Mini-breaks also affect how you look. When you are checking into a nice hotel you never pack your threadbare boxers and your jogging bottoms. You pack a freshly ironed shirt and your favorite aftershave, while your wife packs her best lingerie and a cocktail dress. Preparation, packing and looking your best are all part of the mini-break experience and the combination is sexual catnip. By the time you and your wife finally check in, you are ready to flip that “do not disturb sign” and make the absolute most of your time away.
A break from the norm is great for your sex life. There is a lot of research to show that novel experiences increase the likelihood of sex. In 1986 psychologist Arthur Aron developed a conceptual framework that attempted to explain the dynamics of couple relationships and how they change over time. The model is called the “self-expansion theory” of human relationships and it explains how, when we fall in love, all of our new partner’s resources, perspectives and identities automatically become ours too. This results in rapid self-expansion, high levels of positive feelings, and lots and lots of sex. Two years later, however, you know each other so well that there are fewer opportunities for self-expansion, so to keep the exciting relationship you need to challenge yourselves.
Spending time together isn’t enough. It’s important to avoid complacency. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it is exciting. Although you might not see the immediate link between learning to tap dance and having sex, in 2018 Amy Muise at York University, Toronto, conducted a series of studies that provided evidence that engaging in self-expanding activities — dancing, a bike ride, deep — was associated with higher desire, greater relationship satisfaction and increased likelihood of having sex.
A weekend away is a form of self-expansion — it puts you into an environment where you raise your game. Recreating that experience at home is difficult because the stresses of daily life tend to interfere, but with a little effort you can emulate hotel conditions.
Step one is to create anticipation by issuing a formal invitation to your wife several days in advance. A text or email is fine, but a handwritten card has more style. Provide a date, a time and the venue: your bedroom. Your next task is to turn a domestic bedroom into a five-star hotel room. Invest in new bed linen. I think fragrance is a powerful aphrodisiac, so make your bedroom room smell like a swanky hotel with a luxury room spray. Clear the clutter away and create atmospheric lighting. Add an ice bucket of champagne. Making this effort raises the chances of being all set for a night of passion.
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