By Laura Snyder
When you and your lover first started dating, your brain was pumping out phenylethylamine (PEA), which pretty much drove you lovesick lust-bunnies to chase each other 'round the bedroom. After a few years together, though, that PEA was replaced by other hormones, like oxytocin, which gave you that warm and fuzzy couple-y feeling, but didn't exactly inspire fits of passion.
Fortunately, you don't have to trade in your furry handcuffs and wild wantonness for flannel pajamas and stability. Here's how to rekindle the passion.
Trick Your Hormones
Get your PEA fix in other ways. It's generated by exercise, for example, which may explain why people who exercise regularly report being more sexually active. (Plus, exercise acts as a stimulant, increasing blood flow and raising the level of feel-good endorphins.) PEA is also released from roses and lilies (reason enough to give her flowers, right?) and is found in trace amounts in chocolates.
Exhausted from the day's work, grubby from the gym and hours past your morning shower, of course you don't feel sexy. But don't blame your sexual plumbing for failing you when it's your head that's not in the game. Fortunately, the mind is surprisingly easy to deceive. Cuddling even when you aren't really in the mood often leads to more.
Have a Dangerous Liaison
Danger is a powerful aphrodisiac. In one famous experiment, some men were told by a female assistant that they would have painful electric shocks administered. Others were told they'd feel no pain. No one, in fact, was shocked, but the men who anticipated the pain found the female assistant much more attractive than those who weren't scared. Raise your adrenaline levels by adding risk to your sex life - visit a risqué shop or get busy in a semi-public place.
There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Bring back that first-time spark by agreeing to abstain from sex for a reasonable period of time (we've never made it longer than a week or two, but you can try!). Use all that saved time to make out on the couch like you used to, or learn other ways to please each other. You may be surprised by what you learn about each other.