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    Passionate Marriage

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

    12 Tips for Maintaining a Passionate Marriage continued...

    Instead of jumping into activities together to create or revitalize a passionate marriage, it may be best to start with the personal passions that made you interesting and attractive to your partner in the first place. Take a class, play an instrument, go out with your buddies to a museum -- and bring back to the marriage a fresh sense of excitement and passion.

    "It is sometimes too much closeness that stifles desire, not distance between you," says Perel, "Fire needs air. Desire is about wanting -- and love is about having. Desire needs a synapse to cross ... Thus separateness is a precondition for connection: this is the essential paradox of intimacy and sex."

    3. Novelty is the key to a passionate marriage.

    "Desire is numbed by repetition; eroticism thrives on the mysterious, the novel, and the unexpected," says Perel. Next time you go to a dinner party with your partner, try to look across the table at your partner as if he or she were a stranger -- you may not know him or her as well as you think you do. "We try to turn our partner into someone who won't surprise us," Perel says, explaining that it makes us feel safe and secure to know we won't be caught by surprise. But the problem is, that leads to boredom, the enemy of the passionate marriage. Instead, break out of your comfort zone and try something new, or a little daring -- then see what your partner does in response.

    4. Flirt with your partner to feed a passionate marriage.

    Never forget that foreplay begins outside the bedroom. "Teasing and flirting to create anticipation is seductive," says Perel. "Flirting comes from the French fleuret -- the tip of a sword -- with which you tease about what could be. That is a massive turn on," says Perel.

    You cannot simply turn to your partner and say, "are you in the mood" and expect that to be enough for sex and passion. Good sex begins long before you get into the bedroom, starting with how you treat each other with your clothes on. The way you look at each other as you pass in the hallway, the way you touch each other as you pass the pepper, how often you laugh at the other's jokes, the small compliments, even saying 'I'm sorry,' as you hold hands -- all can build excitement and erotic tension.

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