Has the fire of passion that kept you awake all night in the initial years after marriage all but died down? Don’t fret any more even if it has, for there are ways that couples can sustain – or relight – their passion, new research suggests.
Just be a little more responsive to your partner and make him or her feel that the relationship is special — and see the difference.
“Our research shows that partners who are responsive to each other outside the bedroom are able to maintain their sexual desire,” said Gurit Birnbaum, psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel.
Birnbaum and co-author Harry Reis, Professor of Psychology at University of Rochester in New York reported the findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The researchers also found that women’s desire is more strongly affected by their partner’s responsiveness than men’s desire – although men report a boost, as well.
“Responsiveness — which is a type of intimacy — is so important in a relationship because it signals that one is really concerned with the welfare of the other, but in a way that is truly open and informed about what the other cares about and wants,” Birnbaum said.
Responsive partners are willing to invest resources in the relationship, and show understanding at a deep level.
They make the relationship feel special – that their relationship is unique–which is what people generally seek from their romantic relationships.
Responsiveness is most likely to encourage desire because it conveys the impression that the partner is worth pursuing and thus engaging in sex with such a desirable partner is likely to promote an already valuable relationship, the study said.
As part of the study, the researchers conducted three experiments, one of which consisted of 100 couples who kept a diary for six weeks.
Both partners reported on their own level of sexual desire each day as well as their perceptions of their partner’s responsiveness.
They also reported their own levels of feeling special and perceptions of their partner’s mate value.
The results indicated that when men and women perceive their partners as responsive, they feel special and think of their partner as a valuable mate, which boosted sexual desirability.
“Sexual desire thrives on increasing intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time; better than any pyrotechnic sex,” Birnbaum said.