When you and your spouse have been together for 10 or more years, your relationship likely feels comfortable and easy, but not necessarily smoldering hot. (If things aren’t so easy at the moment, these 5 therapist-approved tips can get you through any rough patch.) But that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a content but passionless marriage. Try these 20 ways to rekindle your desire for one another and feel frisky again—long after he’s seen you use the toilet and you’ve washed his dirty socks for the umpteenth time.
Keep yourself feeling hot.
When you try to look your best, whether refreshing your hairstyle and wardrobe or working out a few times a week, not only will it please your mate, but you’ll boost your self-confidence, too. (Need fresh beauty advice, weight loss tips, and more get-fit inspiration? Sign up here to get our FREE newsletters delivered straight to your inbox.) “Making an effort to spruce up your appearance on a regular basis can help you get in the mood and shows that you care about and value yourself,” says Dr. Kat Van Kirk, resident relationship/sex expert at Adam & Eve and author of The Married Sex Solution: A Realistic Guide to Saving Your Sex Life.
The thrill of doing something new can put the spark back in your relationship. Think jet skiing, trying a new brewery, or exploring an unfamiliar neighborhood—whatever excites both of you. “Research has shown that spontaneity is an important component to happy, long-term relationships,” explains Dr. Kat.
Touch each other.
Don’t underestimate the power of touch. Everything from a squeeze on the arm to a hug will go a long way toward keeping the two of you connected. (Or you can give your partner a sensuous massage with this Aromatherapy Massage Oil, $16 from the Prevention Shop.) “Random intimate touching can also reinforce spontaneity as well as increase your oxytocin levels helping you both to feel more bonded,” says Dr. Kat. (And it’ll make you more inclined to get it on—like in these 7 everyday occasions that call for hot sex.)
Actually do date night.
Though it may seem predictable, scheduling one-on-one time with your spouse, especially if you have young children, is vital for maintaining your romantic connection. “Taking time to enjoy your couple-hood is an investment in your relationship which is good for the whole family,” says Dr. Kat, who believes happy couples make happier parents (science says so, too).
Have more sex.
When you maintain a healthy and frequent sex life, you’re taking the first step to ensure that you and your partner keep the passion alive. (Here’s what happened when one woman tried scheduling sex for a month.) “Sometimes acting ‘as if’ you’re craving sex, just to get the sexual energy up can give you both the jump-start that helps create a new pattern,” says Dr. Kat. “Also, having sex on a regular basis will balance your hormones so you’ll want sex more. Sex begets sex.” (Try this 30-day challenge for a hotter, more fulfilling sex life.)
Explore common interests.
Find a hobby you both love, and share the experience. Whether it’s wine tasting or running, it’ll be better together. “Having some common interests can give you both context of one another outside the home,” says Dr. Kat. “Plus it can build goodwill and allow you to have fun.” (Want to start running with your spouse, but don’t know where to start? If you’re over 40, read these 8 things before hitting the pavement together.)
Stop taking your partner for granted and go back to those old techniques you used to catch their eye in the first place. Once you do, they’ll reciprocate. “Think back to the effort both of you made to get one another’s attention,” suggests Dr. Kat. “Whether it was a sexy note or some innuendo, it can help you remember the spark that brought you together.”
Turn off your phones.
It’s easy to get absorbed in computers, phones, and all our other electronic devices. Make a conscious effort to put the tech away for at least one hour a night, and you’ll find that the opportunities for romance rise. “Putting it away to focus on your partner sends a strong signal that they are important and valued,” says Jacq. (Bonus: You’ll feel less anxious. Here are 4 ways your phone is stressing you out—and how to take control.)
And have separate interests.
Having a life apart from your spouse gives you something to talk about when you do come together, and that little bit of mystery can be very sexy. “Therapist David Scnarch suggests that being overly enmeshed with your partner can cause issues between you and lead to a disinterest in sex,” explains Dr. Kat. “However, if you can maintain some differentiation then the both of you will be more fulfilled.”
Put your spouse first.
