How to make him......buy you gorgeous presents
Studies show that men respond better to positive reinforcement (praise about what he does buy you) than negative (criticism about what he hasn't). Laugh at him for getting your size wrong at La Senza, and next time it'll just be a Dairy Milk. The average man buys three surprise gifts a year for his partner, so make a promise: whatever he buys you, react as if it's a Chanel 2.55. By next year, he may have the present-buying confidence to get you one.
Understandably, men are hardwired to react defensively if you even hint they could be more ambitious or could look for a new job, but this doesn't mean that you can't shake him out of a career rut. A study at New York University discovered participants find much more creative solutions to other people's problems than they do for their own. So ask your man for career advice 'for a friend'-about a spookily similar situation to his own. It will open up a conversation about what he wants from his job, and he will come up with a smarter strategy. You won't be pressurising him, plus he'll hatch a more creative plan than if he knew he was talking about himself.
...stay awake after sex
Okay, so it's not just pure sloth. "The blood rush after climax depletes his muscles of energy-producing glycogen, leaving men feeling physically drained," explains sleep expert Dr Neil Stanley. "Have sex out of bedroom, away from the usual sleeping environment, or play some uplifting music-not the usual romantic sounds." Or tempt him into the shower with you to 'freshen up'; mint shower gel and running water will revive him. And remember: no man ever fell asleep while he was being told how amazing he is in bed.
Ever noticed that men are fastidious about loading the dishwasher, but still leave a trail of socks along the bedroom floor? Rex Jung, neuropsychologist at the University of New Mexico, says it's down to the anatomy of our brains: men think more with their grey matter; women think more with their white matter. In other words, women are better at integrating and assimilating information, while men are better at spatial tasks. What this means is that if you present tidying up as a spatial task (like putting his clothes in specially designated drawers), he'll do much better.
...open up more
Say less, and say it slower. Women speak at 250 words a minute; men just 125, and we rattle through over 25,000 words a day, compared to his 12,000. One of the reasons men don't feel comfortable talking is because most women can outtalk them-what we think of as normal, they see as a rant. Sex expert Julienne Davis, co-author of Stop Calling Him Honey...And Start Having Sex, says, "Don't moan for hours about a colleague he's never met. Tell him the best or worst part of your day, and leave it at that." Slow it down to his pace, and don't repeat yourself or waste words-he'll get into the rhythm of the conversation and soon will start opening up.
...treat kissing as more than a prelude to sex
If you only touch, caress or kiss as part of foreplay, it breeds the idea that any kiss is demanding that he take you to bed, which piles the pressure on you both, warns marital therapist Andrew G Marshall. Make a point of enjoying no-strings cuddles and kisses; have a steamy kissing session on the sofa, then casually wander off for a shower. You'll leave him wanting more, and reinforce that kissing isn't just a passage to bed.
...take the next step
Keen to move in together? Or get engaged? Most women tend to think the best way to get him to take the plunge is by building up a practical case for it: "Oh, how annoying, I forgot my tights again. Splitting time between two places is so annoying." Wrong! Taking your relationship up a level has to be an emotionally driven decision, says life coach Rebekah Fensome. "Skip practical measures. The point is an overwhelming feeling of love and a sense that this has to happen for you." Moan about the way things are, and he'll just find it annoying. Relax, be yourself and you'll be singing along to SingStar one night when he'll suddenly say, "Let's get a place together."
...stop scratching around his boxers
Subtle hints won't work, so try a bad-habit barter: agree that you'll stop doing something that bugs him if he'll lose the constant fondling. "Focus on one bad habit each," advises clinical psychologist Scott Young. "Simple rules create habits; complex rules create headaches." It takes 30 days to break a bad habit, so tease each other about it and see who can get through a month without cheating.
...spend longer on foreplay
Try what sex expert Maggie Arana calls the 'refuse-to-strip tease'. First, undress with one hand, then linger in your underwear. Reach inside your bra to stroke your nipples, and slip your hand into your knickers, but if he tries to take them off, playfully resist. You'll enjoy the power trip of keeping him waiting for your naked body, and having the barrier there for as long as you can stand will drive you both wild.
...fall in love with you
First, swap that dinner date for something with some serious fear factor. Studies have found that putting a man in a vulnerable position instantly makes his date seem more attractive, and overcoming a stressful situation together makes you closer-how about a date-night horror film? Next, sex matters, says anthropologist Helen Fisher. The boost in his testosterone kick-starts 'love neurotransmitters' and his orgasm will send attachment hormones soaring.
How to make him more loveydovey? By example, says love guru Michael Webb. This means you buying him the new AC/DC CD the day it comes out. Whining about how great your sister's boyfriend is, won't cut it. And appeal to his competitive side by planning alternate weekly date nights-one night your choice, one night his. "If you appeal to his competitive nature, he'll put more thought into the evening, trying to outdo his partner," says Michael.
...get over his ex
Studies show it takes 10 weeks before people start feeling 'significantly less distressed' after a break-up, so if your new man is fresh from a split, give him a three-month no-pressure window. Then try a technique psychologist Melanie Greenberg calls conditioning theory. "Places, people or activities associated with an ex trigger cravings, so avoid these and develop new routines." Don't let him take you to the same pub he went with his ex; bring him to your local, introduce him to your friends, and take up a cool new hobby such as rock climbing. The trick is to fill his life with new habits, rather than letting him sink into the same old ex-haunted routine.
...take it slow in bed
When we complain that sex is over too quickly, it's often because we make the mistake of expecting a fast-paced encounter to last 90 minutes. But if you're sprinting to each other's erogenous zones and using your most effective tricks, you're taking a shortcut that will leave you dissatisfied. So set the pace. Perform your usual oral tricks on your man, but slow them down the tenth of your usual speed. You will be surprised at how many new sensations a change in pace can produce. He'll love the sight of you taking your time, relishing his body. Plus, you'll conserve some energy for later...
Okay, so you can't make his penis grow by watering it, but you can make it feel bigger (and that's what counts, right?) As sex specialist Dr Catherine Hood says, "The average penis size is 5 inches erect, but as only the first third of the vagina has much sensitivity, anymore is wasted. If your partner has a small penis, a good position is spooning, as this gives deeper penetration."