fan of caffeine if it’s in coffee without a lot of added sugar, or unsweetened tea,” says Delbridge. To get through a weekend with a lot of—ahem—exercise, caffeine can help with blood flow, he says. It can also give you more energy to complete your, y’know, workout. Since caffeine can stay in your system for at least six hours afterwards, consider an afternoon java fix to help your efforts later that evening without impacting sleep.
If your romantic weekend plans involve a nice steak dinner that you’ve been salivating over all week, by all means, indulge—but don’t order the Man vs. Food portion. You might think it’s cool to put away a 60-oz steak at dinner that nabs you a T-shirt and bragging rights, but trust us, your partner will think it’s gross.
“We all know how we feel when we’ve overeaten. You want to take a nap, your organs are working so hard, there’s no energy for anything else,” says Delbridge. Besides the quantity, a fatty steak isn’t doing your heart (and physique) any favors.
Order a leaner cut like a New York Strip, and stop eating when you feel satisfied. You’ll be glad you did when you have “dessert” later.
Before you groan and bypass this tip, it’s worth remembering that too much alcohol doesn’t lead to great sex—and could be a disappointment for your partner as well.
“Alcohol does decrease inhibitions and can make you feel more romantic, but it also causes issues with erection,” says Delbridge. (That’s why it’s one of the nine foods that’ll kill your sex drive.) Too much booze can cause premature ejaculation, delayed ejaculation, and wreck your chances (and hers) of having an orgasm. Stick to two drinks, and make sure you stay hydrated with water for better sex that night and tomorrow morning.
Fine, this isn’t specifically a diet tip. But to make sure it’s a weekend of amazing sex for both of you, ask your partner what she would like in bed. Deliver on that and we promise she’ll be booking another romantic weekend getaway before this one is over. Here are 10 things women are too shy to ask for in bed.