Is your long-term relationship feeling a little too ... long-term? Over time, it's only natural for couples to become quite comfortable with one another, but when things become too routine, too monotonous or too mundane, it's time to shake things up. According to our Irresistible You survey, 37% of YourTango readers polled agree that trying new things together is the best way to for couples to avoid becoming lazy or complacent in their relationships.
Here are our YourTango Experts' top 18 tips to beat complacency and keep your long-term relationship SIZZLING:
1. Look your partner in the eye.
There is a yoga practice during which you look into your partner's eyes for three minutes without looking away. The eyes are the mirrors to the soul, and it's amazing how we cannot really look at or see each other. Once, I worked with a couple who had been married for thirty years, and they could not look into each others' eyes. It is surprising how deeply this action can reconnect you both. — Donna Davidge
2. Get out of your environment.
If it's only for a night or two, it's still great to get out of the town or city you live in and explore another setting together. If you have time to go to a farther-flung destination, this can be even better. Make sure it has the kind of activities that can help you connect with each other and not be distracted by the other people there. Remote laces in nature can help spark the intimacy you may have forgotten. — Donna Davidge
3. Improve your looks.
Dress nicely for each other more often (like when you were dating). Refresh your lip color or do something new with your hair. Your partner will notice and appreciate that you're spending time trying to look nice for him. — Wendy Kay
4. Smell good for your partner.
Always wear a nice fragrance and refresh it, but make sure it's one your partner likes because scents evoke feelings. Be aware of the garlic and onion you had for dinner and get rid of it, as bad breath and poor hygiene are obvious turn-offs. A clean and fresh smell, however, is a total turn-ON. — Wendy Kay
5. Pay attention to each other and make things special.
Bring back the honeymoon phase with unexpected love and appreciation notes, cards, calls, texts or flowers. Start a couples day with date at a coffeehouse. Don't only discuss your chores and obligations, but have some good, fun conversation. — Wendy Kay
6. Spice up your lives a bit!
Forget routine and get back to sexy! Women: men love the woman's body, it's that simple, so put something fun on that he will appreciate. Men: women like to feel desired, wanted and cared for, so give her some nice foreplay; for instance a nice relaxing massage with passionate kissing. — Wendy Kay
7. Go to a sex shop TOGETHER.
One fun way to break the sexual rut is to go to a store that sells sex toy and other sexy products. While there explore the store together, asking what might turn the other person on. Then, pick out a toy, outfit or even a sexy board game to play with each other at home. — Dawn Michael
8. Play a (sexy) board game.
One way to get intimacy and sex exciting and fun again is to play a fun sex game. There are so many wonderful (and fun!) games for couples looking to explore more erotic sex but feel too shy to initiate it. The game will just tell you what to do without having to be one to think about it. — Dawn Michael
9. Take turns in the bedroom.
The pressure to always be the one to ask for sex or to be asked can lead to lack of sexual desire. One way to change this is to take turns on whose night it is to initiate sex and come up with something new to stimulate your partner. This takes the pressure off the situation! — Dawn Michael
10. Go out for date night.
Set aside one night each week to have a date night and spend quality alone time. You could go out to dinner, have a picnic or even ntake the car to a great makeout spot! Scheduling and sticking to a weekly date night helps you prioritize your relationship, even between two busy schedules. — Dawn Michael
11. Plan a surprise day for each other.
There's only one rule: The recipient has to focus on what they love about it with no criticisms or negative judgment allowed! Of course, if you're afraid you'll hurt yourself, you can back out, but hopefully your partner would never suggest you do something dangerous. — Lori Carpenos
12. Take a risk together.
Take turns sharing the most erotic scene you can come up with until you're either laughing your sides off or between the sheets. — Lori Carpenos
13. Write a story together.
To make it more interesting, you should start with the sexiest, most passionate, erotic, heartfelt, deeply connected time you're shared together and then work backwards showing how you got there. — Lori Carpenos
14. Take photographs of each other in sexy poses.
Ask him if he'd purchase a particular pair of shoes or a garment for the photo. Maybe you'd love to wear a pair of black pumps with red soles along with a black negligée and a dash of red somewhere on your body. No matter what, let your creativity out to play. — Lori Carpenos
15. Show your love—DON'T hold back.
Love doesn't exist unless it is treated as a vital and living force between two people. Saying "I love you" holds far less meaning than SHOWING your. Show excitement when you see each other, make time to just talk and be sure to make spontaneous affection part of your routine. Small steps like holding hands and making eye contact are easy to overlook, but they are the key to keeping the spark alive. — Dr. Lisa Firestone
16. Keep your individual identity.
Losing yourself in love is one of the biggest threats to intimacy maintenance. Getting close to someone shouldn't mean fusing your identities or losing respect for your innate separateness. Couples should try to complement and support each other in an effort to become their fullest selves instead of merging together to become something else. Appreciate your partner's unique interests and enjoy him/her for the vital individual he/she is. — Dr. Lisa Firestone
17. Don't be defensive. Engage in OPEN communication.
Open communication and being receptive to feedback help us overcome the real obstacles in our relationships. Instead of making excuses or counterattacking when your partner gives you feedback, you should look for the kernel of truth in what they're saying. Think about what applies and be compassionate toward how they feel. In this same manner, you should seek to be direct and honest with your own feelings. — Dr. Lisa Firestone
18. Be open to new experiences.
Couples often risk growing apart by avoiding new experiences or limiting each other. Love doesn't exist in a vacuum. We have to share time and activities in order to keep it thriving. Pay attention to what makes your partner happy, and be careful not to do anything that will restrict that happiness. — Dr. Lisa Firestone
Upping the kink factor in your relationship can actually be a great way for those of us who are more vanilla to break out of shells and experiment with something new. It can also be a way of feeling closer to our partner.
"This being said, there may be behaviors that you are just not open to doing and that is OK too," says Dr. Kat Van Kirk, a clinical sexologist, marriage and family therapist, author and host. Partners should have enough sensitivity to work you into these behaviors as well as be ok with some hard and fast boundaries. Many people into kink have learned to be very good negotiators sexually as very few people have exactly the same proclivities.
More juicy content from YourTango:
- 7 Ways Love Transforms Your Brain
- Learn To Write The Best Love Notes Ever
- I Love You: 15 Ways Guys Say It Without Saying It