FEATURE: Queer Love – Keep The Fire Burning

August 19, 2022

By Jane Sandwood

It takes couples around three and a half years in a stable relationship to lose their spark, with three in four couples saying that it is hard to maintain passion and a sense of novelty after time has passed.

A 2016 study indicates that some gay men embrace open relationships as a way to maintain closeness and distance all at once. However, for other couples, all acts of lovemaking are intimate and can potentially open the door to feelings developing for others.

Those who prefer to keep things monogamous may wonder if it is possible to maintain the passion they feel when they first meet their partner. Science has spoken – some couples do, indeed, maintain the sense of freshness, but it takes the right strategy and commitment.

Pursuing Sexual Communal Strength

A study published in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science, has found that individuals who are motivated to fulfil their partner’s sexual needs also receive greater benefits for themselves.

This sense of ‘sexual communal strength’ (which results from focusing on one’s partner’s sexual goals) promotes greater daily sexual desire, and it keeps it stronger in the long term. On the contrary, people with a low level of sexual communal strength tend to experience a decline in desire over time.

Embracing Self-Expanding Activities

Another way to keep desiring your partner in the long term, is to engage in ‘self-expanding activities’ with them – as found in a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The researchers recruited over 200 couples who had been in an exclusive (straight or gay) relationship for approximately eight years. The couples were asked to write down whether or not they had taken part in self-expanding activities – those that led to feelings of greater awareness and an expanded sense of self or greater knowledge about the world.

Results showed that on days when couples took part in self-expanding activities with their partner, they also felt more sexual desire for their loved one. They were also more likely to have sex and feel satisfied in their relationships.

If you are looking for ideas for novel experiences to enjoy as a couple, know that these don’t have to involve too much expense or planning. Fun ideas range from finding a perfect spot for stargazing to enjoying a romantic picnic, taking a balloon right, or spending an unexpected romantic night away.

Romantic Details Matter

In case you thought that the tiny details like flowers on Valentine’s, dinner for two, or date night at the movies didn’t matter, think again!

Research published in the Review of General Psychology shows that couples who report greater romance in their relationship are more satisfied than those who only have companion-like love. Romance isn’t just about boxes of chocolate and Champagne. It also involves actively making your partner feel like you are there for them, and feeling, in turn, that they are there for you. Insecurity is a romance killer so do your best to work on your self-esteem as well.

It can take just a few years for fiery relationships to go a little colder. This does not have to happen to you, so long as you take a few key steps to keep your passion alive. Aim to pursue communal strength, try self-expanding activities out, and remind your special someone that they matter and that you see and hear them as brightly and loudly as you did on your first date.