Even if you brag to all your buddies about how steamy and raunchy your sex life is, that flame can burn out over time.
But recent research from the University of Rochester suggests there’s a way to prevent that—and, no, it’s not with more sex (though a weekly romp might make you happier).
Researchers conducted three experiments in all. But one, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, included 100 couples who kept a diary every day for six weeks. Both partners rated and dictated their level of sexual desire, how they perceived their partner’s responsiveness, how special they felt, and how much they saw their partner as a valuable mate. Turns out, “responsiveness” great correlated to sexual desire.
“Responsiveness—which is a type of intimacy—is so important in a relationship because it signals that one is really concerned with the welfare of the other, but in a way that is truly open and informed about what the other cares about and wants,” study author Gurit Birnbaum said in a press release. Not sure how to be more responsive—or what it even means?
It’s how much you answer and react to her with a degree of caring, understanding, and validation. Responsive partners are willing to invest in the relationship and show a deep level of consideration, Birnbaum explains. When you make her feel respected, special, and wanted, that’s going to rev much, much more gusto in the bedroom, according to results from the study. Responsiveness is huge for women. While men get a libido boost from responsiveness, a woman’s desire is more largely influenced and amplified by it.
“Sexual desire thrives on increasing intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time; better than any pyrotechnic sex,” Birnbaum says.
You hear that? Hanging from wall beams or having sex in crazy locations isn’t necessarily going to keep things heated. Interesting, maybe. But you’re better off shooting for making her feel desirable and unique. Don’t get it twisted, though…
“‘Being ‘nice’ and things like that are not necessarily based on who the partner is and what the partner really wants,” Birnbaum says. To be more responsive, actively try to keep the conversations on the topic at hand. If she tells you she just landed her dream job, but it’s across the country; a responsive partner will be congratulatory and supportive, rather than driving the conversation to them, selfishly—saying something like ‘There’s a fat chance in hell I’ll ever move to Alaska.’
Ultimately, the researchers argue you can have a long-term relationship with increasing sexual desire over time so long as there’s intimacy. Sure, the novelty and uncertainty of an unpredictable partner can fuel desire; but security stands the test of time.