Have you and your partner lost that loving feeling? Hopefully not. But if you want to know how to keep those embers burning, you may be interested in knowing how other couples are doing it.
In one of the largest studies to date that scientifically examines what makes for a long-term satisfied sex life, a few not-so-surprising factors came out on top including:
- Setting the mood
- Mixing it up
- And expressing love
But what made this special combination work for the passionately in-love 40ish-year-old study participants was their commitment to doing these things regularly. Proof that to keep the fire burning you have to stoke it.
Keys to a satisfied sex life
The researchers found that the more-satisfied couples reported going the extra mile by planning date nights and setting a romantic mood with candles or music. They also expressed their love in intimate behaviors beyond the sex act by cuddling, sharing gentle and deep kisses, laughing together and saying “I love you” to their partners during love-making.
Dr. Janet Lever, a co-author on the study, stated “It was encouraging to learn that more than one-third of couples kept passion alive, even after a decade or two together. That won’t happen on auto pilot; these couples made a conscious effort to ward off routinization of sex.”
But not all study participants had managed to hold onto that loving feeling. Other key findings of the What Keeps Passion Alive? study revealed:
- Satisfied men and women were more likely to report that their last sexual encounter with their partner was “passionate,” “loving and tender,” or “playful”. Nearly half of sexually dissatisfied women (43 percent) said that they were “just going through the motions for my partner’s sake” compared to only 13 percent of sexually dissatisfied men during their last sexual encounter. Few people reported feeling pressured into sex by their partner (2 to 3 percent).
- About half of satisfied men (49 percent) and women (45 percent) reported their last sexual encounter lasted more than 30 minutes, compared to only 26 percent of dissatisfied men and 19 percent of dissatisfied women.
- Men and women who enjoyed a satisfied sex life were more likely to say they:
- tried a new sexual position
- wore sexy lingerie
- experimented with sexual toys
- took a shower or bath together
- talked about or acted out fantasies
- gave or had a massage
- went on a romantic getaway
- or made a date night to have sex.
- Feeling desired by their partners appears to be more of a problem for men than for women. Only 42 percent of women reported they felt less desired by their partner now than in the beginning compared to 59 percent of men. In contrast, two-thirds of men compared with half of women reported feeling as much desire, or more desire, for their partner now as in the beginning of the relationship.
- Most men and women reported feeling the same or more emotional closeness during sex now than in the first six months of their relationship (69 percent of men and 72 percent of women). Less than half of dissatisfied men and women, however, felt this way.