If you think your sex life is in a rut, there's hope.
And the good news is that it doesn't require a gym membership, a new wardrobe or an attempt at role-playing to bring sexy back. Rather, the secret is quite simple — pay attention.
According to a recent study, our sexual desire for our partner is rooted in one of the most basic fundamentals of a healthy relationship — being attentive to your partner (but really). Psychologists and researchers in the study refer to it as "responsiveness."
The study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, asked 100 different couples to keep a diary for six weeks. Participants recorded their partners' level of responsiveness (or how "special" they made them feel that day) and also their level of sexual desire toward their partner.
The results showed that when someone perceived their partner as "responsive," the partner's stock shot up. In other words, the partner was viewed as a more valuable mate. In turn, sexual desirability and attraction toward the partner deepened, giving their libido a boost. Hubba-hubba.
How can you be more responsive to your partner? When he or she shares something with you, respond with 100 percent attention, empathy and affection. “Allow sufficient time to engage in mutual conversation and listen with an open mind — really listen, without interrupting or prejudging or showing off,” lead study author Gurit E. Birnbaum, Ph.D., tells Time in an interview.
Over time, the energy you put into paying attention to your partner will directly translate into his or her sexual attraction toward you and vice versa. And then suddenly — voilà! You're getting down in the bedroom, kitchen or shower once again.
Plus, not only does responsiveness breed intimacy, it also allows us to learn more about our partner and ourselves. So truly responding to each other will have long-lasting positive effects on your relationship.
It's only natural for that sexual spark to burn out over time in a relationship, but when you think about it, it's also normal for our attention toward one another to dull as well. Now we know that the parallel between the two isn't a coincidence.
Read more: The Best Sex Positions for Any Kind of Lover
What Do YOU Think?
Will you start paying more attention to your partner? Do you find them more attractive when they are responsive toward you? What are other ways you ignite the spark in your relationship?
Michelle is a mission-first journalist and content producer, telling stories that will help better other’s lives. She covers environment, health, human-interest, community and travel. Michelle lives in Santa Monica, Ca.