Temperatures are sizzling, but your relationship may be fizzling. If winter is synonymous with cuffing season, then summer tends to be the antithesis — a time for fun, flirty flings, and anything but commitment. Turns out, there’s a good reason why. Think back to your childhood: You likely associate summer with flirtation and romance, be it your first kiss at summer camp or a childhood crush on your local lifeguard.
The romantic energy that comes up during the summer goes back to early development, explains Dr. Susan Kellogg Spadt, Professor of OBGYN at Drexel University, Professor of Human Sexuality at Wiedner University, and a member of the HealthyWomen’s Women’s Health Advisory Council. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep a committed relationship going long past Labor Day. Here, three simple ways to instantly boost intimacy and connection in any long-term relationship.
Try something new
“Novelty sparks dopamine, a neurotransmitter that fosters intimate behavior and attachment,” explains Dr. Kellogg Spadt. Translation: Trying anything new with your partner — food, an activity, a sexual position — will help you feel closer and more connected to one another. It’s the reason why couples often feel especially close when on vacation; being in a new place, doing new things brings you together. To that point, a summer getaway is great, but you can bring novelty into your relationship even without traveling. Dr. Kellogg Spadt suggests alternating weekends with your partner, during which one of you is in charge of planning at least one new thing that you will do together.
Go on an adventure
Speaking of trying new things, making one of them something adventurous and that gets your adrenaline going is a good move, too. “Adrenaline and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine are associated with high levels of arousal,” explains Dr. Kellogg Spadt. Not necessarily sexual arousal, but that excited, on-the-edge of your seat feeling, a feeling that can subside when you’ve been with someone for a long time. Don’t worry, though, it doesn’t have to be sky diving or bungee diving — even something as simple as an outdoor hike or killer workout will do the trick.
Sure, it may sound less than sexy to add sex to your to-do list, but Dr. Kellogg Spadt says it’s the single best piece of advice she could give anyone in a relationship. “Planning ahead for a time and day to be intimate with a partner at least once a week brings what’s known as positive anticipation of intimacy to the relationship,” she explains. “All week long you’re thinking about it, and that can really get you excited and in the mood,” she adds. If it happens spur of the moment on a non-planned day, go for it, but having it on the books is a great way to ultimately feel much more physically connected with your partner. Not to mention that it also gives you the opportunity to prep and get ready for your planned encounter — just as you would if you were going on a date with a hot summer fling — with suggestive texts, some cute lingerie, the works.