The word "heat" is often applied to discussions about sex. When we're attracted to someone, it can be said that we're "hot and bothered." If a relationship goes particularly well, we may declare it "on fire." Sex can be "steamy" or "sizzling" or "red hot." A sexy person may even be referred to as a "hunka hunka burnin' love." Maybe you'd never say that one. But whatever. You get my drift.

Colloquially speaking, sex and heat go together like a harness and a flared-base dildo. And yet…the National Bureau of Economic Research has released a report that suggests that a hotter earth may mean much less sex for all of us. In fact, intense heat can be a real mood-killer. And while many people still aren't concerned about how climate change affects things like the polar ice caps, when it threatens to dissolve our sex lives, well, it gets people's attention.

Why Economists Are Studying Sex and Heat

So why are economists getting into "coital frequency" in the first place? The research involved focuses mainly on birth rates following a heat wave. After temperatures rise above 80 degrees, birth rates tend to drop within 10 months. In other words, the hotter the weather, the less sex people tend to have. The research also found that in most developed countries, the birth rates rise in the summer. That means more conception is taking place during the fall, when being under a nice, cozy blanket with another warm body seems more like the right thing to do. Finally, birth rates are closely tied to the economy. That's where the economists - and their interest in our bedroom habits - come in.

I have to wonder, though, is it possible that the heat is impacting fertility as well as coital frequency? Personally, I don't have sex as often when it's hot. I just don't feel like it. I suspect that's common, although I've never done a formal poll. We do know that cooler temperatures impact the production and motility of sperm. So, when the temps go up, the little swimmers may not be at their best - which definitely impacts conception. One German study suggests that sitting on a hot car seat can raise scrotal temperatures 1-3 degrees. That's hot enough to have a negative impact on sperm production.

How to Keep the Heat From Cooling off Your Sex Life

Even if you're not interested in climate science, sperm motility, or saving the planet, having great sex on the regular is something we all deserve. So what do we do to combat the searing influence of climate change? How do we keep it from impacting our sex lives? Here are six sexy tips you can use the next time the mercury rises.

Air Conditioning

This is a first-world luxury that not everyone has at their disposal. If you do, crank it up on hot days. You may be surprised at how a temperature change of even a few degrees can invoke a desire for sexy times. No air conditioning? A fan will do in a pinch!

Cool Downs

Try keeping body mist, your fave lotion, or even perfume in your fridge to spray or smooth on for a burst of cool. The aromatherapy and soft skin that follows can also be an aphrodisiac.

Avoid Dehydration

Dehydration makes us feel generally lousy, which is a mood killer even in comfortable temperatures. Things to avoid include caffeine, prolonged exercise, alcohol, smoking, and excessive salt.

Water

A cool bath or shower can do wonders for your mood, and encourage a nice bout of giggity once you're out of the tub (or still in it, if you prefer!). Ice cubes can be great fun during foreplay, or can be dropped right into the bath.

Diet Change

Eschewing rich, heavy foods in favor of light soups and salads can keep the heat from spoiling the sexy fun. Icy herbal teas or infusions with cucumber, citrus fruit, ginger, or mint can keep you feeling cool and relaxed - a perfect recipe for getting it on.

Positioning

Sex positions that involve less full-body contact are often more comfy on a hot day. These include doggy-style, reverse cowgirl, and the lap-dance position.

Enjoy the Winter Season

If you're like most of us, you may be grumbling about winter weather right about now. Instead, embrace it! The colder months are a great time to huddle inside, pile on the blankets, and enjoy the heat of your partner's body. After all, the science is in: Cold weather is the best time for hot sex!

Climate change is a serious issue. So is having a fulfilling sex life. For now at least, a pleasant and varied sex life is possible despite what's happening with the planet. If you follow these suggestions, sea levels won't be the only thing that's rising.

How do you keep your sex life hot all year round? Share your tips in the comments!