By Diana Kelly
Whether you’re in a new relationship or celebrated your silver anniversary with your husband, there are probably always a few areas that could be strengthened in your partnership. Here are seven strategies happy couples utilize to keep their relationship ties strong and their sex lives fresh and fun:
1. Celebrate subtle anniversaries.
Sure, your wedding anniversary is an important date to remember, but it’s not the only date on the calendar that mattered in your relationship, according to an article on Redbookmag.com. It’s even more intimate to celebrate less public moments that only you and your man know about, such as your first kiss, first time you made love, or even first vacation together.
2. Watch a sitcom that makes YOU laugh.
According to an article on PsychologyToday.com by Robert Provine, when researchers studied spontaneous conversations between mixed-sex pairs of German young adults meeting for the first time, they noted that the more a woman laughed aloud during these encounters, the greater her self-reported interest was in the man she was conversing with. In the same vein, men were more interested in women who laughed a lot while in their presence. Provine says in the article that this research complements observations from his field studies: “The laughter of the female, not the male, is the critical index of a healthy relationship.” So put on your favorite rom-com or engage in full belly laughs during ‘The Mindy Project’—it’s a turn-on for him.
3. Stop keeping score on who does what.
Chances are that even as a modern woman, you’re still doing the brunt of the housework and childrearing at home. But you don’t need to remind your guy of it constantly or list all the things you did this week for your household while he “just cleaned the gutters.” When couples keep tabs and tallying each task they’re (begrudgingly) doing, they may be headed for trouble. “Most couples think they should strive for a relationship that’s 50-50,” said family therapist Carolyn Perla, Ph.D., in an article on RedbookMag.com, “but the fact is, they should each give 150 percent. In good relationships, couples give everything they can.”
4. Try THIS sex trick.
If you’ve never looked into your partner’s eyes during orgasm, you’re missing out on an extremely intimate moment, says an article on Redbookmag.com. “It’s such a vulnerable moment that sharing it adds a huge degree of intimacy to your relationship,” says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago, in the article. She also notes that it’s a tricky move to master for a lot of long-term couples, so don’t give up if the full experience doesn’t happen on the first try.
5. Get creative with scents
Like a rugged guy who smells like he just worked with his hands? You’re not alone. A British survey found that women like their men to smell like petrol, leather, paint, or (what?!) printer ink, according to an article on WomensHealthMag.com. And before you pick up another expensive bottle of perfume at the department store, know that the men in the survey found women more attractive when they smelled like lipstick, baby lotion, or a roast dinner. (Okay, so the jury’s still out on what American men might want, but he’d probably be pretty happy if you made a roast for dinner this week!)
6. Be open to trying (or at least discussing) new positions.
In this article I wrote for Shape.com about “8 Things Men Wish Women Knew About Sex” guys tell sex therapists that they’d like you to act more uninhibited and confident when it comes to sex, and to be open to experimenting to see if different things are pleasurable for one or both of you. “Variety is part of what keeps the spice alive in a relationship and men definitely need that,” says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of Dr.LauraBerman.com in the article. While he doesn’t want you to do things you don’t enjoy (he’ll notice the lack of enthusiasm) give at least a fleeting thought to his desires (and air yours too!), and see what you’re both curious about, whether that’s new positions, locations, or costumes. “Sex is about a give and take,” Dr. Berman says. “At the end of the day, the best sex happens when you are connected and truly open about your needs and desires.”
7. Put a TV in Your Bedroom
While it might sound like it would be a distraction from getting frisky in the bedroom, a recent study found that people who have a television in their bedroom have twice as much sex as those who don’t, according to an article on WomensHealthMag.com. Having the TV there might make you more likely to order porn, with 37 percent of partners admitting to this guilty pleasure, according to the research. But 29 percent of people said being in the middle of a boring show made them want to have sex for some real entertainment.