You probably didn't need a study to tell you this, but research confirms that sex is one of the ingredients that's most crucial to making long-term relationships thrive. Early on, feeling sexy and passionate isn't hard—but things can get trickier as the years go on. Hoping to bust out of a dry spell or prevent those embers from fading? Don't make these common mistakes.
Mistake #1: Thinking you need a "date night" to reconnect.
If you're like most couples, the first thing you do when you want to reconnect with your partner is put a "date night" on the calendar. "The idea is that after a fancy dinner, candlelight, and wine, you'll come home and want to jump each other," says Tammy Nelson, PhD, a sex and relationship therapist and author of The New Monogamy. But what really happens after a meal of rich food, a few glasses of wine, and a late night out? "Most couples want nothing more than to go to sleep," Nelson points out.
The fix: Send the kids out while you and your partner stay home alone. "Think of this as a sacred time for the two of you to practice 'planned' spontaneity," Nelson suggests. "It's a much better way to act out all of your fantasies, without feeling bloated and hungover the next day."
Mistake #2: Forgoing sex because you're not in the mood.
"Having a grown-up life is exhausting, and stress and fatigue can decrease desire," acknowledges Nelson. But if you wait to have sex until you have plenty of free time and boundless energy, you may be waiting a long time.
Plus, "for many people, particularly women, desire comes after arousal, not the other way around," Nelson notes. "That means once your body is sufficiently aroused, you may find you are more into sex than you realized."
The fix: Just do it, and you'll probably be glad that you did. If you're genuinely crazed from obligations and short on time, you can still fit in a quickie, says Nelson. "The sexual contact will make you feel connected to your partner and can reduce the stress in your marriage." Sex also helps release endorphins and dopamine, serotonin, and other brain chemicals that can reduce your stress during the day and help you sleep better at night.
Mistake #3: Falling into a rut.
There's something to be said for sex so familiar that you can anticipate what's coming next. "Each of you knows the buttons to push for the other, and if you have a routine that's giving the other a good orgasm, then by all means, keep at it," says Nelson. That's said, it's not uncommon for couples to get entrenched in habits that aren't working. They just aren't sure how to change them or worry that speaking up will hurt the other's feelings.
The fix: "Pick one day a week to do something different," suggests Nelson, "maybe a morning or an afternoon when you have more leisure time to expand on the erotic connection in your relationship." Start by telling your partner three things you appreciate about him sexually, plus one bedroom move you'd like more of. Then listen as your partner does the same.
"Talking about sex can increase the sexual tension between you, and if you do this exercise in bed, it can really turn up the heat," Nelson says.
For the other three relationship mistakes you might be making, click here for the original article from Prevention.