Three YourTango Experts share how to bring emotional and sexual closeness back to your relationship.
Our expert tips for how to revive intimacy in a long-term relationship.
Teresa Atkin's tips:
Human brains are wonderfully complex, and don't always work in our best interests. For example, did you know that our perception of pleasure changes as we become used to something? Research shows that we get a healthy shot of dopamine (the feel-good hormone) when we are seeking reward, and when there is something new to experience. Also, excitement is transferable, so the heightened arousal that follows say, a roller coaster ride, can be used to rev up your sex life.
With that said, here are my tips for reviving intimacy in a long-term relationship:
1. Resolve to deal with, or put aside resentments, and seek help to do that. Anger and unresolved issues often play out in the bedroom.
2. Reconnect! To reestablish connection, start to look into each other's eyes whenever you are talking to each other. If you can eye-gaze fully clothed, oxytocin (the bonding hormone) increases, and the desire to get close, and naked increases. The good news here is that if one person starts to initiate eye-gazing, the other will often follow.
3. Increase touch. Once a pattern of increased connection is established, then increased touch can start. This includes hand rubs, feet rubs, neck rubs, and more. This can progress to massage—a wonderful way to get the body ready for sex (massage decreases the stress hormones, and increases the bonding hormones).
4. Allow tension to build. Our brains experience so much more pleasure when the anticipation of a reward is allowed for some time before we get the reward. So take your time.
5. Try something new, like taking it out of the bedroom. Remember a particularly hot night you might have spent together, or a particularly exciting location you were in.
6. Share your fantasies. Start letting your partner know what you like by saying, "I've always wanted to try xyz … want to try it with me?" Treat it as an experiment. Invite your partner to share their fantasies. Be willing to share yours.
7. Use technology to build anticipation. Saucy texts can be wonderful. For example, "Guess what I want to do tonight ;)"
Rebecca Marquis' tips:
1. Get rid of some chores and get back in the mood. We often get caught up in the day-to-day chores and responsibilities of life, especially if children are involved. In order to reconnect with yourself and your partner, free yourself of some of those responsibilities. Hire a cleaning service. Find a babysitter. Instead of feeling weighed down by life, you'll feel lighter and freer to experience intimate moments. Keep reading...
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