5 Ways To Make Your Relationship More Romantic, So Get Ready To Swoon

Author Article

Relationships, like all things, change with time. And while there are many beautiful things about a long-term commitment to someone, keeping the spark alive can sometimes be challenging. After all, when you settle into a routine together, it’s not quite so simple to shake things up and retain that element of surprise. Don’t fret, though — there are plenty of ways to make your relationship more romantic, as long as you’re both creative and resourceful.

I checked in with the experts to get their thoughts on this, and their advice did not disappoint. “Our partner needs to know that we value them and that they have a vital role in our life,” says Susan Winter, relationship expert. “From this foundation of appreciation and gratitude, romantic feelings grow with abundance.” If you want to show your partner how much you care, one of the best things you can do is add some intrigue back into your lives. There’s something about a passionate, romantic evening together that electrifies your chemistry and reminds you why you chose one another. And it doesn’t have to be any huge gesture — even small changes can make a big difference! When you’re ready to get more intimate with bae, put these tips to use and watch your bond deepen in a beautiful way.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SMALL THINGS

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“We tend to underestimate the impact of phrases such as, ‘Thank you,’ and, ‘I really appreciate what you’ve done for me,'” Winter says. When your SO does something you’re grateful for, like buying you flowers or cleaning your room, let them know. After couples have been together for an extended period, it’s easy to forget to thank one another for small daily actions. But according to Winter, “kindness and appreciation are powerful aphrodisiacs.” You don’t have to make huge changes in your routine to make each other feel special — just express your love in little ways!

2. RECREATE YOUR FIRST DATE

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When you’re in a rut and your time together starts to feel monotonous, bring back a special memory you both share. “Break that cycle by randomly recreating your first date at home,” says Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist. “Candles, rose petals, dinner, movie, anything that can recreate that first date.” Or, try reminiscing in the actual place you first went out together! Think back to that time when you were first getting to know one another, and when everything felt exciting and scary and new. You’ll both be able to look back with fondness and also to see how far your relationship has come.

3. GO ON A TRIP TOGETHER

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If you’re both craving a weekend out of town, consider taking a vacation — maybe even a couple’s retreat. “Not only will you learn new skills for enhancing communication, managing conflict, a renewed sense of commitment to one another, and deepening intimacy. But you also have a built-in vacation filled with romantic settings, dinners, and relaxation,” Silva explains. Sometimes, getting out of your shared space and into a new location can help you feel rejuvenated and more in love.

4. SIGN UP TO HELP A CAUSE YOU BOTH CARE ABOUT

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Shula Melamed, relationship and well-being coach, says that couples who try new activities together end up happier in the long run. “Maybe sign up for a course or cause that requires that the two of you to learn, create, or show up for something you both can be passionate about,” she suggests. If you have a shared love for something, it’ll bring you closer together, and it also gives you something fresh to talk about. Doing good for the world and doing good for your relationship? It’s a win-win.

5. COMMIT TO HAVING FUN TOGETHER

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No matter what you do, the most important thing is that you’re enjoying each other’s company. “Couples who play and explore with each other report higher relationship satisfaction,” Melamed says. “So the ‘work’ that goes into maintaining long-term committed relationships might be more depended on ‘play.’” The human brain responds positively to new experiences, so the more creative you can be, the more fun you’ll have together. Try to make a habit of trying something new together at least once per month! This helps you build a bank of shared memories together that will keep the romance alive.

Try to remember that even on days when you feel bored or out of touch with each other, you both chose this relationship for a reason. When you can reframe your brain to remind yourself, “I choose you,” you’ll be more thankful for your partner and more confident in your love. And at the end of the day, a box of chocolates and bouquet of roses never hurt anyone… so get cheesy with it and have a little fun.

Why Do People Kiss?

Author Article

Romantic kissing refers to the touching of lips between romantic partners — boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, etc. Romantic kissing is rarely studied in sciences — aside from the very unromantic examination of kissing in the transmission of infections and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Psychological investigations of kissing in romantic relationships, too, have been limited to a few topics — one example being genderdifferences in kissing (men are more likely to initiate kissing before sexual intercourse; women, after intercourse).1 But no psychological studies have investigated why people kiss — until now, that is.

