NEW YORK—More than a year removed from public office, former vice president Al Gore and his wife Tipper are enjoying the best sex of their lives, the happy couple reported Monday.

"For far too many years, we didn't have time to really focus on us," Gore told Matt Lauer during an interview on Today. "Between raising the kids and running for office and everything else, there always seemed to be something that took precedence over romance. But now, with the kids all grown up and a job that doesn't take up every waking moment of the day, I can finally enjoy some nice moments of intimacy with my beautiful and, dare I say, sexy wife."

Gore said that in the past 12 months, he and Tipper have "rekindled the flame of passion" in their marriage, taking time each day to lavish attention and affection on each other. Citing one such example, Gore said that last Friday, he came home from a speech at the American Bar Association's annual convention to find Tipper waiting for him in the bedroom in a lace teddy with a rose between her teeth. She then handed him a book of "love coupons" redeemable for a variety of sexual favors.

"It's that sort of spontaneity that keeps things exciting in a marriage," said Gore, lovingly stroking his wife's hair. "And, believe me, things were pretty exciting that night."

Added Tipper: "Al can be a real tiger."

According to Gore, the frequency of his sexual activity with Tipper has increased significantly in the past year.

"I must say I'm very satisfied with our current volume of lovemaking," said a visibly relaxed Gore. "Did I say satisfied? I meant overjoyed. In fact, things are so good, I may have to seriously rethink my plans to make another run for president in 2004!"

Though she admitted she's "never been much of a thrill-seeker in the sex department," Tipper said a number of her recent intimate encounters with her husband have involved an element of risk: On Feb. 25, she said, the couple "got amorous" just moments before an endorsement appearance for South Dakota senate candidate Tim Johnson. A week later, they coupled during a cross-country flight to California.

"Forgive me if I blush, Matt," Tipper told Lauer, "but Al and I actually made love about half an hour ago, right before coming on this show."

Despite their current inflamed passion, the Gores said their sex life did not instantly reignite upon departing Washington last year.

"After losing the election, Al was really depressed for a while," said Tipper, a longtime crusader for mental-health issues. "With depression, as you may know, there typically comes a loss of sexual appetite. Over time, though, he gradually realized that this was a good chance to rediscover parts of himself he'd forgotten. That's when we began our sexual re-awakening."

Not since Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter left the White House for Plains, GA, in January 1981 has there been such an upswing in post-Executive Office coitus.

"Things are less hectic, but it's not like we're loafing around doing nothing," Tipper said. "Al's been doing fundraising for his political action committee, and I've been busy speaking at Democratic fundraisers, as well as continuing my work as honorary chairwoman for the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign. But in no way does any of that diminish our desire to spend a romantic evening together in a bubble bath, surrounded by scented candles."

Added Gore: "The difference between our current work lives and the way it was before is that now we come home energized. Our work keeps us apart just enough to heighten our passion. It's a great feeling, coming home from a fundraiser all pumped up and being able to transfer that energy into carrying my wife to bed and letting nature take its course, if you know what I mean."

"It's like right after we were married all over again," a flushed Tipper said. "I don't want to get too specific, but some of the things we've done would cause quite a scandal in Washington circles."

Exchanging smoldering glances, the Gores ended the interview and disappeared backstage.