Experts explain what it takes to keep good sex, passion, and intimacy in your relationship.
12 Tips for Maintaining a Passionate Marriage continued...
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.
7. Focus on the whole body for passionate sex.
Where sexual pleasure is concerned, the shortest distance between two points -- from arousal to orgasm -- is not necessarily a straight line to the genitals. Take it slow, and take detours along the whole body, every contour. Be pleasure oriented, not goal oriented. Tease and touch each other everywhere but the genitals for as long as possible. Continue to take your time even when you shift gears into passionate sex.
8. Reconnect to share sex and passion.
"I call this exercise 'heads on pillows,' say Schnarch. That's all there is to it. You both lie on the bed and gaze into each other's eyes. For a long time. Five minutes, 10 minutes. At first it may feel like forever. But Schnarch insists this is an excellent way to reconnect in a way that stimulates calmness, peace, intimacy, and ultimately deeper, more passionate sex.