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Reignite that spark and rekindle your love

Published: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 10:47 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014 1:21 p.m. CDT

Doctors for USA WEEKEND

If you're like many couples, after years together (and maybe a few kids) the passion can cool. But with some effort, you can re-ignite that spark. Dr. Jennifer Berman and Dr. Rachael Ross, co-hosts on The Doctors and experts in women's sexual health and medicine, share their best tips to help keep the romance alive in long-term relationships.

Schedule together-time ...

It doesn't sound romantic to block "significant other" slots on your calendar. But it shows you're making an effort, and you're more likely to be emotionally present when together.

…but don't forget yourself

Your needs and interests shouldn't get pushed aside for the sake of a relationship. You'll actually be a more active and engaged partner if you take time to nurture your own health and spirit.

Touch.

That could mean kissing, cuddling or even simply holding hands. Physical contact helps release oxytocin, a neurochemical that activates pleasure centers in the brain and create feelings of intimacy.

Do the unexpected.

Novelty is important — and not just in bed. Try new restaurants, do something active, or think back to when you first met, and redo the fun things that initially helped you connect. Or if you're on the friskier side, consider role-playing during the day by texting your partner in your alter-ego or pleasuring your love at an unpredictable time (like first thing in the morning to help jumpstart the day!)

Talk.

Open, honest communication is key to build trust and connect, to feel safe and loved. So when something is bothering you, calmly explain. When your partner does something you appreciate, say thanks.

Wear the nightie.

No it's not cheesy after all these years, nor is it a wasted effort. Men are very visual.

Make a fantasy box.

It's one way to keep sex exciting and new—maybe you want to try a new position, make love in a public place, or something a little wilder. Whatever it is, just write it down for your partner to see. Doing so also helps to start a discussion about your preferences and desires. Once you get comfortable talking about (and during) sex, it can help take things to a new level.

Consider a "staycation."

No money for a trip? It doesn't matter where you are — being together, focused on each other, and having fun is great medicine for an ailing relationship.

Explore spirituality.

Maybe even go on a couples retreat. When you start to contemplate life on a deeper level, it gives you new perspective on what's important.

Consider your sexual health.

If you have a decreased sex drive, vaginal dryness or any other issues that are affecting your desire, talk to your doctor. She may help determine a cause, as well as possible treatment options.

The Doctors is an Emmy-winning daytime TV show with pediatrician Jim Sears, OB-GYN Lisa Masterson, ER physician Travis Stork, plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon, health and wellness expert Jillian Michaels and psychologist Wendy Walsh. Check www.thedoctorstv.com for local listings.

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