Familiarity breeds contempt—or so goes the old expression. But according to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, that doesn’t have to be the case (good news for those who just gave their partner the side eye). Rather, couples who are attentive to each other still have good sex. A-ha.
So, your sex life with your longtime partner doesn’t have to dry up and become nonexistent as the years go by, as all romantic comedies seem to tell us they do. Instead, you can keep your sex life alive and flourishing by (really) paying attention to your partner’s needs.
“People who perceive their partner as responsive believe that this partner understands and appreciates their needs, as well as reacts supportively to their goals,” says lead study author Gurit E. Birnbaum, PhD.
“Engage in mutual conversation and listen with an open mind—really listen, without interrupting or pre-judging or showing off,” she adds in an interview with Time. “Then do one’s best to give the partner’s needs, wishes, and desires every bit as much importance, if not even more, than one’s own.”
Responsiveness, according to the study, is an intimacy-building behavior that makes your significant other feel special and valuable—which leads to them to sexually desire you more. Hey, it makes sense. Who feels attracted to a partner who doesn’t respond to texts?
So if you’re looking to keep the romance alive in the bedroom, listen to your partner and give them the emotional response they need. And even if you’re busy, remember: Keep up with your texts (we know, we know, it’s a problem). In a pinch, we’ve got a few emojis you might want to use.
Originally posted August 8, 2016, updated July 26, 2018.
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