Originally published @ mindbodygreen
By Devon Barrow
A long-term relationship comes with so many benefits—company throughout life’s inevitable ups and downs, a No. 1 fan on the sidelines of your dreams, and the freedom to eat your messy tacos in peace. Even so, it’s natural to miss the sexy energy of when it all began: the lustful excitement, conversing deep into the night, and walking through life as a literal heart-eyed emoji.
As a relationship graduates into the long-term realm, the passion will change—but it doesn’t have to disappear. Even if the flame has fizzled, a juicy connection can be rekindled with intention and a little work (if you can really call Dame’s sexual wellness toys “work”). We know relationships are one of the most fulfilling aspects of life, so to keep yours burning bright, we connected with certified sex therapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., LMFT, CST.
So, why does the flame fizzle?
“The initial heat and passion people feel at the beginning of a relationship is called limerence, or ‘the honeymoon phase.'” says Holly. “This phase is a powerful cocktail of novelty (the seat of human desire!), and hormones including cortisol, adrenaline, dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin.” But as fun as the honeymoon phase is, it’s not sustainable. “We’d literally burn ourselves out if we continually moved through the world that way,” Holly adds.
Limerence inevitably fades, but something just as valuable takes its place. “In healthy, long-term relationships, security—secure attachment—starts to take the place of novelty and excitement, which leads people to believe the spark is gone. It isn’t necessarily gone, it just needs to be re-lit in a different way,” she describes.
Light it up…
Novelty and sexual desire go hand-in-hand. As novelty fades into familiarity, what excites us will change—but no need to panic. Relighting the spark is not a sign of failure but an opportunity to understand our loved one in a new way. “To rekindle the spark, remember who each other is outside of the relationship,” Holly explains. “Reflect on the qualities that attracted you to your partner in the early days. Who are they outside of how they relate to you? Many times, when we move into security…we leave the independent and autonomous parts of ourselves behind. To reignite our partner’s interest in us and us in them, we need to reengage our authenticity.”
…and rekindle the romance.
But how do we turn that spark into a warm, romantic fire? By regularly stoking connection through activities that arouse intrigue and novelty:
- Pursue novelty together: “Can you take a trip? Or, can you take a staycation weekend and pursue a new hobby during those two days? The feeling you’re going for is one of partnership, teamwork, having each other’s back and ‘us against the world,'” says Holly.
- Take risks and step outside the box: Get the camping gear together and explore the backcountry; make sushi from scratch; sign up for salsa lessons; or venture to a remote island. According to Holly, taking risks can trigger hormones like adrenaline and endorphins to mimic the limerence phase.
- Seek sexual novelty: “On one end of the spectrum, you could talk about consensual nonmonogamy—going to a play party or having a guest star in one of your sexual experiences. On the other end, maybe it’s simply incorporating a new toy or erotic materials (porn/audio erotica) into your sexual repertoire,” suggests Holly.
- Keep your stress in check: Considering stress is one of the leading obstacles to sexual desire for women, set an intention to keep your stress in check. And if you need a little help—Dame’s new Desire Gummies are designed to support stress management and help you get in the mood.*
- Focus on sexual wellness: Just like regularly working out or eating healthily, sexual wellness requires consistent attention—and that might look like inviting toys into the mix or more comfort with Dame’s Massage Oil or Arousal Serum. It can also look like keeping the lines of communication open, scheduling more sex, or how about all of the above?
Penciling in playtime.
Play and curiosity are natural byproducts of a new connection, but we can intentionally cultivate them in long-term relationships too. And what gets us embracing play more than toys? Dame’s products for pleasure are designed to nourish sexual wellness and deepen connection. Whether it’s the EvaⓇ, a bestselling, wearable clitoral vibrator purposed for pleasurable partner play, or the AerTM, a powerful arousal toy designed to mimic oral play—these thoughtfully engineered toys inspire instant play and novelty between the sheets.
“New toys and products check the novelty box,” Holly confirms. “I recommend Dame products because I know they are safe and do not include toxic materials, and they are designed and engineered with female bodies in mind, which have been historically overlooked by many adult product manufacturers.” But beyond reigniting the flame, Dame helps us stay connected to the sexual aspect of our well-being. “I appreciate that Dame’s products consider sexual health as an essential part of overall health and therefore create products that support a healthy lifestyle, inclusive of all types of people and relationships, as well as body positivity and sex positivity.”
There’s no love like yours.
No one’s here to deny the bright and shiny thrills of a new relationship. But expecting what worked in the honeymoon phase to light your fire now is a bit like comparing apples to oranges. When you’re with one person for long enough, the environment of your connection will evolve. And to keep things sexy, we have to let our expectations and rituals evolve too. “Focus on what makes your relationship unique,” Holly concludes. “How are you unlike any other couple? What makes your partner a romantic/sexual partner rather than just a friend?”
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.