Ah, newlyweds and new lovers — so kissy-kissy and inseparable and utterly smitten. While an established couple can't recapture that exact wild buzz, racking up the anniversaries mustn't necessarily spell the end of intimacy, compliments and carnal surprises. To renew the woo is to care about keeping it fresh and remembering why you dated in the first place. If lighting a scented candle you received from the office Secret Santa is your best jab at sparking the romantic pilot light, we pity your sweetheart. As for Casanovas interested in extending the honeymoon well beyond the Tahitian cruise, read on.
The "We Cycle"
Long-term love is not a self-cleaning oven, but requires some elbow grease to keep humming. In a relationship's unpredictable sine wave of mood, there are highs and lows, and there will inevitably be more of the latter if you sit idle. Renewing the woo is all about capitalizing on upticks in the We Cycle to re-engage liplock, get spontaneous and recharge relations.
Instead of wasting an upward relationship cycle with a favorite foursome at the links, plan something for the twosome. A pulse-quickening Belle Isle hike or arm-in-arm Carytown stroll is modest and effective. Maintain a heightened state by sprinkling in surprises: small gifts, breakfast in bed or mutual spa treatments. Lastly, working out at the gym, taking yoga or going for a run keeps cheeks ruddy, leading to energetic moods, pain-free backs and more aerobic stamina.
Remember that the path to exciting, revitalizing sex is not always directly through the toy chest. Tenderness establishes the baseline of regard that opens the door to experimentation; a couple who is sputtering can't just jump into the deep end. To revamp the woo, make it a practice to occasionally feign sexual interest if you're not amorous when your mate initiates. Besides protecting your mate's delicate sexual ego, once things get revving, the afterburners of enjoyment kick in, making it worth the effort.
With this foundation of regard, each partner becomes amendable to more adventurous forays. If mutual desires aren't yet defined, it's best to start with "rented films" or even cable TV shows like HBO's Real Sex to gauge tolerances. Does a segment elicit a "Hmm…" or an "Eww!"? Does Cleaning With a View (Richmond's naked maid service) garner interest: "Hey, we can get dirty while the apartment is getting clean."
You can't grumble that your sex life is boring without having tried a few novelties. A perfect time to play is after a gowned or tuxedoed affair or a rollicking bash at home. Also, use other vices to stimulate the libido. Sex is tastier with or after chocolate, Champagne or something stronger — stoke the flames while so inclined.
Skip the juvenile "party stores" that sell bachelorette novelties alongside not-so-nice greeting cards. Find a boutique (online is fine for the timid) and discover which playful props and colorful costumes fit your lifestyle.
Incidentally, a change of venue away from the home sheets is the ultimate way to renew the woo: Hit the Jefferson for a night of flippant hotel shenanigans or take a furtive coupling under a blanket in your favorite park.
Jason Tesauro, married for six years, and Phineas Mollod, to wed this September, are authors of The Modern Lover .