Couples try all manor of things to bring some spice back into the bedroom.
According to a new study, a simple conversation will do the trick.
Researchers tracked more than 100 couples, getting them to complete a diary for six weeks.
And the results showed libido and desire soared when partners felt they were being listened to outside of the bedroom.
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Want to get that spark back? Here are eight tips, from conversation to exploring your fantasies
‘Responsiveness – which is a type of intimacy – is so important in a relationship,’ says lead author Gurit Birnbaum, psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel.
‘It signals that one is really concerned with the welfare of the other, but in a way that is truly open and informed about what the other cares about and wants.’
Both partners would describe their own level of sexual desire each day, and how responsive they felt their partner had been.
Many also described whether they felt special or not, and how much they valued their partner as a mate.
The published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology this week showed a direct correlation between conversation and desire.
When men and women felt their partners were being responsive, they felt special and were more inclined to see their partner as a valuable mate. This, in turn, boosted their sexual desire.
Birnbaum and her coauthors also found that women’s desire is more strongly affected by their partner’s responsiveness than men’s desire – although men report a boost, as well.
The findings contradict a concept psychologists know as the ‘intimacy-desire paradox’.
Some scholars have argued that long-term intimacy may actually inhibit sexual desire. For example, the need for security may clash with the sense of novelty that can often fuel desire.
But Birnbaum’s new study suggests otherwise.
What determines whether intimacy prompts or inhibits desire is not its mere existence, but its meaning in the larger context of a relationship, the authors argue.
Responsiveness is most likely to encourage desire.
That’s because it conveys the impression that the partner is worth pursuing and thus engaging in sex with such a desirable partner is likely to promote an already valuable relationship.
So what can you do to relight the fire?
From turning off your phone to describing sexual fantasies, Sari Cooper, a leading sex and couples therapist based in New York City, shares her tricks on how to improve one’s sex life:
1. GET SEX AND INTIMACY IN THE DIARY
Carve out time(s) each week to devote to emotional and sensual pleasure.
Go on a date with your partner, or make a special dinner at home for just the two of you.
And, crucially, make sure you are intimate with each other every week.
Arrange time to go on a date with your partner, or make a special dinner at home for just the two of you
2. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE
Staring at electronic devices at dinner or on a date is rude, and shows a lack of interest and attention.
During conversations with your partner, during mealtimes, and during dates, turn off your phone and laptop.
That said, feel free to keep it on if you’ve both agreed to use the devices for erotic reasons…
During conversations with your partner, during mealtimes, and during dates, turn off your phone and laptop
3. BRING YOUR A-GAME
We can all get cranky after a day of work, looking after the kids, or running errands.
But when you do get to your date, don’t let the feeling of stresses and tension consume you.
Be positive so that the energy remains hopeful.
4. EYE CONTACT
When you haven’t been able to have intimate time in a while, try this exercise to reconnect.
Sit across from one another and gaze at you partner’s eyes, focusing on deep breaths.
Numerous studies have shown eye contact increases feelings of passion, desire and intimacy – not just in couples, in strangers as well.
It’s a way to slow down, reconnect and become more intimately engaged.
Try this exercise: Sit across from one another and gaze at you partner’s eyes, focusing on deep breaths
5. SET BOUNDARIES
Understand the things or people that draw energy away from your intimacy and create agreements.
It can be your children, your pets, other relatives, or work.
Then work out how to gently create boundaries around your coupledom.
For example, make sure you have a closed locked door to your bedroom.
Go out and leave the kids at home with a relative or sitter.
Let your boss know that you’ll be unavailable for a certain amount of time and that you’ll return messages afterwards.
Let your parents know how much time you’ll be sharing with them on a family gathering or vacation, so you don’t get your personal time sucked away.
6. EXPLORE WHAT TURNS YOU ON
Share your erotic triggers with your partner.
I have a whole webisode devoted to the seven sensual triggers that turn people on.
The seven triggers are sight, sound, smell, touch, taste, psychological, and emotional.
Most people – whether in a new relationship or an old one – don’t talk about their erotic triggers.
Most people – whether in a new relationship or an old one – don’t talk about their erotic triggers
But it’s important to discuss what gets you in the mood – the smell of sweat during sex, the sound of moaning, skin-to-skin touch, ice rubbing across your neck, eating a certain food, or being dominant.
Some people have fantasies that always excite them. Share that with your partner.
All of these triggers are explored in detail on my YouTube channel Sex Esteem.
7. GO ON AN ADVENTURE
For some people, their sexual desire is intensified if they feel emotionally connected to their partner.
Try doing something fun outside the bedroom.
Go on a spontaneous adventure or a date.
For some people, their sexual desire is intensified if they feel emotionally connected to their partner. Try doing something fun outside the bedroom. Go on a spontaneous adventure or a date
8. SPRUCE UP AND GET EXCITED
Remember that feeling back when it all started – the excitement, the buzz, the desire.
You might fantasize all day, pick out some new underwear, and maybe surprise your partner.
It is easy to let this natural drive drop off.
But a little bit of seduction, mystery, romance, and sexiness can do wonders for both your sex life and your relationship in general.
Don’t just depend on your partner to keep your erotic energy stoked, part of this is your responsibility.