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How to Have Just-Met Sex


WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Jennifer Benjamin
Redbook Magazine Logo

Miss that erotic charge you had when your love was brand-new? Reboot in the bedroom with these tips for turning up the heat on your old flame.

Long-term love brings all sorts of advantages: a shared history with the guy you love most, a partner who you know will always have your back, and a warm, satisfying sexual connection that can only come from years of intimacy. Still, as great as it is to know each other so well in bed, how could you not miss that crackle and spark you had when you and he first started having sex? Thing is, it doesn't take a lot of work to recapture that "just-met" excitement. Step back, reminisce, enjoy security and butterflies — and congratulate yourselves on really, truly having it all.

Create a Little Distance

Best friends, partners, soul mates — it's what many couples strive to be. But while that kind of emotional melding feels warm and secure, it's not always sexy. "The very things that love thrives on — familiarity, stability, and security — can kill passion and lust in a relationship," explains couples therapist Esther Perel, Ph.D., author of Mating in Captivity. "For desire to thrive, you need to maintain some of the elusiveness and independence you had when you were first together — if you're too available to your partner, too open with each other, you lose that edge."

That's why, for the sake of your sex life, it's a good idea to make some space. "A little bit of distance and separation, both physical and emotional, can actually fuel sexual excitement because it sets up a thrill-of-the-chase kind of dynamic, similar to what you had when you were first dating," says Los Angeles-based sex coach Patti Britton, Ph.D., co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Sensual Massage. "When you perceive a gap between you and your partner, you subconsciously feel challenged. And that perceived 'obstacle' can actually increase your desire for each other."

Maryanne, 31, an educator in Phoenix, travels a lot for work, as does her husband. While the time apart can be tough, they find that it winds up doing great things for their sex life. "After being gone for a while, it's like we can't get enough of each other," Maryanne says. "It really builds up the anticipation, so when we are together again, it's exciting and steamy and new." No business trip required: A regular girls' night out (and guys' night for him), a weekend away with your girlfriends every so often — all can create the kind of space you need to recharge those naughty feelings.

Another benefit of time apart is that it allows you to make a life for yourself outside of your relationship. "It's important to have an identity as an individual, to be involved in activities that take you away from the home and each other and give you something of your own," says Sharna L. Striar, Ph.D., a certified sex therapist and relationship counselor in private practice in New York City. Try revisiting some of the activities and personal passions you used to pursue before you two started dating but maybe haven't had time for since. It could be yoga, running, photography, or even just Thursday happy hours with friends. By feeding your soul this way, Striar adds, "you're likely to discover a few new things about yourself — things that your partner can then discover as well."

It's also okay — even good — to keep some corners of your life and mind all to yourself. "Many couples feel like the only way to bond is by sharing everything with each other," says Perel. "But it's mystery that really fuels desire and draws your partner to you. You might think that if you've been together for years, it's impossible, but the mystery is always there, if you allow it."

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