Has the endless battle to balance parenthood, demanding careers, and day-to-day responsibilities reduced your bedroom activities? Or has your sexual life taken a hit since your seventh anniversary? Perhaps you no longer find your spouse as attractive as you used to. You may still remember the good old days of passionate sex, but most nights, all you want to do is watch Netflix together over a shared bowl of popcorn.
You are not alone, however. One of the most common challenges for couples in long-term relationships is keeping up the attraction that brought them together. For most couples that have been together for years, the exciting rush of passion is often replaced by the comfort of familiarity over time. Or the spark might fade under the pressures of daily life.
However, to keep your relationship strong and healthy, nurturing the emotional and physical connection is critical. Couples counseling can be a safe place to learn how to keep the attraction alive and thriving.
Passionate vs. Compassionate Love: How to Have Both?
The beginning of most romantic relationships is marked by intense, fiery attraction and a thrilling sex life. However, it is rare for a couple who’s been together for a few years or decades to maintain the same intense sexual passion they had at the beginning. Passionate love wears off, replaced with a deeper bond, attachment, affection, and mutual respect. Compassionate love is what sustains the relationship over time. However, keeping the spark alive is what solidifies it.
To have both, it’s critical to maintain the initial excitement while developing the emotional bond.
How to Keep a Spark: 10 Tips from a Couples Counselor
Maintaining long-term attraction to your partner is not just about keeping the passion and desire alive; it’s also about deepening the emotional connection. So, here are ten tips on keeping the passion alive from a couples therapist to get you started.
1. Keep Things Playful
Laugh together. Adding humor and spontaneity to interactions fosters a fun, relaxed atmosphere that can make you feel closer and more attracted to each other.
2. Schedule Regular Dates
In a long-term relationship, you might need to do some planning to maintain attraction and passion. Our brains are wired to perceive more pleasure when fulfillment or gratification is delayed. Scheduling regular dates and sex nights allows tension to build, boosting sexual drive and arousing desire.
3. Explore New Ways to Show Affection
Great sex sometimes requires novelty, as most people find routine and predictability unexciting. Whether it’s introducing role-playing, experimenting with different locations, trying new techniques or positions, or exploring mutual fantasies together, it’s beneficial for both partners to be comfortable with experimenting in their sex life.
4. Focus on Touch
Introducing creativity in the bedroom requires vulnerability and open communication about desires and fears, which may not be easy for everyone. Your counselor may introduce you to techniques such as sensate focus to improve sexual intimacy. Cuddling, massaging, or mutual touching are all great ways to be intimate without having sex.
5. Surprise Each Other
Things like leaving love notes, planning unexpected dates or short trips, or giving small gifts show thoughtfulness and love and inject excitement. These gestures show care and appreciation, building a stronger emotional link, often leading to a better sex life.
6. Nurture Emotional Intimacy
Openness and effective communication are the cornerstones of healthy relationships. Share feelings and thoughts openly with each other to create a stronger emotional connection. Discuss your sexual fantasies honestly and treat each other with empathy, always striving to understand one another’s perspective and feelings.
7. Learn Each Other’s Love Language
Your partner may feel love most strongly when they engage in physical contact or have sex. Being close physically may be essential for them to feel emotionally connected. But for you, sexual desire may be linked to the need for emotional closeness and connection. That’s why showing love and affection is essential for feeling attracted to your spouse. Understanding and valuing the different ways in which you and your partner express and receive love is critical to a healthy relationship and a good sex life.
8. Do Things Together
Engaging in hobbies and other activities you enjoy can strengthen the emotional connection and create a sense of intimacy. Such shared experiences may help you focus less on sex and more on emotional connection, allowing you to feel closer and safer.
9. Do Things Alone
Individual activities in a relationship promote a sense of freedom and independence. This can improve intimacy by bringing new viewpoints and energy into the partnership. Engaging in “me time” may enable you to appreciate each other more and share fresh experiences or thoughts, strengthening your emotional bond and sexual desire.
10. Seek Support When Necessary
Sometimes, seeking external help from a couples or sex therapist can be the right move, so don’t hesitate to go to therapy if you’re having trouble staying attracted to your partner.
Attending couples therapy could help work out your intimacy problems, as a qualified therapist can provide the tools for more effective communication, understanding each other’s needs, and resolving underlying issues that may hinder emotional and physical connection.
Let’s connect soon so we can set up a consultation.