This YEARNING for romance has been a big theme for my clients in recent private sessions. Once they have taken a moment to stop and think about where their intimate life is at (not just their sex life) they realise there is this gap, this void and they want to get the romance back.
They are realising that it's not just the risque intimacy that's needing reviving (hence why they are seeing me) but feeling how the romantic side of things could use some TLC and attention.
It’s easy to fob romance off as an ‘early days’ thing – that honeymoon phase – more affectionately called limerance by sex + relationship geeks like me, usually starts to wane at the 18 month mark.
But just because long-term relationships can survive without romance, do we want them to?
I for one, don’t. I don’t want to be in a long-term relationship that has no romance because for me, romance is a form of warmth and when we feel warmth as humans we feel intimacy and when we feel intimacy, well…we women are usually more interested in sex. Let’s just say, it helps. We really thrive off of being connected and a little romance certainly isn’t going to hurt your relationship.
Before I give you my 5 hottest tips, I need to ask you a BIG favour. As you might know, I have a love of words and I need you to have a good think about what romance means to you.
Not what the movies say it means or looks like.
Not what your partner thinks it is or your friends.
What is romance/romantic to you??
What really encapsulates it?
To get clear on romance…what does it look like? What actions? What kind of disposition do you have in the midst of romance? What kind of disposition does your partner have?
This is a good one to tie in with the 5 love languages if you haven’t already or if it all feels a bit confusing.
My biggest tips around romance are these:
#1 When you get clear on what you think is romantic, reflect on what YOU are doing that's romantic. Yes you're a giver and you're giving lots but are you giving what you want to receive? This one is key and the value of role modelling in relationships cannot be overlooked. People say a lot of things but what are their actions? Sometimes taking the lead this way is a beautiful sign of maturity and demonstrates that this is important to you in the relationship.
My romantic action recently was initiating and paying for ziplining! Fun, heart racing romance with him being there at the end of the zipline. My only complaint? We had to get back to the kids and it would have been really great for us to have more time together afterwards to keep connecting. I would do something like that differently next time to keep the romance going because the day went really quickly back into #reallife.
#2 Let your partner know what they've done that you have interpreted as romantic...They might think one thing that they did was incredibly romantic but you felt something less grand was actually more touching. Actually say it out loud – this is so romantic! It helps to solidify the experience as romantic and gives them positive feedback about what you perceive to be romantic.
No more expecting them to mind read and do spontaneous stuff if they (and you) have no idea what that is or what you’ll respond to really well.
#3 Tap into your favourite shows and films for inspiration. Now, obviously not allll films contain love scenes that you respond favourably to but are there some notable ones? They can hold lots of clues. Usually a romantic love scene happens in a beautiful #boudoir or setting - could yours do with a freshen up so that you can emulate the same qualities? Also - what are the actors doing that makes you feel romance? Now, the aim isn’t to go and pretend to be them or get out of presence trying to do things the same but look at how they use their eyes and hold their bodies.
It’s kind of funny because Ed and I got all sappy watching the relationship between Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her late husband Marty in the RBG documentary. They were obviously made for each other and they were so funny but so sweet and I thought that encapsulated romance so beautifully.
#4 Keep your romance realistic. Perhaps there are some limitations to being taken up in a chopper (I love me a chopper) but could you do something else that still gets your heart oozing or bursting? Could you do something that feels a bit luxe even if it is within different means?
What I love about romance is it can be really affordable and accessible – there are so many gestures and actions that are free or low cost. And I’m not talking receiving flowers. Maybe something more romantic for you would be to go and make an experience of receiving something romantic.
Maybe going to a flower market together and picking your favourite bunch would be romantic? Another romantic gesture from me to Ed recently was going with him and buying a new plant and candle for his office space. Just smelling that candle now reminds me of that day when we riffed about plants and candles after coffee. Pretty easy romance if you ask me!
So feel into shared experiences as being romantic. Not just giving and receiving gifts. There’s no definition of romance – just your definition.
#5 Work out how to translate that romance into the bedroom. It doesn’t have to be flower petals on the bed – I mean, it can be if that’s what defines romance for you. Romantic sex can mean a lot of things.
+ Have romance happen before sexual contact happens. A dance together with some music you really like maybe – one of my clients loved Leonard Cohen and this reminded her of a part of herself she left behind in her younger years. Have a dance with her partner to this music really helped her to down-regulate and feel good moving into sex.
+ Eye gazing (each of you pledge to look just into the others left eye – there’s less darting that way). Please note, it’s not a staring contest!
+ Making sexual touch slow or fast – romantic for you might be shown by that hunger…maybe it’s shown by going slow and savouring. Don’t know! This is your version of romantic sex. Maybe this will change with your mood!
+ Creating a romantic feeling space. Remember, romance is a feeling so what feels romantic to you? I personally like low lighting (note – not the dark!) to create that ambiance. Pop on a beautiful scent – I love candles, oils or sprays that use essential oils. No synthetic stuff please.
Romance ultimately needs an action...it isn't passive. All those gestures in the early days had tonnes of thought behind them. What's in your power when it comes to calling in the hot stuff?? (Less the #millsandboon)
P.S. I am all for the romance being an important pathway to sexual intimacy. Like I said, it makes us feel warm and seen and held. But sometimes we get blocked about this and just don’t know how to get started. I get it! It can be challenging + awkward but it’s possible. If your intimate relationship (or if your next intimate relationship) needs more of the good stuff, let’s talk. You and me. Confidential. All the info to get started with a free private discussion is on my sessions page.