Good sex for the long haul

I often share articles by Elizabeth Bernstein of the Wall Street Journal. Last fall she wrote about new research on what keeps sexual desire alive in long-term relationships. It was based on research from psychologists in Israel. As a former journalist, I appreciate Elizabeth’s “lead,” the quick hit:

“How can a couple keep their sexual desire going for the long haul?

Be nice to each other.

New research shows one way to keep desire strong is to be responsive to your partner’s needs out of the bedroom.”

This corresponds to the work of Dr. John Gottman who advises that couple maintain a strong Fondness and Admiration System by which couples encourage each other with kind words. When Marilyn Varcoe and I wrote our book “Toxic Stress: 7 Steps to Recovery,” we included a light-hearted segment called “Words to Stay Married By.” Thank you. You look fantastic tonight. That was sweet. I understand.

Elizabeth writes: “People who are responsive do three things: They understand what their partner is really saying, validate what is important to their partner, such as his or her attitudes, goals and desires, and care for or express warmth and affection toward their partner.”

See, we’re all on the same page.

Citing the researchers, the WSJ article advised this:

  • “Start now. It is better to prevent a decline in desire than to try to revive it when it is lost.”
  • Listen without judging. Don’t interrupt.
  • Pay attention to details. Look for ways to show your understanding and support.
  • Talk about your desire. Share your fantasies. Watch a sexy movie and talk about parts you like best.”

For my part, I suggest you and your partner write your own “Words To Stay Married By” and post them in your bedroom. A visual reminder to be sweet to your sweetie.