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A Surprising Way to Spark Desire

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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD - Blogs
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhDPsychologistAugust 17, 2016
From the WebMD Archives

When you met, sparks flew and you couldn’t get enough of each other. But then as you eased into a committed relationship, you probably found that your passions burned less brightly. The excitement of a new relationship only lasts so long before a deeper, more secure—but less lustful—connection emerges. So, as your relationship matures, you may need to make a more conscious effort to keep sexual desire alive. The good news is, the emotional intimacy you’ve built can spark the flame.

According to a recent study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, your responsiveness to your partner outside the bedroom can increase their sexual desire. For example, bringing flowers home to your partner after she had a rough day is being responsive to her feelings and needs. It’s worth noting that responsiveness increases sexual desire for both men and women, but it has a more powerful effect with women.

There are three ways that your responsiveness can increase sexual desire. First, your partner may desire you simply in response to being the object of your attention. Also, by paying attention, you might really “get” your partner, understanding their thoughts, feelings, and needs. When you convey a true understanding of your partner, they will probably feel more special, and in return, will feel more warmly toward you and have an increased desire for you. Finally, your responsiveness conveys a sense that you really care about and value your partner.

Interestingly, the study indicates that being highly responsive early in a relationship tends to not have the same effect on sexual desire. The researchers suggested that when someone is extremely responsive at the beginning of a relationship, it may come across as manipulative rather than truly caring.

In the context of committed relationships, though, responsiveness shows that you care about your partner, value who they are, and are invested in nurturing your relationship. As it turns out, this may be just the aphrodisiac you are looking for!

Entries for the Relationships blog are for general educational purposes only. They may or may not be relevant for your particular situation; and they should not be relied upon as a substitute for individual professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.

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About the Author
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

Dr. Becker-Phelps is a licensed psychologist in NJ and NY, and is on staff at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, Somerset. She is dedicated to helping people understand themselves and what they need to do to become emotionally and psychologically healthy. She accomplishes this through her work as a psychotherapist, speaker and writer. She is the author of Bouncing Back from Rejection and Insecure in Love.

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