By Diana Kelly

When I started thinking about “passion” as a blog topic, something popped into my head right away: “passion envy.” I’m not sure that this is an official phrase, but when you don’t have passion in your life (whether it’s your everyday life, career, or relationships) and you find yourself confronted with those who do, you might have experienced a pang of this. Passion envy could be witnessing that couple at the table next to you in the restaurant smiling at each other, holding hands, and spending more time kissing than eating.  And yes, while too much kissing and PDA is distracting when you’re dining next to this couple, it might remind you of a time in your life many years ago when you and your partner were “those” people in the restaurant, and you’re not anymore.

I don’t know about you, but I also associate passion with movies (and therefore “fictional situations”)—the perfect kisses between strangers, the husband and wife characters who still have a roaring sex life after being together for decades, and the couple who have mind-blowing sex every time. Just like we might feel bad that we’ll never have that sexy actress’s figure, these romantic situations can sometimes make our own romantic lives feel “less than.” (Unless you and your partner have that mind-blowing sex every time, and if that’s the case…keep doing what you’re doing.) 

It’s not always easy to keep passion at the forefront of your relationship for a long period of time. And when your sex life feels stale and you’ve been with the same guy for many anniversaries, purchasing a new pair of panties probably isn’t going to flip your sex life on its head. Because we’re all different, what feels passionate and exciting for you and your guy probably won’t work for everyone. But if you want to spice things up in the bedroom a bit, why not experiment with some of these research-proven tips to see what works. Who says science is boring?

Go on a trip without your man.

Yes, I just told you to heat up your sex life by getting out of town, and I don’t want you to find someone else. Some researchers found that when people were away from their partners, they found one another more attractive when they returned. So, make that girlfriends weekend happen or go off on that trip that your guy never wanted to take.

Watch your guy excel at something.

Whether he’s passionate about putting a delicious meal on the table, takes care in fixing stuff around the house, or patiently helps Junior with his homework each night, watching him “hold his own” in his element could spark your desire and remind you of those wonderful qualities you fell in love with in the first place.

Do something adventurous.

Plan a date that’ll scare you in a good way and get adrenaline pumping since increased adrenaline levels boost sexual desire. Researchers from the University of Texas found that riding a roller coaster may elevate sexual arousal afterwards. Get out of your date rut and find something fun and different to do whether it’s checking out the local amusement park or going four-wheeling on your next vacation.

Let him watch you with your toys. 

Consider introducing your sex toys into partnered sex to make your next romp feel fresh and fun. Ask him how he feels about watching you use your vibrator in front of him, or ask him if he’d like to use it on you. If he’s into the idea (and experts say there’s a good chance he will be), show him how you like to use it on you, what feels good, and how he can help. In an article I wrote for Shape.com about masturbation, I talked to sex and relationship expert Logan Levkoff, Ph.D., about introducing adult toys into your sex life with your guy. “We have this idea men are threatened by vibrators, but they’re not,” Levkoff says. “Look at adding a sex toy to your relationship as something that complements sex.” Let the games begin!