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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...

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.

5. Make a date for sex -- and build the passion until then.

Every marital therapist on earth (and probably on Mars and Venus, too) advises couples to "Make a date for sex," and we all just roll our eyes at the banality of the idea. But it really is central to a passionate marriage. So hey, think of it as building anticipation -- extended day-long foreplay. Take pleasure in planning the details; imagine what you'll do, what underwear you'll wear (or not). Light candles, wrap a little present, put on your favorite music from your sexy youth, rub each other's backs. And agree, in advance, to take your time.

6. Fan the fantasies for a passionate marriage.

"The erotic mind is the main thing that allows us to sustain desire over time," says Perel. Reconnect with your imaginative capacity, with your fantasy life. Read together -- erotic or other literature. Ask each other about your fantasies. They don't have to take the form of Naughty Nurse and threesomes -- they don't even have to have a plot, says Perel. Anything you can imagine your partner doing to you that gives you pleasure, from a foot rub to a new sexual position, counts.

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