How to keep passion alive in long-term relationships
A psychologist at a Chapman University (Southern California) and his research team have just published a study looking at sexual satisfaction- or dissatisfaction of heterosexual couples in long term relationships, and what helps to sexual passion alive.
Specifically, the research team found that sexually satisfied men and women engaged in more intimate behaviours, such as cuddling, gentle and deep kissing and laughing together during sexual activity; incorporated more acts of sexual variety such as trying new sexual positions or acting out fantasies; more frequently set a romantic or sexual mood such as lighting candles or playing music, and used communication effectively, such as saying “I love you” during sex or sending a teasing text earlier in the day.
Some key findings of the research included:
- Satisfied men and women were more likely to report that their last sexual encounter with their partner was “passionate,” “loving and tender,” or “playful.” Nearly half of sexually dissatisfied women (43 percent) said that they were “just going through the motions for my partner’s sake” compared to only 13 percent of sexually dissatisfied men during their last sexual encounter.
- About half of satisfied men (49 percent) and women (45 percent) reported their last sexual encounter lasted more than 30 minutes.
- Feeling desired by their partners appears to be more of a problem for men than for women. Most men and women reported feeling the same or more emotional closeness during sex now than in the first six months of their relationship
Dr Janet Lever, a co-author on the study, stated “It was encouraging to learn that more than one-third of couples kept passion alive, even after a decade or two together. That won’t happen on auto pilot; these couples made a conscious effort to ward off routinization of sex.”
David A. Frederick, Janet Lever, Brian Joseph Gillespie, Justin R. Garcia. What Keeps Passion Alive? Sexual Satisfaction Is Associated With Sexual Communication, Mood Setting, Sexual Variety, Oral Sex, Orgasm, and Sex Frequency in a National U.S. Study. The Journal of Sex Research, 2016; 1 DOI:10.1080/00224499.2015.1137854