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Pamela M. Peeke, MD, MPH

Pew Foundation Scholar in Nutrition and Metabolism
Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of Maryland
Baltimore, MD

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Keeping Passion in Your Relationship

Keeping Passion in Your Relationship

8 tips for revving things up inside the bedroom and out.

Sexual Health

You know, I'm so glad we're talking today about the issue of sexuality. But, I want to expand the discussion somewhat from just sexuality, to sexuality, passion and intimacy. While the three are different, they are all connected.

Just consider: Can't holding hands be as intimate as intercourse? Doesn't the fact your partner did the laundry, folded it and put it away (without being asked!) make you want him as much as candles and flowers? Can't the passion you feel sharing your child's first word with your partner, or buying your first house together, be just as vital as the passion you experience during a marathon lovemaking session?

I submit that it is. That's why it's important to bring passion and intimacy into the everyday corners of your life instead of saving them for the bedroom, vacations or romantic outings.

Easier said than done, you say. Well, maybe. But it really doesn't have to be that difficult. Here are a handful of simple yet effective ways to bring passion and intimacy to the everyday:

  • Pursue a new hobby together. It could be wine tasting, a high school sports team you follow closely or reading the same book and discussing it. Do something together that enhances your knowledge of a subject and of each other.
  • Exercise together. Walk, run, do sit ups. Be a support partner for each other and acknowledge any small gains made for getting healthier and sexier. Consider showering together.
  • Touch each other 10 times a day. It could be anything from a kiss to a pinch, but the understanding is that this is not going to lead directly to sex. It's just a way of physically connecting with one another.
  • Plan, prepare and cook a meal together. You'd be surprised at the sensual punch cooking a meal together can have. And, of course, you get to enjoy it with each other.
  • Schedule a sex date. Planning for sex builds up excitement, expectation and desire that normally just isn't there when you crawl into bed at 11 p.m.
  • Put a lock on your bedroom door. This is particularly important if you have children (or adult children) still at home, or even a dog that's used to having the run of the place.
  • Set a moratorium on all sex for several weeks or even a month. That doesn't mean you can't continue touching one another and talking about sex. You just can't have sex. The sheer act of prohibiting something makes it all the more enticing.
  • Be realistic about the time sex takes to accomplish. We all have busy lives and likely are exhausted by days' end. But, don't let the sex act take on unrealistic proportions. After all, it probably takes only about 10 minutes from start to finish for most people.

Your Cultural Background in the Bedroom

Numerous things affect a woman's desire, ranging from work stresses to physical exhaustion to being unhappy with her looks. Even your cultural or religious background can play a role.

For instance, if you grew up in a culture that was open to women being sexual, you're more likely to be sexual. Anthropologist Margaret Mead found that the majority of women in cultures in which the female orgasm was supported and considered appropriate were orgasmic; in cultures that viewed female orgasm as inappropriate, most women didn't have orgasms.

So if you think the way you were raised or the cultural environment you find yourself in today might play a role in any sexual problems you're having, make an appointment with your health care professional or consider consulting a therapist to talk about it. No matter how many pills, creams or lotions scientists come up with, talking is still an important part of understanding and resolving sexual problems.

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