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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...

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.

9. Try "eyes-open sex."

"Seventy percent of couples have sex with their eyes closed," says Schnarch. "Only 15% open them during orgasm." What that means, he says, is that "most of us tune out our partner at a time that is supposed to be the most intimate." Schnarch suggests keeping your eyes open, although he acknowledges that some people find this prospect intimidating and are unable to climax this way. But others "burst into tears because it is so heartwarming," he says. At the very least, you will feel the thrill of trying something novel. Schnarch believes it will also help couples expand their intimacy and have deeper, more passionate sex.

10. Mix laughter with passion and sex.

Calvin Trilling observes in his latest book, named after his late wife, Alice, that he won her love by being funny. Mickey Rooney once said, "Women like me because I make them laugh. And what is an orgasm, except laughter of the loins?" Passion is not always serious business -- it can be playful. Be willing to laugh at yourself when you try something new, especially when it doesn't work -- a new position that gives you a cramp or a belly dance that turns out to be more strange than sexy. When you laugh, you give your partner permission to do so. And you create an environment where each of you is free to try anything without fear of ridicule -- a liberating atmosphere where passionate sex can flourish.

Published February 2007.

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Reviewed on February 14, 2007

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