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Intimately L.A.

How do Angelenos compare with residents of New York City and Chicago when it comes to intimacy? The results may surprise you, says Laura Berman, Ph.D, author of "The Passion Prescription: Ten Weeks to Your Best Sex - Ever" (Hyperion, $24.95).

In a recent study, the Chicago-based relationship expert compared sex in the cities using an unrestricted educational grant from KY. Among the findings of the 2,000 people successfully polled: L.A. dwellers were the least likely to leave a relationship (25%) as well as least likely to think about sex (they spent only 24% of the day focused on the subject). But they were most likely to share their beds with pets (28%).

Regardless of where you live, creating more intimacy is an important issue for everyone, says Berman. "It's what drives couples into my office. They're all looking for ways to feel closer to each other and make that connection."

Here are some of her tips on how to strengthen the bond and reignite the passion.

Pucker up: Although sexual satisfaction had the greatest impact on intimacy according to the study, frequency of cuddling and kissing without sex had the next greatest factor contributing to a sense of intimacy. Plus, higher levels of depression and stress were associated with a lower frequency of kissing.

For example, couples who kiss without having sexual relations all the time were more likely to be free of stress and depression than those who never kiss without having sex. "I'm always surprised by how many couples stop kissing once they get into an established relationship," Berman says. Her advice? Try a 10-second kiss with your partner once a day and conduct your own experiment!

Offscreen romance: The study also showed that having a TV in the bedroom had a negative impact on intimacy. Berman suggests banning TVs, computers and video games from the boudoir. "It should be an intimate space that's meant only for sleep and sex," she says. "Make your bedroom an oasis."

Adrenaline boost: Berman says the study showed that keeping a sense of adventure in your relationship is an important part of maintaining the passion. So do something together that gives you a rush- whether it's taking a class, going rock-climbing or even riding a roller coaster.

- Diana McKeon Charkalis

WORK OUT SITTING DOWN: Staying fit doesn't have to mean a battery of sit-ups, sweaty jogging or all that huffing and puffing. So says "The Couch Potato Workout: 101 Exercises You Can Do at Home!" (North American Spine Society; $14.95). The book describes and illustrates everyday stretches and movements designed to improve balance and keep your body active. Exercises are practical and grouped by body part: The "steering wheel roll" helps with shoulder mobility when stuck in traffic, and the "boring meeting hand stretch" works your wrist muscles and tendons even as your brain goes numb. Far from being couch potato cop-outs, the exercises are useful for busy people interested in little ways to keep their muscles moving as well. Call (708) 588-8080 or visit

Those who may not be busy, but also aren't physically fit enough to engage in strenuous exercise, can find similar workouts on "Sit and Be Fit," a TV program geared toward the elderly. Host Mary Ann Wilson leads viewers through a variety of sitting and standing movements designed to improve body strength, flexibility and balance. "Sit and Be Fit" airs locally on weekdays at 6 a.m. on KLCS (Channel 58).

- Andy Wang

LIFE IN THE RAW: If being a vegan requieres more vigilance than being a mere vegetarian, eating only raw food is an extra step beyond. Raw fooders, as they are called, eat only raw food, as the name implies. It's a diet purported to be beneficial to one's health, from lowering cholesterol and detoxifying the body to shedding those extra pounds. ``Eat Smart, Eat Raw'' (Square One; $15.95) by Kate Wood, offers more than 150 kitchen-tested recipes for getting started with a raw-food regimen. As you might imagine, going raw requires a great deal of preparation - and equipment. Wood recommends some basics, among them a dehydrator, which ``cooks'' food at a minimal temperature without ``killing'' it. She also offers a short list of commonly used ingredients to help you get started. Once your kitchen is properly tooled for a raw-food lifestyle, you'll be able to make everything from mushroom burgers to banana loaf. If you think you'll stray from the raw path, the book also contains a number of ``not really raw'' recipes that involve use of the oven, but still stay healthful.

- A.W.


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(1) no caption (book: ``The Passion Prescription: Ten Weeks to Your Best Sex - Ever'')

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 20, 2006
Previous Article:BASIC TRAINING.

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