How do you spice up a relationship that’s become more like friends than lovers? It’s a common question and it’s not surprising that many people struggle with it. Long term love brings companionship, warmth, safety and soft feelings (especially in family settings) and those feelings while fantastic, don’t always inspire the heat, edginess and desire for adventure that typifies eroticism. Even in a loving relationship desire can run dry, or never really take hold in some couples, despite there being a great deal of commitment and love. There are many potential contributing factors to variations of libido and desire and while every couple is different, here’s some inspiration that can apply to most people.
- Transcend the everyday.
Open to experiences beyond your normal everyday frame of mind and the roles you fulfill as parent, worker and all the rest. Author and therapist Esther Perel suggests that we see sex as an exciting place we can go to – a place where everything is new and different things are allowed to happen; a place rich with imagination. It can be a place where we drop our roles and assumptions and become more like the admiring separate adults we were before we met.
- Write a new chapter.
The erotic world we each have inside us thrives on imagination, freedom, pleasure, newness, excitement and the lowering of judgement. It’s difficult to relax into that world if we’re concerned with judging or criticising one another or seeing each other in limited roles. Let your partner be simply the woman or man you desire who also desires you – your continuing story can stay enthralling when you reinvent parts of it in each encounter.
- Remember the first time.
Author and coach Tony Robbins wrote that a simple way to keep a relationship feeling alive and hot is to keep treating each other in the way you treated one another at the start of the relationship. It’s good advice. At the start of the relationship you behaved in ways designed to attract your partner, to seduce them, to win their desire and love, to gain their appreciation and admiration and it worked – you gave your best and it brought you together – why would you stop?
- Don’t hold back on the appreciation.
Author and researcher Gary Chapman devised 5 ‘languages’ that most people use to express love and appreciation: Acts of service, physical touch, quality time, receiving gifts and words of affirmation. We can each rank the 5 languages according to our preference and share that preference with our partner so that we can feel more of the kind of loving that most turns us on. It’s worth knowing your primary love language as it can really help you to express yourself in the ways that work for the other person. Express appreciation and admiration as a way of life, not just in the bedroom.
- Turn yourself on.
The erotic world lives within us and we bring out our part of it to share with a partner. Turning ourselves on to life (not necessarily in a sexual sense) is a large part of feeling great and alive with your partner. Seeking your own bliss in the world as an adult who can bring back interesting experiences that enrich one another is important. It can be stifling of the imagination to do everything together. What are some things that excite you and would make you feel more alive to life generally?
For more ideas about deepening and enlivening your relationship check out my other personal development and relationship resources.
Dr Deb x