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Making Lust Last

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Love is constant; passion needs recharging

No surprise: Everything in the universe eventually demagnetizes when left in proximity to something of the opposite charge. Magnets do, and men and women do too. Some people fall out of lust in seven days, never mind seven years—or 17. Basic animal attraction is a force of nature that seems designed to make us mate—not mate for life. Relaxing in our marriages and freeing ourselves from the pressure of trying to impress our partners has a predictable outcome: Our partners are not impressed. The magnetic spell we once cast on them begins to lift.

Cozy is comfortable, but not sexy

To the extent that men and women become real to each other, they cease to be princes and princesses, gods and goddesses who inspire romantic fantasies or amorous worship. Since couples lucky enough to be emotionally genuine with each other share so many real moments, they need to pay special attention to creating magical ones—because great sex requires magic. I'd never suggest that a couple trade their warm, safe home life for better sex. Why keep your distance just so you can make love with abandon? I believe you can have a close marriage and recapture a good sex life—but only once you admit that reigniting romance takes creativity and a commitment of time and energy.

Intimacy doesn't equal sex

When a man and a woman reveal themselves to each other, it makes each person feel more vulnerable. And, particularly for men, it's hard to have amazing sex while feeling emotionally exposed. Our earliest experiences with being close come from our relationships with parents. And those relationships aren't (in any normal scenario) linked with sexual passion. That's why some husbands and wives are open about what pleases them sexually only when they have affairs. They feel as if they have to be free of "family" to be free with their amorous impulses.

Having kids definitely doesn't lead to better sex

Children in the home define husbands and wives as parents first and foremost, not lovers. That further sets the psychological cement that reminds us we are in a family home, not a love nest. Most couples get caught up in the momentum of deciding who's going to drive which child where, how everyone will end up getting dinner, who's doing laundry because there's no clean underwear for tomorrow, and more. It's hard to switch gears and end up in overdrive in bed.

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