The desire and physical attraction between couples who has been together for decades is bound to lessen over time. Although at one point, a pair may have found it difficult to keep their hands off each other, there comes a time when you may just want to simply enjoy each other’s company outside of the bedroom. Sexual intimacy, however, is an important part of any romantic relation. So, how do you keep the fire burning? Researchers at the University of Rochester may have found a way to help.
The mistake many couples make in trying to keep the fire burning is to spend every moment they can in the bedroom. While this method can be effective, it won’t solve the problem long term. Gurit Birnbaum, who is a psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel, affirms that if couples are receptive to each other outside of the bedroom, more action is bound to happen inside of the bedroom. Birnbaum found that women especially appreciate their partner’s responsiveness during day-to-day life.
Birnbaum explains that this responsiveness is actually a type of intimacy. Responsiveness shows a partner that the other person truly cares about their well-being and happiness by investing the most important resource, time, into them. Besides keeping the fire burning, responsive partners aim to show their loved one that their relationship is very special and unique, a quality that we all value in an intimate relationship with someone.
Birnbaum wrote a study that was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology with Harry Reis, who is a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. The urge to create this study was largely driven by the intimacy-desire paradox. This is the contradictory feelings people experience in a familiar, intimate relationship, versus those felt when one person desires another. Many people strive for a truly intimate relationship and it’s widely recognized that the feelings behind desire are fleeting.
This paradox has been widely studied by many scholars throughout the years. They argue that the urge to keep the fire burning in long term relationships is not very strong. These previous studies haven’t taken into account a true sense of intimacy and responsiveness and whether these factors help strengthen sexual desire or not. Birnbaum and Reis argue that if genuine intimacy exists in a relationship, there may not be a paradox.
The true secret to keeping the fire burning in a long term relationship is to be responsive to your partner. Birnbaum and Reis were able to conclude this by studying 100 couples who kept diaries for six weeks. They included things like their level of sexual desire and how responsive their mate was being. It was concluded that the participants who felt special because of their partner’s actions experienced a higher level of sexual desire. Again, this behavior was even stronger in women than in men. So, guys, it’s time to work on your responsiveness game.