In an article published in the current issue of Sexual and Relationship Therapy, Thompson and coauthors examine potential reasons why we kiss. In a series of studies, they describe the development of a scale for measuring the motives for kissing; called the “YKiss? Scale,” this measure was adapted from earlier scales, which assessed motives for sexand oral sex.

Exploring categories of kissing motivation

The sample in the first investigation comprised 647 individuals (295 women; 84 percent Caucasian; average age 32 years; 87 percent heterosexual; 71 percent in a committed relationship). Descriptive statistics revealed that participants had kissed an average of 19 individuals in their lifetime, had their first kiss at age 15 years, and — among those presently in a romantic relationship — kissed their partner, on average, 30 times a week.

Participants were administered the YKiss? Scale and asked, “Thinking back to the past month, for each statement, please indicate how frequently each of the following reasons led you to kiss someone” (p. 58).2

Subsequent to the exploratory factor analysis, researchers retained 45 of the initial 57 items on the Ykiss? Scale. After a second investigation — 364 American adults (203 women; average age of 32 years; 78 percent Caucasian; 90 percent heterosexual; 70 percent in a committed relationship) — three more items were removed. Among these remaining 42 motives for kissing, 23 loaded on a factor the researchers labeled goal attainment/insecurity — motives related to “attaining resources, using kissing as a means, boosting one’s self-esteem, and mate-guarding.” And 19 loaded on the second factor called sexual/relational, related to “arousal, love, attraction, and relational scripts” (p. 59).2

Motives for romantic kissing

For illustration purposes, below I list 11 sexual/relational kissing motives and 11 goal attainment/insecurity kissing motives compiled in the final version of the YKiss? Scale (p. 63-64).2

Sex/relational reasons for kissing

  • It feels good.
  • The person’s physical appearance turned me on.
  • I wanted to set the mood.
  • I wanted to feel connected to the person.
  • I wanted to increase the emotional bond.
  • It is fun.
  • I wanted to show my affection to the person.
  • The person was attractive.
  • I wanted to become aroused.
  • I wanted to initiate other sexual behaviors.
  • I wanted to express my love for the person.

Goal attainment and insecurity reasons for kissing

  • I was mad at the person, so I kissed someone else.
  • I wanted to get even.
  • I wanted a raise or promotion.
  • I wanted to defy my parents.
  • I wanted a favor.
  • I was competing with someone to “get” the person.
  • I wanted to punish myself.
  • I wanted to enhance my reputation.
  • I wanted to be popular.
  • I wanted to hurt or humiliate someone.
  • I wanted to make someone jealous.
fjord77/Pixabay
Source: fjord77/Pixabay

Additional findings regarding motives, gender, and kissing motivation

When different motivations for romantic kissing were compared, researchers found that, as expected, goal attainment/insecurity motivations were reported less frequently than sexual/relational ones.

As for the role of gender, the results showed no gender differences in past month kissing frequency or enjoyment (A. E. Thompson, personal communication, February 11, 2019); however, men — compared to women — reported more motivated kissing.

This finding disagrees with the common assumption that women, compared to men, are more inclined to use sexual/intimate behavior to attain non-sex-related goals (e.g., power).

How can we explain the present finding then? Here is one way: Men are usually socialized to be more assertive, but women are taught self-controland restraint; women act as  “gatekeepers” of intimate and sexual behavior.3 So it makes sense that more frequent initiators of kissing (for whatever motives) are men; and that women engage “in romantic kissing in response to their partner’s overtures more often than the reverse” (my emphasis; p. 69).2

As I was summarizing the above explanation for this post, another potential interpretation of data occurred to me. So I contacted the lead author, Dr. Thompson, who kindly shared her views and expressed a favorable opinion of my explanation — which follows below (A. E. Thompson, personal communication, February 11, 2019).

Though kissing can be quite sexual itself (e.g., French kissing, kissing of sexual organs), romantic kissing is more of an emotional and relational activity than a purely sexual one. Thus, kissing is likely to be more valued by women than by men.

