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Is this the secret to better sex in a long term relationship?

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Ah yes, lifelong great sex. Who doesn’t want that?

Ironically, while convention tells us that long-term monogamy is the answer to happiness, many people think of married couples as sexless and verging on platonic.

But, apparently, sex doesn’t have to be a bore a minute when you’ve been with your partner forever, according to a new study. Hurrah.

Psychology professor, Gurit E Birnbaum conducted a series of experiments, setting out to determine the optimum conditions for the best sex.

The results, published in the American Psychological Association Journal found that being responsive and empathetic to your partner made them more receptive and open to engaging in sexual activities.


Read more: Five orgasm myths busted and how to have better sex


Researchers conducted three experiments in order to determine factors that might affect sexual desire. The first saw 153 couples have ten-minute conversations with their partners online, either about something positive or negative.

Afterwards, they were asked to fill out a form, saying to what extent they felt their partners were responsive to them. A second form asked participants to score how much they wanted to have sex with their partner following the conversation.

Instead of actually having spoken to their partner, though, a researcher was on the other end of the online conversation, who was providing the participants with pre-prepared responses ranging from empathetic to responsive – and completely unresponsive.

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Simply being responsive to your partner could be the key to better sex

Following the trial, men’s interest in sex remains unchanged, whichever response they were given by their partner, whereas women exhibited “greater desire while interacting with a responsive partner than while interacting with an unresponsive one.”

The second experiment saw 178 hererosexual couples sit in front of one another and have similar conversations to the first study, discussing positive and negative life experiences. The results showed both genders report heightened sexual attraction to their partner – but only while discussing a positive life experience.

According to researchers, this is because the negative life experiences render the person in question less desirable as “the individual focuses on personal weaknesses or stressors.”


Read more: The brave new world of toys, tech and wellness


A final experiment saw 100 couples complete a diary of their nights for six weeks, including reference to the quality of their relationship based on how their partner made them feel, and how responsive they perceived their partner was.

Both men and women reported feeling ‘special’ if their partner was responsive, but women reported this more than men.

Each experiment clearly demonstrates that the people who felt most valued had an increased desire in their partners.

Listening = empathy = sexiness. 

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