How to Keep the Emotional and Erotic Fires Burning

Woman tugging on man's tieRemember that first date with your partner? The excitement of getting to know someone new, your interest in learning all about him or her, your curiosity about what you had in common (and how you were different), your emotional desire to discover his or her deepest thoughts and feelings?

Remember the erotic attraction? The first kiss, your skin tingling to his or her touch, the sexual longing, the first time you made love, the afterglow, looking forward to lovemaking again?

Nature provides us, in the beginning, with the emotional and sexual drives to bond—without having to put forth much effort. The developing connections have a momentum of their own.

As the years go by, emotional and erotic attractions may begin to fade unless couples consciously work to nurture and stoke them. Sometimes partners emotionally drift but stay connected sexually. More often, we see couples let go of their sexual and erotic relationship. Stress, kids, fatigue, overworking, and building a career take their toll.

The belief that you shouldn’t have to “work” on a relationship may also wreak havoc on your partnership. Why is it that we don’t expect our kids to grow or our careers to blossom without “work,” yet many people seem unaware that in order for a relationship to succeed, it, too, takes work, care, and nurturing. As therapists, we passionately believe that you and your partner can maintain, strengthen, and deepen your intimate connection for a lifetime.

Here are four suggestions to begin the process of recharging, revitalizing, and renewing your connection to keep the emotional and erotic fires burning:

  1. Shine the spotlight on your connection. Have a frank discussion about how you feel about your relationship, what’s working, and what’s not.
  2. Discuss the specific ways you would like to have a deeper connection. Some examples would be: Have more conversation each day, give and receive more affection, spend more quality time together, and explore ways to spice up your sex life.
  3. Create steps to put your ideas into action. For example, plan to spend 20 minutes each night talking about your day, create new habits of affection such as cuddling in bed every night, plan day trips for the next three to six months so they are on the calendar, or go on a date to Victoria’s Secret or a sex-toy shop.
  4. Repeat these steps once per quarter. Focusing on the quality of the relationship four times a year will keep the partnership front and center, where it belongs.

Don’t wait another moment. Share this article with your loved one and get started today!

© Copyright 2012 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, therapist in Owings Mills, Maryland

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Brock

    Brock

    December 12th, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Thank you for this, and I am only hoping that my wife appreciates it as much as I do! Too many times we let the kids and life in general get in the way of just taking the time to enjoy being with each other. I remember those forst dates so vividly, the way I thought about her with anticipation., And now, not that I don’t feel that way anymore, it’s just that again, there always seems to be something or someone else to get in the way/ I hope that reading this gives us the gumption to put a little more oommph in our love life again because truth be told I think that she is just as out out with the whole situation as I am.

  • Kelly

    Kelly

    December 13th, 2012 at 3:56 AM

    One problem that my husband and I are always trying to overcome is how to have some uninterrupted time for ourselves. We want to be together and keep the fires stoked so to speak, but there are always so many things pulling us in so many different directions that it gets hard. We both travel with our jobs, and sometimes at the end of the week when I get home I just want to crawl into bed and sleep. The schedule was so much easier to maintain when we were dating; but now being married there is this whole other sense of responsibility that just feels like it is piling on with everything else and we keep pushing ourselves to the back burner.

  • Michelle

    Michelle

    December 13th, 2012 at 8:40 AM

    OMG! Just reading this makes me tired!

  • Donna T

    Donna T

    December 13th, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    Haha! Michelle, you crack me up! I was just like you, but believe me this advice is golden. You really should give it a try. Find a babysitter for the weekend and make a point to do the first two things on Friday night. Commit to doing the third one for the next three months. Go away again for the weekend after three months and do the fourth one. I promise it will be worth the effort, even if you tired!

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    December 13th, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Brock, Thanks for writing! I would bet that your wife feels the same way you do. The problem is that we may not pause to take a breath in this busy life and then the days just continue. It’s the consciousness and awareness that make all the difference – e.g. asking yourselves every day, “How will I show her that I love her today?” Most women love when men take charge. What if you took the initiative to plan a one or two night getaway and arrange care for the kids? Take care, Lori

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    December 13th, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Kelly, I feel your pain. After couples have kids, what is happening in your marriage is what happens to most people, including my husband and I, and we do this for a living. There is only one way to change this and that is to plan alone time, even schedule sex if it doesn’t happen spontaneously. I know it doesn’t sound romantic but believe me once you get started you will be glad you did.

    Couples have to carve out time for the marriage. No one is going to give it to you. And it is vital to the survival of the marriage long term. When our kids were young, Bob and I decided that Friday lunch would be our “sacred time.” Unless someone was ill we were committed to that time together. Talk with your husband and do some problem solving about finding your sacred time. Lori

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    December 13th, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Michelle and Donna, Thanks for your comments. Donna, you got it! And yes, going away several times a year even for one night really helps to maintain and nurture the connection. Michelle, talk to your husband and carve some time out.
    Lori

  • aLEc

    aLEc

    December 13th, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I think a lot of couples just don’t care to work on these things or ‘don’t have the time’ to.Maybe if they are given a true picture of where the relationship might end up due to a lack of this ‘nutrition’ to it they would buckle up and work on it.

    Give this advice to a hundred couples,eighty may do the things once or twice but check back a year later and not more than ten would be following it.Fact is just like with anything else always present,we often take our relationship or our marriage and our partner for granted.It becomes a part of our daily lives.Overcoming this hard-set thinking could well be the key here!

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    December 16th, 2012 at 8:52 AM

    Alec,
    I agree…It is a sad fact. Statistically, couples having marital problems don’t seek help on average until 7 years after problems begin! We must keep talking about this so people become more informed.

  • Golden Root 365

    Golden Root 365

    May 20th, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    I think you’ve give some useful tips here. It’s almost like self therapy. Discussing your issues with your partner can be provoking, however, if you have the right maturity for it, it can really help.

  • Lori Hollander

    Lori Hollander

    May 20th, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Golden Root,
    Thank you! It is like doing self-therapy. My husband, Bob and I work with couples as a team and tell partners they need to be each other’s therapist – meaning be good listeners; be patient and kind; work to understand your partner’s point of view, even if you don’t agree with it.
    Thanks for your comment!!
    Lori

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