intimate couple silhouetteintimate couple silhouetteCouples who make each other feel special are likely to have a better sex life, a new study says. (Photo: MonoLiza/Shutterstock)

What's the key to keeping things hot in the bedroom?

New research reveals the secret of maintaining an active sex life.

What kinds of tricks do you and your partner try to keep that old flame burning? Lingerie, music, candles, movies, perhaps a certain kind of food with aphrodisiac qualities.

Tricks and turn-ons aside, the truth is, many couples find their sex lives waning after a few years, for a variety of reasons. But what if there was a simple, obvious solution out there that we could all benefit from? What if losing our sexual desires wasn't just a fact of life?

According to a group of researchers led by Gurit Birnbaum of the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, the answer really is that simple.

Respond. That's it. If your partner calls, answer. If she wants a night out without the kids, arrange it. If he's miffed that you forgot your anniversary, apologize. Make each other feel special outside the bedroom, Birnbaum and colleagues said, and you'll start seeing improvement inside of it, too.

Gurit Birnbaum is a social psychologist and associate professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.Gurit Birnbaum is a social psychologist and associate professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. (Photo: Courtesy)

This finding, which was published in the October edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and involved scientists from the IDC, Bar-Ilan University and the University of Rochester in New York, is actually the result of not one, but three studies involving 153 couples. For the first study, participants were told to interact online with their partner, when in fact it wasn't their partner on the other end; it was a stand-in who was told how to respond (if at all). In Study 2, participants interacted face-to-face with their partner, and researchers evaluated their displays of responsiveness and sexual desire. Study 3 examined the couples' daily experiences to find out how their sex lives progressed and drew conclusions based on what the researchers called the "responsiveness-desire linkage."

To put it in scientific terms, "Feeling special and perceived partner mate value explained the responsiveness-desire link, suggesting that responsive partners were seen as making one feel valued as well as better potential mates for anyone and thus as more sexually desirable."

But since layman's terms are more worthwhile here, we'll just reiterate so we're all clear: If you want more sex, pay attention to your partner.

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