Understandably, it’s easy for parents to lead a kid-centric life, but remember, when you show your children what it’s like to be in a loving relationship, everyone benefits! So kiss your spouse hello first when you get home (and try these 5 ways relationship experts keep their marriages strong). “Novelist Ayelet Waldman had a point when she said she loved her husband more than her kids,” says Dr. Kat. “Her rationale was that she consciously chose her husband and that romantic love needs to be different from the love you have for your children. And it’s because of this perspective that she and her husband have enjoyed 24 years with a very active sex life.”
This sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget. Do little things to remind each other that you care, like putting your spouse’s favorite juice in the fridge or surprising them with a heartfelt thank you. “Being thoughtful and compassionate towards your partner shows that you’re paying attention to their desires,” says Dr. Kat. “This translates well to the bedroom and models the way you may want to be treated.”
Sign up for a class you’re both interested in. If you and your partner learn together, whether it’s French or yoga, you’ll also grow together. (Try doing these stretches that will seriously boost your sex life.) “Learning together helps you discover new things about your partner and how they interact with the world,” says Jacq. “That ‘newness’ can spark sexy feelings.”
Eat dinner together.
With busy schedules it’s easy to skip this ritual, but eating together (without the TV) ensures that you’ll catch up and communicate, and that’s the foundation for any great romance. (It’s easy to overlook these relationship killers—are you guilty of doing any?) “Sit down, put the phones away, turn off the TV, close your laptop, and talk,” says Jacq. And make eye contact. “Remember when you first met, and you couldn’t stop looking at each other?” she says. “Try doing it again and see what happens.”
Take a trip down memory lane with your lover to remember the great experiences that first brought you two together. “As we spend more time in a relationship, and feel increasingly safe and stable, we need to get creative about how to reawaken that mystery,” says Jacq. “Doing something we did at the beginning of the relationship can help reawaken those feelings.” (This 2-minute trick can strengthen any relationship.)
Remembering what sparked your interest or made you laugh together in the past can help bring those lighthearted and loving feelings to your present day. Now, get busy making some new memories that you can talk about in years to come.
Have fun with foreplay.
When you’ve been with the same person for a long time, it’s easy to let sex become automatic. Focusing on foreplay ensures that you’ll really be feeling it—and connecting with each other. “Foreplay is even more important as we age,” says Jacq. “The sexual response cycle slows down for everyone with age, so physical response can require more intense stimulation.” In other words, take your time and enjoy it—and try these 7 foreplay tips from real women.
Be adventurous in bed.
Whether it’s a new toy (like these 9 expert-approved ones), a new position, or just a different room of the house, novelty can go a long way toward fueling desire. “Buy a book of erotica, such as Only You: Erotic Romance for Women . Look through it and mark it up with Post-Its on the parts that sound fun,” suggests Jacq. “Then hand the book to your partner with a smile.”
Watch each other work.
There’s no bigger turn-on than seeing your partner do what they’re good at. Take notice the next time your partner’s in their element—it’s hot! “Most of us are different at work than at home, so watching your partner work can help make them new again,” says Jacq. “Mystery and excitement help turn up the heat in the bedroom.” (Here’s what happened when one woman masturbated while her boyfriend watched.)
Even if a trip to Barcelona isn’t in the cards right now, one way to get excited about life with your partner is to imagine the possibilities. So dream big, and do it together. “Flip through a magazine, or print out pictures from your favorite websites and make a vision board,” suggests sex educator Jacq Jones. “Turning your dream into something physical makes it one step closer to reality.” (For inspiration, check out these 41 enchanting places you must visit in your lifetime.)
In a way, kissing is an even more intimate activity than intercourse, but it’s one that long-term couples let fall by the wayside. (You’ve stopped kissing during sex, and 7 other sex ruts, solved!) So plant one on your spouse when he least expects it—and then do it again. “Try spending an evening making out on the couch,” suggests Jacq. “Decide that intercourse is off the menu and focus on making out. See where that takes you!”
Share your fantasies.
Talking about the stuff that turns you on can open the door to new possibilities with your partner. “Knowing what your partner fantasizes about can provide a great place to start for dirty talk,” says Jacq. “It can also give you some ideas of things you may want to bring from fantasy to reality.” You don’t have to reveal every fantasy you have, but being more honest can only make you more satisfied in bed in the long run. (Think your fantasy is too over-the-top? Don’t worry, sex therapists have heard it all.)