Tag Archives: improve intimacy in marriage

Don’t bother rekindling your marriage … create something new

One of the most common requests from readers is for content on how to keep the spark burning in the marriage or to rekindle romance. Dr. Corey Allan has an excellent response to this age-old issue. Enjoy this guest post by Corey Allan, PhD, from SimpleMarriage.net.
 
There is a popular belief in the marriage and relationship world that when the doldrums hit and you find yourself more numb than really alive, you should look for ways to get back what you once had.

Call it a spark. A zest. A passion. Whatever.

The point is, something’s missing and since you once had it – you can go back and find it again.

Wrong.

Life is not lived backwards.

Our past is important.

Who we once were is what our spouse found attractive (since that person caught the eye of your spouse and reeled them in the rest of the way). But the previous version of you is long gone and trying to go back and find him/her is a path to more frustration.

While you may be able to produce a brief spark by reminiscing about when you were dating, it won’t be a lasting spark.

The main reason – you’re up against the “love drug” in your brain.

When you first met and fell in love with your spouse you both experienced a chemically induced high. Your brain flooded with a chemical called Phenylethylamine (PEA), which remains in your brain from 6 months to 2 years. PEA produces a feeling of euphoria, a sense of belonging, and a feeling of obsession (which is why you want to talk and be with your new found love every moment).

As PEA fades over time (and it will) many people believe that you can recreate the same levels of emotion within the relationship. Problem is, you can’t.

You cannot go back a manufacture PEA in your brain within the same relationship (although I’m sure the pharmaceutical companies are trying to figure out a way).

What you can do, increase the levels of Oxytocin in your system.

Oxytocin is known as the “bonding” chemical. It produces the deep connection to others, the lasting bond that long term relationships create. Oxytocin is released when you bond with another person – the most intense experiences are mother and infant while nursing and during orgasm. But other contacts create this bond as well: massages, eye contact, hugs, holding hands.

On the other end of the spectrum, going through crisis and tragedy together dramatically increases the levels of Oxytocin as well.

This is why it is worth it to work through the rough patches in marriage.

What it produces is a deeper, more lasting bond.

Now that you know what you’re up against when you face the monotonous times in marriage, here’s a couple of ideas to help up the Oxytocin in your life:

1. Catch romance where you can
You can learn to build romance at unexpected times — during your daily commute, while doing laundry — you can even do this through a long, lingering kiss or just holding hands. In other words, the next time you hear find you’ve got a couple of minutes to yourselves, make use of it — give that  Oxytocin a boost.

2. Nurture your separate selves
Having your own hobbies isn’t a sign you are drifting apart. On the contrary, developing individual interests allows for a richer life as a couple. Taking personal responsibility for your own well-being relieves the your spouse of the pressure to “provide” happiness — so go ahead and nurture some solo adventures. That’ll also keep each of you stocked with plenty of adventures to chat about, which also tightens your bond.

3. Take on a project together
Separate interests aside, exploring new ground together is also important since it strengthens your history of shared experiences (Oxytocin boost). Commit to run a 5K together. Create a project for your home or kids. Big projects together offer increases in Oxytocin because they are often filled with highs and lows, but the lows will create a bond as well. Couples who take on adventures together get a sense of daring and accomplishment that can really kick up their chemistry!

4. Touch each other (sexually and non-sexually)
The boost of connection you receive from human touch is huge. And every touch doesn’t have to be sexual in nature. Sure, sexual touch is important and will increase the connection, but so will non-sexual touch. Hold hands, hug, sit close beside one another, cuddle. Each little (or big) gesture can cause a boost of Oxytocin for both of you.

Got any more to add? Share them in the comments.

Thanks so much for the great advice!

Photo by manostphoto courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

The Most Sexually Satisfied City in the U.S.

I was as suprised as the next person when Men’s Health recently revealed the number-one sexually satisfied city in the U.S. Take a guess. I thought L.A.? New York? San Fancisco? Think Midwest, folks.

My own hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, received the high honors, followed by Columbus, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Cincinatti, Ohio; and Salt Lake City, Utah. Six of the top 10 slots were in the Midwest. Men’s Health says, “Just that the stretch of I-74 linking Indianapolis to fourth-place Cincinnati should hereafter be known as America’s Sex Drive.”

I’d love to hear your response to this survey. Do you think it’s accurate? And if so, why do you think Midwesterners are more “active”? Is it perhaps less competition for entertainment? The cold weather keeping us indoors? In any case, I think it’s a great opportunity to remind one another that you don’t have to live in an exotic city or look like movie stars to have a satisying sex life.

So, what is the key? I shared this as a guest post a while back, but wanted to add as a resource here…Find the Key to a Passionate Sex Life

A common complaint for long-term married couples is boredom in the bedroom. Yes, new love can be titillating, but having only one monogamous partner doesn’t mean your sex life shouldn’t be entirely fulfilling. In fact, allowing one partner to fully know your sexual needs, preferences and wishes can be ultimately much more fulfilling than having multiple partners. In the book Hot Monogamy—which lives up to its promise of offering “essential steps to more passionate, intimate lovemaking”—author Dr. Patricia Love gives some simple-to implement tips.

  1. Deepen your emotional intimacy. Be honest. Be vulnerable. Be personal. Be real. Sex is never boring when you are intimately connected.
  2. Vary the amount of time you set aside for sex. Sometimes a quickie is just right, especially when it results from spontaneous desire. Often, the routine half-hour, before-bed lovemaking session is perfectly fine. These standbys are necessary with the busy schedules most of us have.
  3. Take your time. Sometimes—perhaps once a month—try to set aside time for a leisurely time period (maybe an hour or more) during which you can share massages, creative sensuality, sharing of fantasies, or slowly pleasing one another. Dr. Love suggests adding 12 leisurely lovemaking sessions each year could improve your sex life more than most any other change. Once a month sounds fairly doable, don’t you think?
  4. Get comfortable talking about sex with your spouse. The willingness to talk about sex, your desires, what you want and don’t want from your lover is critical to your sexual satisfaction. “More than any other factor, your ability to talk freely and honestly about sex is the key to a passionate sex life,” says Dr. Love.
  5. Improve your body image. Accept yourself just as you are. If a low body image is keeping you from fully participating in or enjoying sex, talk about your insecurities with your spouse. Work to build confidence, which is sexy in any body. Read Loving a Woman’s Body for feedback from other couples. Dr. Love provides some very specific tips to overcome low body image in Hot Monogamy.
  6. Understand that differences in sexual desire do not mean your partner is rejecting you. Most couples have one more highly sexed partner (generally the man), and higher testosterone levels are one important reason. Compromise and communication help overcome these differences.
  7. Add romance to your daily life, particularly if you want your partner to become more interested in sexual intimacy.  If you don’t know how to do that, simply ask your wife or husband for his or her top 10 suggestions! She or he will be more than happy to share.

Boredom outside of the bedroom can be just as deadly. Research shows conflict isn’t the only cause of divorce; boredom can kill a marriage. Being bored reduces closeness and slowly decreases marital satisfaction. Find shared fun activities and new adventures to keep your relationship exciting.

Ask your spouse what one thing she or he would like to improve about your sex life, or take the quiz in Hot Monogamy together to find specific areas of improvement.

Photo © Leticia Wilson/PhotoXpress.com