Therefore, while women are more prone to use sex/oral sex (valued by men) with their partner as a way to achieve their personal goals, men are more likely to use relational and emotional activities valued by women (and this may include kissing).

Future studies need to examine these and other explanations regarding gender differences in motives for kissing.

StockSnap/Pixabay (Modifications: Arash Emamzadeh)
Source: StockSnap/Pixabay (Modifications: Arash Emamzadeh)

Concluding thought on kissing in romantic relationships

In the English language, we have many idioms that use the word kiss: Kiss someone goodbye, kiss and cry, kiss and make up, kiss and tell, and kiss upto someone. Kissing has been referenced in numerous songs, like “Kiss from a Rose,” “Kiss Me,” or “I Kissed a Girl.” We even assume kisses have a special power, as in a kiss turning a frog into a handsome prince (in “The Frog Prince”) — or as in this line from Faustus demonstrates: “Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.”

Yet, despite so many references to kissing, we have a limited understandingof why we kiss. And the findings of the present study remind us that kissing is not always about romance. Yes, kissing is often motivated by relational or sexual interests, but sometimes by insecurity or goal attainment; at times, perhaps by both. So it helps to be mindful of why we kiss, especially because some motives for kissing might be maladaptive. For instance, the motive of kissing to “get back at the person” may be associated with infidelity; and unfaithfulness can have destructive consequences for individuals and their relationship.2

Lip Service: A History of Kissing – In Pictures

The Guardian Article
By Holly Stafford

For the past 25 years, Barbara Levine and Paige Ramey have been collecting amateur photography. Based in Mexico and Texas, the artists have published a number of books together featuring vintage images found at flea markets and on eBay. Their latest is People Kissing: A Century of Photographs (Abrams & Chronicle, £11.99), which charts the evolution of the genre from Victorian postcards to automatic photo booths. Before photography, Levine says, kissing was largely a private affair. “Nowadays it’s a public act. People are encouraged to perform their affection for the camera.”

The Neuroscience of Romance: Your Brain on Love

See Author Article Here
By Sabrina Stierwalt

The Neuroscience of Romance: Your Brain on Love

Falling in love seems to be a basic part of human nature. It’s universalwe all know what love is even if we have a hard time defining it or detailing its complexities. And love transcends cultural and societal differences: in a historical study of 166 societies, anthropologist Helen Fisher found evidence that feelings of love existed in 147 of them. Thus, it appears we are not taught that love is important to us, but rather may be born knowing it.

But anyone who has ever been in love knows that love is complicated. Being in love can calm you down but it can also make you anxious. In our attempts to understand how the human brain works, neuroscientists have studied for decades what the complex mix of emotions we call love does to our brain. Can love cause us to lose focus? Is being in love addicting? And can science weigh in on the question of whether or not love can last?

Let’s find out today.

Our Brains See Love as a Reward

In a 2005 study, researchers compared functional MRI images of the brains of 2,500 college students while looking at someone they love relative to looking at an acquaintance. Scientists were thus able to map which regions of the brain are active when a person is experiencing feelings of love. They saw the most activity in two regions associated with seeking and detecting rewards, namely the caudate nucleus and the ventral tegmental area. These regions are also responsible for an increased production of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that pass information from one neuron to the next. In the case of dopamine, that information is a signal to the brain that the person is feeling happy and finds the current activity rewarding.

Love Can Be Addicting

The increase in dopamine levels can act as a high or even inspire a state of euphoria when around the object of affection. In an effort to continue that lover’s high, you may find yourself wanting to be around the other person all of the time.

The part of our brain that processes attraction, often a precursor to love, is known as the opioid center and is, as you may have guessed, the same region responsible for our response to certain addictive substances including opioids like morphine. For example, in one, albeit smaller, study, a group of 30 men were given either small doses of morphine or a dose of an opioid suppressor. Those given the opioid rated attractive faces more highly and spent more time looking at them, suggesting that our brains can be primed to find others attractive by first stimulating the right region of the brain.

Also running high in love-addled brains are adrenaline, which can make your heart beat faster and your palms sweaty, and vasopressin, which triggers territorial feelings of loyalty and the need to protect. However…