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5 Ways to reignite passion for your lover

Miya Yamanouchi is a dynamic empowerment counsellor with specialist sexual health training who helps people to embrace their authenticity & access their inner power source.

How to keep sexual attraction alive in long-term relationships

Our mind is programmed to take notice of new things. So, when things remain the same, our attentiveness diminishes and we turn our attention elsewhere. Psychologists call it the process of habituation.

Yes, the mind notices differences. When things stay the same, the mind tunes out, because our trusty brains don't actually register things that don't change. Our bodies, well, they tend to be oblivious to anything that isn't likely to make a difference to us. When we've seen our lover naked so many times, we become completely desensitized to the visual, despite the fact that the first time they undressed, the display was highly titillating.

Remember back in limerence  — the honeymoon phase of your relationship — when your lover seemed like a surreal dream you simply couldn't keep your mind, eyes and hands off? Remember when his touch was intoxicating, and you couldn't get enough of that feeling of a drug-like high you would get from merely being in his company? Remember when being beside her gave you butterflies, watching her call come through on your phone made you feel like a million dollars, kissing her swept you away to another place and time and sex made you giddy with oxytocin — the love drug?

If you're reading this, those feelings probably seem like nothing more than a fragment of the past, a memory you hold onto and wonder where those precious and insatiable moments went. You want to know how you can reclaim them.

You know it's not that your lover has lost his sex appeal. Others find him as mesmerizing and irresistible as you once did. Strangers can't keep their eyes off your lover, just wishing to be in the place you're in, yet you just don't feel that same feeling. You want it back, ever so desperately, but you question whether it is possible.

In her 2013 Ted Talk, world-renowned sex therapist and sex researcher Esther Perel perfectly puts it all into perspective:

"So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide. Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe, all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it's a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that."

She shares her research findings from interviewing thousands of men and women on the topic of long-term sexual desire, from 20 countries across the globe. She discovered five things you need to know to reignite passion and keep sexual attraction alive in your long term relationship.

Understand the ingredients of sexual attraction, in order to recreate them.

The main elements of sexual attraction include: adventure, novelty, mystery, risk, danger, the unknown, the unexpected, surprise and spontaneity.

Have time apart — long enough to be able to imagine being with your partner.

Absence and longing are critical elements of desire. When we are attracted to someone, our imagination conjures up thoughts of what it would be like to be with her, to express a sexual moment with her. When we are with our loving, long-term partner, we stop imagining. That's why being away from her for long enough to begin imagining how it would look like and feel to be with her is essential.

We are most drawn to our lovers when they are just a little out of our sight and reach.

When you attend a social function together and you see him mingling with others across the room, you might suddenly feel an urge to take him to the bathroom and do bad things to him. This can even be an energetic thing as well, like when he is in the same room as you but is focusing on something else, like being on the phone or deeply engrossed in their work? It makes you want to naughtily distract him, doesn't it?

When we see our partners in their element, we get turned on.

Think back to those times when you've seen your lover doing something he is highly skilled at, exuding confidence. We are automatically attracted to that. When we are seeing him in his element, he returns to being a mystery to us, an elusive being we desire. Our familiar partner becomes a separate entity to us, and that is what makes him sexually appealing.

The great, French writer Marcel Proust once said, "Mystery is not about traveling to new places, but it's about looking with new eyes." When you look upon your lover on his own, passionately engaged and focused on something, you instantly see him in a different light, through an altered perspective, enabling you to remain, as Perel puts it, "Open to the mysteries that are living right next to me."

Become independent of your lover on all levels.

Needy isn't sexy — we all know that. There is no neediness in desire. Perel describes care-taking as a "powerful anti-aphrodisiac." Make sure you make yourself as independent as you can to enable optimum desire.

So, there you have it, five must-knows to kick start your desire for your long-term love. If you implement all these into practice over a period of time and still feel nothing, consider talking to your partner about an open or polyamorous relationship.

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