Hormonal cocktails that keep us coming back for more
By Corinne Farago
“Your lights are on, but you’re not home
Your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another kiss is what it takes
You can’t sleep, you can’t eat
There’s no doubt, you’re in deep
Your throat is tight, you can’t breathe
Another kiss is all you need”
-Robert Palmer, Your Addicted to Love
Ask most couples about the early stages of their relationship, and they’ll remember the ease they experienced around sex and intimacy. They’ll stare off into space with memories of testosterone-driven lust and estrogen flooding seduction.
They may remember how the initial feelings of lust began to grow into romantic longing, and preoccupation as their bodies started producing more dopamine and norepinephrine.
At some point, usually between 3-15 months, the intoxication of ‘new relationship energy’ (N.R.E.) begins to shift from high levels of passion to attachment. Oxytocin, the love hormone, then starts to lay the foundation for the security of long-term partnership.
When we understand the biology of sex and intimacy it helps explain why couples will often ask, “how do we get the passion back into our sex lives? Why can’t we feel the way we used to?”
That’s nature for ya!
We are made to reproduce, and our bodies know exactly what hormones support that undeniable human drive.
If you want to find that N.R.E again, take charge, and create the hormones that got you there in the first place.
Here are the building blocks that will stimulate a cocktail of hormones to support a deep connection and a vibrant sex life:
Oxytocin fuels our desire to bond with our partners. It creates the romance of ‘you and me against the world.’ Love notes, kisses in the kitchen, long hugs, hand-holding and cuddling leads to trust and goodwill between partners.
Oxytocin sets the stage for expressions of love that open partners to each other, and make them receptive to and vulnerable with each other. Feelings of attachment get us through the rough spots. Oxytocin keeps us steady and invested in each other’s happiness.
Dedicate some of your time together to manufacturing some serotonin.
You do this by getting vulnerable and sharing your feelings with each other.
Step out of the day-to-day chit-chat about the details of living, and dig a little deeper.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner about your relationship. Ask them to share what ways you can be a better partner to them.
Caring and being cared for reinforces your bonding and the sense that your partner has your back. This experience of secure attachment in a relationship brings a sense of harmony to every other part of our life.
If your partner can count on you supplying them with a hit of serotonin whenever you’re together, that will stimulate their reward centers. Give them some heart-felt communication on a regular basis and watch what happens.
You can create dopamine in your body by doing new things together, sharing new experiences, new places, trips, and yes hotel rooms. When I ask a couple to recall a hot sexual memory they have together, it will often involve a hotel room.
They stepped out of the familiar bedroom, family routine, daily tasks, and basically a life you can walk through with your eyes closed, because you know it so well.
Suddenly the desire they’d been missing started flowing again. They started to see their partner through the eyes of the Goddess, Dopamine.
Sex in a long-term partnership can easily become predictable. You don’t have to become someone new to add variety to your together time, although some role-play can always be fun.
I’ve outlined 186 erotic activities from sensual to kinky in my e-book Your Erotic Menu. If you’re wanting more variety in your sexual and sensual life, take a look at all the options you and your partner can explore.
There’s an interesting cocktail of hormones that our bodies make when we challenge ourselves physically. Adrenaline, endorphins, and testosterone, which all get a boost from any type of physical adventure or challenge.
Aerobic workouts, dancing, hiking, biking, etc., have all been shown to increase circulation, blood flow and lubrication which are three factors involved in heightened sexual desire.
Set an adventure date with your partner. Hit the road or paddle the white waters. Use your bodies together and experience the aphrodisiac effects of endorphins.
Couples are often under the impression that there’s nothing they don’t know about their partner. We’ve all heard the expression, familiarity breeds contempt, and while we may not be feeling contempt for our partner, we can take our partner for granted, assuming we know everything there is to know. Seeing our partners as individuals outside of the relationship creates dopamine which is associated with a sense of mystery.
When our bodies produce dopamine our partner seems new and exciting. We become intrigued again, and refreshed in our view of this person we share a bed with every night.
In order to maintain mystery in a long-term relationship, you want an ongoing balance of attachment and independence. Too much of either will tilt the scale away from desire. Too much distance, and we lose our sense of bonding. Becoming overly attached and never taking space from each other is going to send you into the roommate zone.
If you can’t go to your office these days, find ways of taking space and doing your own thing. See friends, exercise, start a new sport or hobby that engages you. Differentiate yourself from your partner in healthy ways.
Romantic attachment is important to build trust and safety, but creating space from your partner is the necessary ingredient to building desire. The tide can’t come flooding back to the shore if it never goes out in the first place. Catch my drift?
Let’s Get Real
COVID requirements are hard on most relationships. We’ve lost access to some of the things that brought us adventure, distance, and mystery.
Countering the strain many couples are feeling right now isn’t always a simple solution. You might need help finding what works for you to stay connected and intimate.
Use this time to invest in your relationship, because your happiness as a couple makes everything else immensely easier to handle.
In my coaching practice, I specialize in working with couples. Often times this means working with each partner individually to identify the challenges, and then working with both partners together.
If you’re beginning to feel more like roommates, and less like lovers, or you just want to explore what sex and intimacy can offer you, set up a Discovery Callwith me, and let’s talk about your unique relationship dynamic.
Wherever you are, there’s a path forward to better sex and deeper intimacy.
Stay well and love deeply,
Schedule your free discovery call and learn how relationship and intimacy coaching opens the door to better Love, Sex and Desire.
My female cousin was a primary contributor to my early sex education, when I needed it most. For instance she clarified that I couldn’t get pregnant by dancing with a boy, no matter how close we got. She also confirmed that I wasn’t the only person who touched themselves (down there), and most importantly, she showed me that ‘wellness massagers from Sears were used for things other than sore necks and shoulders. A few years later my boyfriend introduced me to the real deal. A vibrator made specifically for genital arousal. It was a cream colored, hard plastic, shapeless cylinder with a twisting on/off switch at the end.
This week a client told me she was doing a Marie Kondo on her closet. She was getting rid of what no longer gave her joy.
We went on to talk about her sex life with her partner and the nagging resistance she has to being touched.
Somewhere along the line she formed a belief system about touch. She couldn’t identify a particular incident that informed that belief system. There was no trauma or abuse. She just knew that when she was touched (even by her loving partner) her body would recoil and she’d shut down.
There’s no getting away from the fact that couples in long-term relationships impact each other profoundly, in small and large ways. If you’re a couple who live together there are moments throughout each day that bring you together to discuss something, to work on a task, to accomplish an errand, to share a story, or listen to one. Partners flow in and around each other with such symbiosis, that we can sometimes feel like we’re one mechanism with a shared mind.
Even in the midst of this unprecedented time, the holiday season is once again upon us. If you’re fortunate enough to have one or more loved ones around you, you’re probably giving and receiving a gift or two. I’d like to share a few thoughts I have on gifting.