Fanning The Flames of Desire

Renew The Sexual Connection With Your Partner

Lives are busy and it is increasingly challenging to do everything, including putting wholesome food on the table, keeping fit, coordinating kids’ programs and managing extended family commitments. Whether we work outside or in the home, there is often little left at the end of the day to feed our erotic lives. For many of us, fitting in a sexual connection with a partner becomes another chore- another item on the to-do list: unfortunate but very common. Where did that passion and that desire to drop everything else and tear each other’s clothes off go that we had at the beginning of our relationship?

Desire is never static. And desire is strongest at the beginning of anything new:  a new workout routine, a new home improvement project, a new diet.  At the beginning of a new relationship, endorphins are released for up to three years that make us crave our partner more regularly.  We can’t wait to try a new location, position, outfit or toy; we plan all sorts of ways to seduce and create the next exciting moment. As time wears on, the endorphins and novelty wane and (just as the project is left unfinished and we revert back to our old eating and exercise habits) watching a movie is more appealing than having sex. Many of us begin to wonder if there is something wrong with us if we do not walk around feeling “horny” all of the time. For a lot of folks however, women especially, desire needs to be cultivated.  This is our “normal”. We are different from men who, with many exceptions, feel desire on a regular basis, and follow up the desire with action and arousal. Yet most women are the opposite. It is the arousal first that then creates our desire. What this means is that rather than waiting for the desire to happen, we need to learn what actions generate our desire. For some this might be watching an erotic movie, for others it might be taking a shower or bath together or on our own,  for many it may be the simple act of kissing- which many couples neglect over time-  that will fuel the fires of our passion. Once we know what works for us, we can plan times and opportunities to connect where we are open to creating arousal. We can start with some all-over body touch or snuggling and see where it leads. Often this little connection is the key to kindling the flames.

Of course we and our partners need to be open to the reality that the desire might not flow every time that we connect. Sometimes we may just want to remain in cuddling mode. But this cuddling also fuels the flames in the relationship. We generally need to touch, kiss and be loving more often, not only when it leads to sex.  Many women state that they don’t like to offer or receive a kiss for fear of the pressure to follow through into a full sexual encounter. One woman confessed that she got into bed after a long hard day and when her partner reached over to touch her back, she was horrified by her own words “You’ve got to be kidding”. Her reaction revealed a common interpretation of his touch as him wanting something more from her.  How lovely would it have been for her instead to enjoy her partner’s loving touch as she fell asleep? She might have subsequently been more welcoming of the touch on a more regular basis which would feed their erotic connection and possibly awaken her desire at times for more.  Sometimes a kiss is a kiss and sometimes it can be more.

These erotic connections can happen anytime, yet it often makes a difference when planned. Sometimes what helps to take the pressure off is when the person in a relationship with the lower desire sets the timing of the connection. They could be specific about how they want to connect after the kids go to bed that night or more generally that they want the other partner to plan a fun sexy adventure on Saturday. This helps to ensure that there is regular connection with time to anticipate, plan and prepare, while easing the uncomfortable situation where one partner is regularly making advances at a time when the other is not interested.  When a partner does make an unreciprocated advance, a thoughtful response is to suggest a time in the near future when the advance will be welcomed, and then follow through.

Embracing our erotic connection is more than just having sex. It includes learning about each other’s desire and arousal needs, sustaining the relationship through consistent loving connection and taking responsibility for creating the desire that we crave.



Carlyle Jansen is the founder of Good For Her, a sexuality s hop and workshop centre in Toronto. If you hae questions or comments she can be reached at or go online to

Categories: Sexual Health & Wellness