As we age, love and sex are more important than ever. True, those hormones are changing, and the passionate, toe-tingling love of our twenties and thirties doesn’t tidal-wave us away like it used to.
Whether you’re in a 20-year committed relationship or are single and dating a special person, think about that loved one’s needs (it’s not all about you!). It’s your assignment to light your person up. (You do have time — and you’ll reap the benefits!)
1. Listen and Tune In to Your Partner
Give your loved one your full attention. This builds respect and makes your partner feel significant and cherished. It’s so easy to text your sister or browse a favorite shopping site while your partner is talking about a work challenge or a troubling conversation with a friend. Drop everything and make eye contact. Give a thoughtful response. That’s sexy.
2. Hug, Kiss, and Cuddle Every Day
The benefits of the hug are hailed by researchers around the world. This powerful action is believed to release oxytocin, which increases hormones that make you feel happy and calm, notes psychologist Tiffany Field, PhD, who directs the Touch Institute at the University of Miami.Called the bonding hormone, oxytocin strengthens connections between you and your loved one. So put your arms around each other. Kiss. Listen to your heartbeats. Trace one another’s faces and tell each other what you love most about those special features. Touch deepens connection,says psychologist Matt Hertenstein, PhD, of DePauw University’s Touch and Emotion Lab in Greencastle, Indiana.
3. Laugh Together, Especially Before Sex
Muscles relax for up to 45 minutes after a good chuckle, setting the stage for relaxed sex. Laughing also prompts the brain to release endorphins that flood your system and leave you feeling happy. Connecting with another human being through laughter signals playfulness and ignites passion.
4. Use Massage to Reconnect
Dr. Field notes the deep connection massage creates, and that the person giving the massage receives as much benefit as the person being massaged. This skin-to-skin contact will lead to deeper, more intimate touching that works for both of you. We’ll talk about those touches in an upcoming blog.
Try this DIY Lavender Rub from 500 Time-Tested Home Remedies and the Science Behind Them:
Mix 1 ounce of essential oil, such as olive, almond, or jojoba oil, with 12 drops of lavender essential oil. Pour the mixture into a clean jar, cap it, and shake. Slowly massage into your partner’s back, arms, and legs.
You’ll both benefit from the touch and scent. Lavender’s calming qualities literally take you out of your busy head and into the moment — together.
5. Take care of your appearance.
Look your best for your partner: he/she deserves it. Lose the ratty sweat pants or frayed sweater he/she hates so much; you can find other comfortable clothing that aren’t a complete turn-off for your partner. Maintaining a healthy marriage also requires taking care of your health.
6. Make time to connect lovingly with your partner every day.
A couple can significantly improve their chances of relationship success by devoting as little as 15 minutes a day exclusively to each other. For instance, choose to go to bed a little earlier and wake up a little earlier, and spend the extra time in bed cuddling, making love, and reaffirming your love for each other. Take time every day to have meaningful conversations with each other; to listen with the same intensity as when you were dating; to touch, hug, and show affection; to tell each other how you feel about your marriage; and to talk about your goals for the marriage and your lives.