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Keeping the flame alive: Sustaining sexual attraction

June 2013
June 2013
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How many times have you heard that sex decreases or even stops in long term relationships? This running joke is actually a sad fact. Many people do not realize that sexual intimacy is not just part of, but an essential component of a fulfilling relationship. Variety and exploration keep both partners attracted and interested. Keeping sex, intimacy, and even flirting interesting and exciting can also help insulate your relationship from potential wandering eyes and ideas. Follow these tips to help that the same level of sexual desire that brought you together last throughout the relationship.

Keeping the flame alive:

Re-sexualize your partner. Think about your partner sexually, the way you did before you explored every inch of each other—or if you haven’t yet, take an afternoon to kiss every part of each other. Make him or her the center of your sexual desires, from daydreaming to masturbating (bring your partner into your fantasies). The important part is that he or she become your fantasy once again, because attraction is a mental exercise; just like anything else, you can train it to react in more or new ways.

Re-sexualize your actions and life. Feel attractive and you will feel sexual. Eat right, workout and dress attractively. Learn new sex techniques. Look better even when you are home, especially if you live with your partner. Increase your level of sexuality by making feeling more sexual important.

Start dating again. In the first stages of dating, you see your partner less, you don’t know each other well, you argue less, flirt more, and sexual variety is at its peak. Research has shown that the strong emotional bonds and high levels of stress which develop as relationships grow stronger, can decrease sexual desire. Start dating again, drop old arguments, and rekindle the spark that brought you together.

Above all, be motivated and take an interest in your partner’s sexual needs. The study Keeping the Spark Alive, published in an issue of Social Psychological and Personality Science (Muise, Impett, Kogan, Desmarais, 2013) found that just being motivated to meet a partner’s sexual needs, sustains sexual desire in long term romantic relationships. In addition to the above tips, reintroducing sexual excitement and variety in a longer term relationship could include role playing, toys, classes, or exploring each other’s hidden desires. Adding excitement, variety, and a little spice can really keep your relationship strong all around.


Benjamin Ritter, MBA, MPH, Author of The Essentials and co-founder of Suave Lover International and the Suave Lover podcast (subscribe on iTunes), is a freelance writer and a private relationship-and-social-dynamics coach in the areas of public health, fitness, and social dynamics, a writer and editor for Ask, and the interpersonal relationships columnist for His passion lies in guiding and providing tools to men for overall self-improvement.

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*Edited by Rachel Ritter

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