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Let's start things with a quote from relationship expert Esther Perel: "The crisis of desire is often a crisis of the imagination."
Some couples experience a lack of desire to their committed partners. But here's some good news: travel is an essential part of maintaining play and passion in a long-term relationship. To travel with your lover is to set out on a journey together where you can explore the world and dare to be in unknown circumstance. It is a simple act that can go a long way toward maintaining pleasure and excitement in a relationship. The even better news? You don't have to go far or spend a lot of money to maximize the erotic benefit of seeking novelty on a trip!
Why do new experiences feed the fire of eroticism? It is all about exposing yourself to unknown pleasures, as well as the chance to experience your partner with senses that have been reawakened and refreshed by your adventures.
Remember, this is the first time in human history that we have attempted to create long-term passion with the same lover. We are in bold new territory; a grand experiment to discover how sexual desire can be maintained within one relationship over the duration of our ever-lengthening lives!
As the incredible author and YourTango expert Esther Perel states, "At the heart of sustaining desire in a committed relationship is the reconciliation of two fundamental human needs. On one hand, our need for security, for safety, for dependability, for reliability, for permanence — all these anchoring, grounding experiences of our lives that we call home. But we also have an equally strong need for adventure, for novelty, for mystery, for risk, for danger, for the unknown... for journey, for travel." Successful, long-term relationships must find a balance between security and passion. Traveling together is one way to play on this edge together.
We humans have a remarkable ability to get used to or become complacent toward just about anything, including pleasure and beauty. Scientists call this "hedonic adaptation." Over time, we take for granted what is always around us. Your new home may be super exciting for the first few months, but after awhile it is just where you live. This is also true with our lovers and our sex lives. If you make love in the same way with the same person over time, you'll tune out. Traveling inspires you to open up your senses to new pleasures — and you may find yourself looking at your lover with new and refreshed interest!
Trying new things and being in new places also wakes up the brain, creating bursts of dopamine and norepinephrine, chemicals that are associated with pleasure and excitement. In the early stages of love, just being around your lover can trigger this happy cocktail of brain chemistry. As time goes on, you need to deliberately create situations that trigger the release of these happy-making brain juices (not a scientific term!). Travel and trying new things is one of the most reliable ways to get your brain alert and ready to experience new pleasures — and if your partner is along for the ride, you'll experience the powerful bonding and arousing effects together.
So, ready to pack your bags? Remember, you don't have to go far. A weekend jaunt to the next town over can do the trick; even going somewhere new or trying a new activity in your own hometown can create the novelty you are seeking. The key is to get out of your ruts, open your body up to new kinds of stimulation, and then savor the experience of being wide-eyed and eager again.
In fact, you don't even need to leave your house to try something new. Learning new sexual skills together — if you approach it with the sense of adventure and discovery — can create a new and novel experience. Many couples report that using our videos to learn couples massage is like an adventure; it is something new you are doing together, challenging you to communicate in new ways and be receptive to previously unexplored kinds of pleasure!
So whether you travel a few miles afield, or just commit to discovering new ways of touching one another, remember to create novelty in your relationship. New experiences will reawaken your senses, refresh your interest in your lover, and offer you exciting, revitalized ways of being in the world together.
Want to hear more from Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity, about how to maintain desire in long term relationships? Check out her brilliant Ted Talk here.
Remember, if you have any questions that you want answered, you can always Ask Us Anything! We offer free personalized sex advice and also answer your questions on our free podcast, Speaking of Sex.
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