Skip to content

    Health & Sex

    Font Size

    Passionate Marriage

    Experts explain what it takes to keep good sex, passion, and intimacy in your relationship.

    How to Reconcile Sex and Passion With Domesticity

    "It is the dilemma of modern relationships: reconciling security and adventure -- eroticism and domesticity -- in the same place," says Esther Perel, a couples and family therapist in New York City, and author of Mating In Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic. We live decades longer than we did a century ago, long past the reproductive stage of life. And we expect to have sex and passion, both for pleasure and connection -- not just reproduction -- for the rest of our lives, too.

    "Expectations are over the top. We want security and financial support, and the best friend and trusted confidant -- and a passionate lover -- all in one," Perel has observed through decades of marital counseling. So is passionate marriage impossible? "Yes, as a sustained thing. Passion ebbs and flows," Perel says.

    People have the mistaken idea that if there is "sexual chemistry" then good sex doesn't take work, says Schnarch. That's simply wrong. The chemicals don't make for good sex -- nor do they get "used up," Schnarch insists. To keep passion flowing rather than ebbing away in a relationship takes work -- on yourself as an individual and work together as a couple. And the best time to start is before the flames are out.

    12 Tips for Maintaining a Passionate Marriage

    1. Forget the "fusion fantasy" to create a passionate marriage.

    "The fusion fantasy, or what is known as the idea that 'two shall become one' is lauded as the zenith of emotional bonding -- but it is the cause of lack of intimacy and passion," says Schnarch. "We go into marriage looking for someone to complete us, and that creates all the problems," he adds.

    Instead, you have to be willing to grow as an independent, mature person -- what Schnarch terms a "differentiated person" -- to have a passionate marriage ... or even to have a healthy and happy relationship as a couple. "You are more capable of an intensely intimate sexual relationship as you mature and become more differentiated," Schnarch says.

    2. Pursue your separate interests to sustain a passionate marriage.

    Today on WebMD

    couple not communicating
    How to tell when you're in one.
    couple face to face
    Get your love life back on track.
    couple having an argument
    Turn spats into solutions
    couple in argument
    When to call it quits.
    Life Cycle of a Penis
    HIV Myth Facts
    How Healthy is Your Sex Life
    Couple in bed
    6 Tips For Teens
    Close-up of young man
    screening tests for men
    HPV Vaccine Future