My parents are divorced, and I have no long-term relationship to speak of. The whole being together FOREVER thing has always been a little bit confusing for me.
Of course, there's the whole putting up with another human being for a long amount of time aspect that really throws me for a loop. But then, there's the whole "you still have to want to have sex with them" thing.
That can last for, like, 60 years! Even when you're old and gross, that's the one person you should want to bang. That is nuts to me.
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE SPARK ALIVE FOR THAT LONG?
Well, a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology seeks to answer that one question. Simply put, there is one thing that will increase and maintain sexual desire over a long period of time: responsiveness.
Gurit Birnbaum, psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, Israel, explains,
Our research shows that partners who are responsive to each other outside the bedroom are able to maintain their sexual desire.
So, what exactly is a "responsive partner" outside the bedroom?
A responsive partner knows how to invest time and energy into making sure the relationship feels special and unique. They know how to make their partners feel understood on a deeper level.
The study was partly brought about by a concept known by psychologists as the "intimacy-desire paradox." The paradox is basically built upon the foundation that the novelty and uncertainty of new relationships are conducive to sexual desire.
The next logical step is obviously that the intimacy and familiarity of a long-term relationship will totally murder this sense of sexual desire.
But Birnbaum and co-author, Harry Reis, beg to differ.
For their study, the two researchers conducted three experiments. One of these experiments had 100 couples keep diaries for six weeks. Every day, each member of the couple was asked to report on both their own level of sexual desire and their perceptions of their partner's responsiveness.
Turns out, when men and women perceive their partners as responsive, they feel special and think of their partners as a desirable mate. Then, they want to bone.
TAKE THAT, INTIMACY-DESIRE PARADOX.