Researchers have discovered how to keep sexual attraction alive in long-term relationships

'Being nice' doesn't necessarily work but being 'truly responsive' to a partner's needs makes the relationship feel 'special and unique', scientist says

Will Worley
Thursday 28 July 2016 10:37 BST
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Responsiveness is key to sex in a long-term relationship, according to the study
Responsiveness is key to sex in a long-term relationship, according to the study (iStock)

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The key to keeping sexual attraction alive in long-term relationships is being responsive to each others needs outside the bedroom, a new study suggests.

American and Israeli scientists found women reacted more strongly to 'responsiveness' than men, but males also felt the benefits.

A hundred couples kept a diary for three weeks for the study and reported on the sexual desire they felt for their partner, in addition to their perceptions of how responsive their partner was.

The results, which found sexual desire increased along with responsiveness, were reported in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Gurit Birnbaum, a psychology professor at the Interdisciplinary Centre in Herzliya, Israel, who co-authored the paper, said: “Our research shows that partners who are responsive to each other outside the bedroom are able to maintain their sexual desire.”

Responsive partners – who are aware of their companion’s emotional needs – demonstrate a high level of understanding of their spouse and are thought to have deeply invested in a relationship.

"'Being nice' and things like that are not necessarily based on who the partner is and what the partner really wants," Professor Birnbaum said.

"When a mate is truly responsive, the relationship feels special and unique and he or she is perceived as valued and desirable.

“Responsiveness, which is a type of intimacy. is so important in a relationship because it signals that one is really concerned with the welfare of the other, but in a way that is truly open and informed about what the other cares about and wants.

“Sexual desire thrives on increasing intimacy and being responsive is one of the best ways to instil this elusive sensation over time; better than any pyrotechnic sex."

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