I recently surveyed some of my colleagues, leading sex and relationship coaches and therapists about what they teach clients about how to affair-proof relationships. I heard them say, loud and clear, that putting our love into action, through words and affection can keep the fires of passion burning as well as prevent one from straying — even more than trying new sex positions or buying sex toys, handcuffs or expensive lingerie. But having good sex is important, too, when we want to prevent ourselves or our partners from finding love and intimacy elsewhere. And maintaining a sense of connectedness on a deep level must also be prioritized.
So here are some top tips on how to affair-proof your relationship or marriage.
Consciously choose your point of focus & show how much you care
Robyn D’Angelo, the Happy Couple Expert, told me that affair-proofing your relationship starts with one simple CHOICE: To show your partner Fondness + Admiration more than anything else.
Robyn says that when you constantly show your partner how much you cherish them, they will in-turn cherish you. When you are able to express your admiration for your partner it creates space for them to appreciate you as well.
It’s easy to take our partners for granted or to focus on what they aren’t doing well. Add kids into the mix and it’s clear that our attention can turn toward making life work as opposed to making love work to our benefit.
Robyn reminds us that we have a choice to make daily. Every single time your partner initiates any sort of conversation or activity, you have a choice. You can respond with loving kindness (ie: fondness and admiration) or you can respond with defensiveness, criticism, contempt or disdain.
In her coaching and therapy practice Robyn provides couples with strategies to navigate through difficult conversations. She explains that making the choice to focus on positive interactions doesn’t mean you never have hard conversations where you can talk about what hurts you or what is not tolerated — it just means that you CHOOSE to do it with loving kindness. You choose to have compassion, empathy and more often than not — you choose to give your partner the benefit of the doubt.
Robyn suggests we remember that our partner is with you because they want to be. So give them reason after reason after reason to continue to choose you over anyone else. Be the one who shows them more fondness and admiration than anyone ever could. Love them hard and they will choose you. Over and over again.
Sex and relationship therapist, Todd Malloy, teaches couples a special motto to bullet-proof against affairs: “Present, honest, and sincere in every moment”. Todd explained that when each partner is being authentic, open to listening and hearing in the midst of communicating with their partner it goes a long way to ensure that your partner will stick with you over time.
When we consider that the principal needs in a relationship include security, connection, and wanting to be seen, heard and valued, then a willingness to be transparent and open provides us with a sense of confidence that this relationship will be fulfilling over time. And that kind of deep intimate connection cannot be provided with a simple fling or torrid affair.
Have More, Good Sex
The need for deep communication underscores the understanding that affairs are not always about getting sex outside of the marriage. There is usually another primary need that is satisfied in extramarital affairs. The sex that one engages in outside of the relationship is often a natural consequence of getting deeper intimate needs met.
That’s not to say that keeping the sex hot at home isn’t a worthy pursuit in affair-proofing your relationship, however. Self-awareness mentor, Duke Sayer, surveyed members of ManClub, who said they wish their lady would be open to trying new things in the bedroom and be open and communicative about what you like. Some did mention that they wished for more oral sex as , “blow jobs make a guy feel looked after as well as the feeling that his woman wants to please him.”
We can become complacent and lazy in our long term relationships which make the temptation to hook up with someone else even harder to resist. For example, many women told me that after kids came along, they didn’t have as much energy or interest in pursuing sex. But cutting out sex means you miss out on orgasms — for you and your partner. Because having an orgasm leads to the releases serotonin and natural opioids — the same chemicals we also find in heroin — we understand that sex can become addictive. So we are encouraged to look at how we can make good sex a priority, too.
Pique Novelty and Stimulate the brain
The number one complaint that couples have in long term relationships is the waning intensity of sexual contact. Sometimes the excitement, danger and novelty of being with someone new will cause a partner to stray. But you can do something to prevent that. It starts with tricking your brain.
When we first hook up we have sex on the brain — literally. In fact, brain scans of people in the ‘lust’ phase of a new relationship show increased activity in the hypothalamus. The first few dates, getting a sexy text message and the anticipation of the first time we’ll have sex cause a brain flood of dopamine, the craving and reward brain chemical, which create an addictive rush and pleasurable high.
Yet, when we are in deeper, bonded love a totally different part of the brain lights up and oxytocin, the bonding neurotransmitter, is released. So, over time the lusty, fiery passion is replaced with calmer, steadier appreciation. While oxytocin helps couples feel bonded in the attachment phase, it can often translate into boredom and sex ruts.
Fortunately we can take measures to turn on our dopamine-driven passion and lust brain circuits again to keep our partners tuned in and focused on us, rather than the hot new intern down the hall at work. And we can take advantage of oxytocin’s pair-bonding effect to keep our beloved committed to us. Here’s how…
To amp up passion and desire add in novelty to your sexual repertoire. Rather than the same-old-same-old sex routine, mix it up with role play, bring in a sex toy, or act out a fantasy to cause a dopamine spike. Or surprise your beloved at work or in the evening with a request for a sexy adventure in the back of the car, or on the kitchen table. Send a suggestive message early in the day to pique curiosity in your lover’s mind.
Bringing in the element of surprise can help trick the brain to see you as a hot new target worthy of pursuit. And by having more sex both men and women will secrete more testosterone which increases when they see something they crave or desire. You’ll appear more desirable to your partner as a result of this.
Kiss and cuddle — deep and long
Another thing that falls by the wayside in longterm relationships is deep kissing during foreplay and cuddling after sex. Studies show that men get a big surge in oxytocin after a long, passionate kiss. It is well known that this biological force helps move us away from pure lust toward deep caring and devotion. This is has been proven true with rodents — if you give a promiscuous prairie vole a little dose of oxytocin, it becomes monogamous.
So while you may have given up on making out like a teenager, neuroscience shows that kissing, fondling and cuddling can keep you bonded to your partner and reduce the likelihood of cheating.
Do you remember how wonderful it was to stare deeply into your beloved’s eyes when you first met? Eye contact may well be the most potent trigger for connection and oneness. By looking into your lover’s eyes you can literally become more in-sync on a biological level. And this leads to a shared feeling of oneness and mutual commitment.
Set the mood
How often do you set the table or light candles for a romantic dinner? What about having fresh flowers or sexy music playing when it’s time to be intimate? A study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that couples who actively set the mood for sexual activity were more satisfied in their marriage. Create an atmosphere that is conducive to sexual play and you’ll be less likely to search elsewhere for sex.
These techniques and tips can go a long way toward long lasting relationship bliss. You can take part in the free 21-day sensuality enhancement program by visiting www.21daysofbliss.com
This story originally appeared on www.thesun.co.uk
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Dr. Andrea Pennington is a sex educator, meditation teacher and self-love mentor based in the UK and French Riviera. She is author of The Orgasm Prescription for Women: 21-days to Heightened Pleasure, Deeper Intimacy and Orgasmic Bliss, by Andrea Pennington, MD (£13.67, Make Your Mark Global). Dr. Andrea offers free meditations to heighten sexual responsiveness at www.OrgasmPrescription.com
Originally published at medium.com