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updated 11/11/2009 3:47:40 PM ET 2009-11-11T20:47:40

Q. I admit that I am a mechanical lover. My partner wants me to be more “organic” and “hip” about pleasing her and pleasing myself, but I am too old to rewire how my mojo works. I am proudly old school, not a young’un anymore.

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She wants to go away to a fancy “sex resort” where we can safely explore all of our needs because it is thousands of miles away from our regular lives. What do you think?

A. Both of you have a point. Your partner feels uninhibited and wants to make uninhibited love with you, which is a good thing.

You, however, are happy to stay within your comfort zone. You like what you know and you know what you like. Stepping out of that comfort zone is unpleasant enough that you don’t want to do it. It makes you anxious and uncomfortable.

You need not be young to be uninhibited or to bolster your sex life. It is true that the older you get, the more difficult it is to make changes. It is not impossible, though.

Stepping out of your regular life and routine, on a vacation or in some new environment where you have a chance to reinvent yourself, does lend itself to trying new things on for size. You might feel more free, romantic or uninhibited, which can spark a change — the kind of change that is less likely to happen when you are stuck in the same old routine.

But you needn’t go to a “sex resort” to have such an experience. It is a good idea to get away from a familiar place, but “sex resort” implies more than individual couples enjoying themselves. Such an environment might be too much for you.

Instead, any kind of resort will probably do. You don’t even need a resort. A vacation equals play, and play can bring “playful” back into sex.

If you are already feeling inhibited, a “sex resort” might be too extreme for you. You might feel so uncomfortable and so out of your element that the attempt backfires and you just retreat further.

I suggest your goal be to meet in the middle. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest a “sex resort,” but rather a sexy resort. This is different for different people. For some, it means a warm beach or ocean. For others it means a snowy mountain where you can cuddle near the fireplace.

If she says she wants more out of your sex life and you admit to a minimalist style, you are acknowledging that she has a point.

It is a great idea to explore each other and try to push the envelope a bit. Clearly, this issue does matter to your partner. She is dissatisfied with the mechanical old-school lover that you acknowledge you are. If you refuse to make changes, she may lose interest.

She wants you to take action. Tell her you will, but you must do so one step at a time.

Furthermore, it is fun to try new things. Let her bring along some things she has in mind — sexy clothing or lingerie, maybe toys, maybe pornography or other accoutrements that you are willing to try.

Dr. Gail’s Bottom Line: If one partner wants to spice up their sex life, doing so is helpful and healthy for the relationship.

Any ideas, suggestions in this column are not intended as a substitute for consulting your physician or mental health professional. All matters regarding emotional and mental health should be supervised by a personal professional. The author shall not be responsible or liable for any loss, injury or damage arising from any information or suggestion in this column.

Dr. Gail Saltz is a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital and a regular contributor to TODAY. Her most recent book is “The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead to a Better Life” (Rodale). For more information, please visit www.drgailsaltz.com.

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