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Keeping 'Happily Ever After' Hot

Tips for long-term love

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It wasn't luck that during your senior year of college, the person capable of igniting your passion sat next to you in class. It was divine intervention that brought you and your true love—no—your soul mate, together.

The years have passed since the first time your eyes locked in a long, lusty gaze. You've bought houses and made babies together, and your evenings have gone from kisses that last until the early morning hours to dozing on the couch and feigning interest in whatever is on the TV every time you twitch awake. You find yourself wondering if the heat is gone forever.

Krayna Castelbaum, who has a master's in health science, is a relationship coach for couples and the owner of Clear Lens Coaching in Bend. She says while desire diminishes over time, it's not necessarily problematic, and it doesn't mean the relationship is over.

"Use the natural ebb and flow of sexual desire as a call to explore your assumptions about sexuality and relationships together," says Castelbaum. "Be explorers."

Castelbaum offers the following advice for couples looking to keep things spicy for the long haul.

Source Weekly: What can couples do early on to keep their relationship exciting for years to come?

Krayna Castelbaum: Your partner cannot be the source of your...fulfillment. Instead, know what nourishes and enlivens you, stay true to that and bring it home. Your relationship will be enriched. Relying on a partner to approve of and validate your sense of self is a limitation. You'll find it impossible to be real, authentic and honest in or out of bed. One or the other of you will eventually feel suffocated.

This is also important: what's sought in domestic life stifles eroticism. Eroticism thrives on surprise, novelty, mystery, spontaneity, risk-taking and creative seduction. Domestic life is grounded in consistency, reliability, stability, safety and a certain degree of sameness. Safety and trust certainly open the way for eroticism, though they don't ignite it.

Broaden your understanding. Sex is a language rich and complex, not just something you do. Your bodies are instruments. If you only play in a narrow range, erotic passion withers. Develop an orchestral appreciation to your erotic life; practice your scales with playful joy.

SW: Do you have suggestions for couples struggling with decreased interest in bedroom activities after childbirth or other life stressors?

CK: Relax! It's crazy for us to think that anyone could fulfill the roles of homemaker, breadwinner, scheduler, chauffeur, friend, lover, confidant and co-parent, and have hot-bedroom energy, while simultaneously responding to life challenges. In light of this, can you bring kindness and understanding to one another? Lighten up on all those demoralizing expectations?

Castelbaum's Tips

Expand your definition of eroticism: drop ideas of intercourse and orgasm as the main event.

Try soft gazing into one another's eyes. If you do this during sex, you'll learn a ton.

Look at your partner when you part ways and reunite; greet with kindness.

Appreciate one another's efforts.

Get into bed at night without computers and cell phones. Hold one another with your eyes and/or your arms.

Send your partner a playfully seductive text without any expectations.

Be a lookout for the best in your partner and yourself.

Over and again, see your partner and yourself with fresh, new eyes.


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