Are you interested in spicing up your romantic relationship? A student and I just published a journal article relating to how to do that . The article* showed that a simple couples intervention increased relationship excitement, satisfaction, and mood, with effects lasting at least four months. I will put below the instructions, written primarily by K. Coulter, that led to the positive effects:
“Instructions for Increasing Relationship Excitement
Compile a List of Exciting Activities: Together with your partner, please compile a list of 10 potentially exciting or challenging activities. Challenge adds interest and creates the potential for more excitement. It is important to ensure that the chosen activities are realistic and manageable taking into consideration issues of cost and time. See below for ideas on how to enhance the excitement in your relationship.
Draw up a Plan: When you have jointly chosen an activity, write down the details, setting aside a particular time and place. Both of you sign the Plan. Try putting the Plan on the fridge where you can see it. Do at least one of the activities every week. Generating excitement takes a bit of time.
Activities to Enhance the Excitement in Your Relationship
To help you plan your activities it may be helpful to keep in mind the following words: Novel; Arousing; Adventurous; Exciting; Interesting; Passionate; Playful; Romantic; Sexual and Spontaneous. Here are some examples of activities successfully undertaken by couples to enhance their relationship excitement:
Explore new activities together: Find activities you both like, anything from dancing to playing tennis to horse-riding.
Be Adventurous: Try sky diving, canoeing or rock-climbing! Alternatively, visit an adventure park or plan a weekend away, somewhere neither of you have been to before.
Be Spontaneous: Surprise your partner and be unpredictable now and again. Unexpectedly, pick-up your partner from work and take him or her out to their favourite restaurant or to a movie he or she has expressed interest in seeing.
Be Playful: Do you remember the times when you and your partner used to enjoy just hanging out and playing together? Find an activity that the two of you can enjoy. You could try exploring, ice-skating, or dancing.
Be Passionate: Spend one solid hour exploring various kissing techniques. Make love three nights in a row and in three different places!
Be Romantic: Send or bring flowers home for no reason. Make your partners lunch and include a love note. If you don’t normally cook, light some candles and prepare your partners favourite meal. After dinner, snuggle up on the sofa with a romantic DVD. Take your partner on a picnic and include his or her favourite wine and food. While your lover is in the shower, or bath, put the bath towel in a hot dryer for a few minutes and deliver it in person.
Be Sexual: Experiment with a new sexual position, sexual aid (toy) or lubricant. Be different, try to please each other during foreplay instead of during intercourse. Try identifying and discussing each other’s sexual fantasies. Take turns trying them out. Buy books, magazines or DVDs with sexual stories that spark your interest. Purchase sexy lingerie. Plan a weekly sex night, and make it a priority.
Role Play: Remember the fun and excitement of dating? Arrange to meet your partner at a bar or restaurant and pretend you have just met or that this is your first date. Dress to impress. Set aside a date night every week and take turns taking each other out.
Be Sensual: Turn off the phone to ensure complete privacy with no interruption. Take a bubble bath together. Take turns massaging your partner, without leading to sex or orgasm. Ask your partner to verbalise what he or she enjoys the most.
Additional sources of information: You may find it useful to take a look at the following websites and books:
Joy of Sex: The Ultimate Revised Edition. By Alex Comfort. Publisher: Three Rivers Press.
Supersex for Life. By Tracey Cox. Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd.
Kama Sutra. By Tracey Cox. Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Ltd.
52 Ways to Stay in Love Forever. By Lynn Gordon. Publisher: Chronicle Books.
Never Have the Same Sex Twice: A Guide for Couples. By Alison Tyler. Publisher: Cleis Press Inc.
The New Art Of Erotic Massage. By A.Yorke & J. Davis. Publisher: Baker & Taylor.
Remember: Make time for just the two of you. Make the activities exciting and try a new activity every week. Have fun!”
*Coulter, K., & Malouff, J. (2013). Effects of an intervention designed to enhance romantic relationship excitement: A randomized-control trial. Journal of Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 2, 34-44.
I am thinking about writing a book on this topic. What other suggestions would you offer a couple?
John Malouff, PhD, JD
Assoc Prof of Psychology