Falling in love is easy.
Falling in lust easier still.
But to be in love and stay in love for decades takes commitment and work.
A recent study of sexual satisfaction in long-term relationships is being published this month in the Journal of Sex Research (you can read more about this at http://www.wsj.com/articles/what-keeps-couples-happy-long-term-1454961956)
The study, started in 2006, analyzed answers from 39,000 heterosexual couples that had been with their partners for at least 3 years.
The “No, duh!” result from the study? Men and women who are sexually satisfied are happier in their relationship.
Well, as Marvin Gaye said, “Let’s Get It On”.
But maybe a long-term loving relationship is not that simple. The study found that there were consistent habits of happy, long-term couples. And it is not just frequency of sex that creates a satisfying relationship. Other factors consistently came up amongst the couples.
The habits that show up consistently amongst the couples are mood setting, sexual variety, communication and frequency of orgasm (no, orgasm was not first among men).
What sets the mood? The most important, by far, is saying, “I love you”. Lighting a candle, dimming the lights, putting on music; these are all things that fall into the “No, duh!” category, but how often do you do this? Are you aware of how often you say, “I love you” to the one you love the most? Engaging in sexy talk and laughing were high on the list as well.
And what kind of communication is key? Well, scheduling a “date night” or a morning to be sure they had sex was mentioned by about 60% of the couples. Spontaneity is wonderful, but it is not a habit for most people.
Other types of communication that were mentioned in the study: Praise your partner. Communicate about what you want. Ask what the other person wants. Say what feels good. Ask for feedback. Talk throughout the day, not just at night. The more people communicate, the more satisfying the relationship. (No, duh again.)
We never stay the same in a relationship. We are always growing together, or growing apart. So take the time. Communicate. Schedule a date night. Light a candle. And not just on Valentine’s Day.