The honeymoon phase isn’t intended to last forever, but that doesn’t mean that love and passion can’t stay alive long into a marriage or partnership. You might just need to make an extra effort. While there may have been a time when you and your partner were on fire for each other every single night, chances are that as you adjust into a more comfortable stage of your relationship — such as moving in together, getting married, or having kids — you’ll find that the flame is burning less.
It might comfort you to know that this is absolutely normal. The hormonally fueled puppy love stage isn’t supposed to be permanent. If you felt nothing but intense passion for each other at all times, you wouldn’t learn much about each other, you wouldn’t be adequately prepared for the hardships of a long-term relationship, and you wouldn’t see every potential strength and weakness your partner has.
Keeping the spark alive
Some people suggest that you can follow life hacks to keep the honeymoon phase alive, but most sexologists and couples therapists warn their clients that it’s not realistic to expect such a state to remain consistent over time. Love is a commitment. Understand that the gradual familiarity you begin to feel with your partner over time, rather than the initial intensity, can be a new and exciting stage to face together.
That said, sex and relationship experts agree you have no good reason to let the spark fade and condemn yourself to bed death over time. In fact, according to Medical News Today, oxytocin, the “love hormone” released in great quantities during sex, is responsible for enhancing emotional intimacy between couples and encouraging pair bonding over the long term. Sex is an essential component for keeping your relationship alive.
As conflicting schedules, busy lives, and parenthood change the dynamic of your relationship, you may find that getting in the mood can be challenging. The idea of “setting the mood” might sound cheesy and old-fashioned, like something out of a 1950s movie. But sex therapists believe that mood-setting is crucial to maintaining a healthy sex life, even long into a relationship.
Engage in foreplay
The Journal of Sex Research studied 40,000 people in 2017. They were asked what the No. 1 thing they did to keep themselves and their partner’s sex life alive. The response was overwhelming: Most people believe that setting the mood is key. Without some preparation, most believe, sex lacks the emotional intimacy required to be truly satisfying.
What that means for each individual couple might vary. For some, a romantic dinner and a few glasses of red wine might be the best way to get things going. For some, reading erotica together can be a form of intellectual foreplay. Rose essential oil can be helpful for creating ambience, and some new sexy lingerie can get both you and your partner hot.
What’s interesting about foreplay is how often it’s connected to sense memory: the smell of your partner’s perfume, the feel of their hand against your thigh in a public place. Couples don’t need to spice up things by adding toys or kink to their usual play if that makes them uncomfortable. Sometimes, it’s simply enough to be reminded of what you found sexy about your partner the first time you met.
“Our biggest sex organ is still our head,” says Dr. Laura Dietsch, a sexologist, indicating that we might all be a bit sapiosexual. If you can get your partner mentally stimulated, their body is likely to respond in turn.