Life after baby is a difficult juggling act. And more often than not, it’s intimacy with one’s partner that takes the first hit. But there's one way to fix that, according to new research.
A new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that a person's level of responsiveness to his or her partner directly affects how much they desire each other sexually. Researchers from the Baruch Ivcher School of Psychology in Israel and the University of Rochester in New York asked 100 couples to keep a diary for six weeks to note the time they want their partner in bed and how much they think their partners are being responsive to their needs.
The results showed that the more their partner made them feel special and made their relationship feel unique, the more likely that they'd want to get them naked under the sheets. The effect was significant for both men and women, though it has slightly a stronger effect on the ladies.
"People who perceive their partner as responsive believe that this partner understands and appreciates their needs, as well as reacts supportively to their goals," says lead study author Gurit E. Birnbaum, Ph.D. It's not simply about being nice or kind, but really making your relationship special even through the little things--yes, the old give-and-take advice still works. “Sexual desire thrives on increasing intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instill this elusive sensation over time; better than any pyrotechnic sex,” he told Health.
Nicole Prause, principal investigator at the Sexual Psychophysiology and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of California, Los Angeles, agrees. She says it does not matter if you're not hitting his or her pleasure spot (pun intended). "Put another way: Don’t study texts on sex; study your partner," she told New York Magazine. A great sex life is more about meeting your partner's needs -- and not just in the bedroom.
So how can you be more responsive to your partner? Here are some simple everyday things you can do.
Pay more attention to each other.
Engage in mutual conversations, other than about bills or kids.
Really listen -- don't interrupt or pre-judge what the other is expressing.
Understand where your partner is coming from.
Validate your partner's ideas, feelings, and wants.
Be open and speak the truth.How you express yourself also also counts.
Focus on the positives and don’t dwell on the negative.
Appreciate and be grateful even for the small things your partner does.
Be sensitive to your partner’s needs. Place his desires on top of your own.
Support your partner in what makes him or her happy.
We know it's easier said than done, especially when you add a crying baby into the mix, but it's worth a try. "Responsiveness instigates desire for one’s partner—and following such interactions, partners may even find themselves tearing each other’s clothes off!" Birnbaum adds. But other than a reinvigorated sex life, being responsive to your partner reaps a whole lot more benefits such as learning new things about each other and sharing more expriences together.