4 tips for maintaining passion and desire in a long-term relationship.

4 tips for maintaining passion and desire in a long-term relationship.

By Dr. Rel Friedman

 The health of a long-term intimate relationship depends on two things: excitement and security. However, achieving both is notoriously tricky. Follow along as we address four tips that help maintain desire in a secure long-term relationship. 

Tip 1:  Desire starts before physical intimacy begins. 

 Things that build desire in intimate relationships: 

  1.             Feeling wanted 
  2.             Feeling appreciated 
  3.             Feeling cherished 
  4.             Feeling heard 

Set aside 30 minutes where you and your partner(s) each find your own private space to create a 15-item list where you write down 15 things your partner could do to make you feel loved/ seen/ wanted/ appreciated.  

Exchange lists and rank your partner(s) items from 1-15. 1= easiest to do, 15= most difficult to do. Keep each other's lists, and, over the next week, commit to making a concerted effort to do something on your partner's list. Start with the easier things and work up to the harder ones. 

This exercise helps channel your energy back into the relationship. When each partner feels cared for and loved, desire will follow naturally.  


Tip 2:  Reduce expectations and increase desire. 

Intimacy without agenda 

Make a date for a 15-minute sensual cuddle and commit to not escalating to sex. 


Experience arousal and desire without the expectation of performance. 

Intimacy and desire for the sake of connection rather than a warmup for the "main event." 

Re-focuses connection as distinctly valuable in the relationship 

Provide an opportunity to slow down with your partner(s). 


Tip 3:  Sexual Scripts 

A sexual script is a set of steps that folks in long-term relationships tend to default to in their sexual interactions with their partner(s). 


Set aside 30 minutes where you and your partner(s) each find your own private space to write down your sexual script. Start this activity by reflecting on the typical series of steps that lead to physical intimacy between you and your partner(s) 

    • Who usually initiates? 
      • What does initiation look like? 
      • Is there foreplay? If so, what does that look like? 
      • How long does foreplay last? 
      • What does sex usually look like? 
      • What determines when sex is "done"? 
      •  Is there any aftercare? What does that look like? 


Come back together and review your script with your partner(s), noting differences and similarities. This exercise offers an excellent opportunity to get curious about how you and your partner(s) experience sexual intimacy in distinct ways. 


Tip 4: Sexual Fantasies 


Set aside 30 minutes where you and your partner(s) each find your own private space to write down a sexual fantasy featuring you and your partner(s). Start by reflecting on the questions you considered in the sexual script exercise. 

  • In your fantasy, what does initiation look like? 
  • Is there foreplay? What does it look like? How long does it last? 
  • How does sex look? Feel? Involve? 
  • When is it over? 
  • What does aftercare look like? 

Come back together and review your fantasies with your partner(s). When debriefing with your partner(s), consider the following questions: 

  • How do your fantasies align? 
  • How do your fantasies differ? 
  • What feelings come up when you hear your partner(s) fantasies? 
  • Did you learn anything new about yourself or your partner(s)? 

Exploring Kink Within Fantasies? Read More Here


Keeping The Flame Hot

Maintaining a long-term intimate relationship filled with excitement and security requires intentional effort and open communication. By incorporating exercises that foster emotional connection and understanding, couples can keep desire alive while deepening their bond. Whether it's through expressing appreciation, enjoying non-sexual intimacy, exploring sexual scripts, or sharing fantasies, these practices remind partners of the importance of feeling seen and valued. Embracing these tips can transform routine interactions into meaningful moments, ensuring that the flame of desire continues to burn brightly in a secure and loving relationship.


Dr. Rel Friedman is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in individual and couples, LGBTQ+ mental health, Gender, and Sexuality. Her areas of research expertise include: Kink/BDSM, Polyamory, Ethical Non Monogamy, Gender and sexual identity, Complex Trauma & PTSD. Get to know her here.  


Related Reading 

Mind the Gap: Gender Inequality in the Bedroom

Get Hot Not Bothered, How To Soothe Pain After Sex

The Most Common Sexual Health Myths Busted
What’s Wrong With calling My Vulva My Vagina? 


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