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How to Create Romantic Feelings Later in Marriage

by Dr. Sonya Lott, studioD

Ask some researchers and most long-term married couples and they'll tell you: The sizzle of romantic love naturally fizzles over time based as the novelty and the element of surprise decline in a sexual relationship. But a study published in the February 2012 issue of the journal “Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience” suggests that doesn't have to be the case. Researchers found that the brains of couples who reported feeling intense romantic love for one another, whether married more than twenty or less than four years, were very similar. The couples who had been married over twenty years also had more chemical activity in areas of the brain associated with emotional attachment. The results suggest it is possible to create and sustain romantic feelings later in marriage. So here are a few suggestions to get you on the path to recreating those romantic feelings reminiscent of your earlier years together-from a neuroscience perspective.

Take a romantic trip to a new destination. It doesn’t have to be a faraway or expensive trip. It can be a weekend getaway to a unique bed and breakfast in a unique town nearby. Getting away from your day to day routine and spending time together increases emotional attachment and feelings of well-being. Also, according to the study published in the “Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience” journal, novel and rewarding experiences stimulate the reward centers or dopamine rich systems in the brain-the same areas associated with romantic love. The experience of reward increases your desire to engage in more of the same activities.

Purchase an instructional video on tantric sex. Romantic love is characterized by sexual passion and close emotional attachment. Tantric sex focuses on emotional, spiritual, and sexual connection between partners, creating ecstatic experiences of pleasure. You and your spouse can practice these techniques at your own pace. An animation of the brain based on fMRIs during sexual activity, posted on The Visual MD website, suggests that blood flow to almost every area of the brain is increased during orgasm.

Find a partner yoga class in your area. According to Cain Carroll, a yoga instructor and author in the fields of self-healing and embodied spirituality, partner yoga with its focus on touch, support, and communication can strengthened a relationship. Partner yoga as a shared experience also provides an opportunity to relax and have fun together.

Pay more attention to your appearance. Part of the comfort of a long time marriage is the knowing that your partner accepts you no matter what. But wearing a short silken nightgown or boxers to bed stimulates your senses more than that old worn out T-shirt. Sleeping on silk linens also is more stimulating than sleeping in the buff on cotton thread sheets.

About the Author

Sonya Lott, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania, who offers online and in office counseling to individuals struggling with grief, loss or a life transition. She also facilitates mental health workshops for educational, professional, and community groups and maintains a blog on her website www.drsonyalott.com.

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