Building Anticipation to Spice Up Your Love Life

how to spice up your love life with anticipation

If you are seeking ways to spice up your love life, it’s important to take a moment to understand the workings of the erotic mind—in this case, your and your partner’s erotic mind.

A significant percentage of the couples who fall prey to a sexless or passionless relationship frequently seek tangible solutions to pull themselves out of the sexual rut (“Should we have more date nights?”; “Maybe I need to buy more sexy outfits”; “I dyed my hair thinking I would be more appealing to him but…”); and while these and other practical changes may help at times, it’s often the intangible that needs attention when it comes to awakening sexual desire.

By “intangible” I am talking about understanding and using the psychology of sex and sexual desire to improve your relationship—taking the steps needed to attend to and awaken your erotic mind and imagination.

Use the Power of Anticipation to Spice Up Your Love Life

In his seminal book on sexuality and eroticism (The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Sexual Passion and Fulfillment), Jack Morin, PhD, spells out the cornerstones of erotic experiences, that is, what goes into making a sexual experience or fantasy highly charged for a person. His research shows that anticipation and longing are key components that feed sexual and erotic intensity for many people.

We’ve all had experiences of anticipating something: a new job, a particular meal, a vacation, getting together with friends, seeing the latest blockbuster movie, eagerly waiting for your favorite band’s new CD to be released. The fundamental experience of anticipation is looking forward to something that hasn’t happened yet but is going to happen. The expectation is that the anticipated experience will be pleasurable, fun or exciting in some way.

If you think back throughout your life, you probably can recall numerous memories that involve the power of anticipation. Waiting for your mother or father to return home from work or excitedly anticipating a particular gift during the holidays or for your birthday (advertisers are experts at creating a powerful sense of longing and fueling an anticipatory urgency in us for their products).

Our lives are scattered with moments of longing and anticipation—both non-sexual and sexual anticipation.

Notice that anticipation centers upon a delay of getting what you want; you must wait for time to pass and, at some point, you might have to take some type of action for the desired experience to occur (for instance, pick up the phone to initiate a date with a coworker you find attractive). New relationships are imbued with anticipation at every twist and turn—recurring thoughts for couples newly in love are “When am I going to see you again?”; “I can’t wait to hold you in my arms”; “I yearn to make love to you again.”

Immediate Availability Undoes Anticipation

And once you finally received the gift you absolutely could not live without on your birthday, it probably ended up at the back of a closet after a few months where it collected dust before someone throw it out or gave it to Goodwill. The morphing from I-have-to-have-it! into lethargic ho-hum-ess is an experience we can probably all relate to at some level. And our sex lives can easily fall victim to this pattern.

I recently worked with a couple who lived in different cities for about three years of their relationship. While long-distant relationships can be frustrating and challenging, one advantage of such geographical distance is that anticipation is built into the very fabric of the arrangement. This was certainly the case for Frank and Rachael. After the three years passed, Frank was able to change jobs and relocate to where Rachael lived. They immediately moved in together, and for the first six months or so, they couldn’t be happier. But Rachael began to worry because, as she put it, “I noticed a pattern that started to set in. Frank started to touch me less and less and he began rejecting my sexual overtures. When I brought it up to him, he assured me nothing was wrong, that he was just tired and a little stressed with his new job… But this pattern continued for almost a year and things between us really exploded when I caught him masturbating in the shower.”

It was at this point that Rachael contacted me for couples counseling. And what became apparent in our work together was that Frank was bored sexually, not bored with Rachael, but bored with the sexual routine they had fallen into. In short, the anticipation that created a sense of sexual longing in Frank was gone; Rachael was pretty much available to him whenever he wanted, and this level of availability extinguished the sexual build-up that was such a turn-on for him. While most of us assume we want quick and easy access (and immediate availability) to our partner, such conditions do seem to dampen sexual passion for some people. This, of course, doesn’t mean we would rather be rejected by our partner as a means of delaying gratification—rejection does not feed anticipation; in fact, it decimates it.

Knowing that someone desires you just as much as you desire him/her, yet you cannot immediately have each other, is what gives life to anticipation and longing.

For anticipation to happen, for you and your partner to spice up your relationship sexually through the power of anticipation, you must create conditions that feed sexual longing—this is especially the case for couples who’ve been together for some time. Long-term togetherness is wonderful in creating the familiarity, predictability and emotional security that allow for deep trust to be established. The downside to this level of stability, certainty and availability is that the sexual charge that is ignited by anticipation takes it squarely on the chin.

Spice Up Your Relationship Sexually by Re-wakening Anticipation

The reality of your marriage or relationship may be very similar to Rachael and Frank’s: you see each other every day, you see each other both at your best and worst (I hope you make an effort to bring your best self to one another when you can, though!), you deal with the stresses of running a household, dealing with finances and juggling multiple priorities. And, like Rachael and Frank, you might turn to each other once in a while and ask, “Hey, do you want to have sex?” And even if this approach leads to sex that is pleasurable, the likelihood is that the love-making didn’t have any sort of electrical charge to it (not that all sex has to, but wouldn’t it be nice every now and then?).

So the question for you and your spouse/partner to ponder is:

How can you bring back the dynamic of sexual anticipation even when your relationship rests at the feet of domesticity?

Remember, the psychology of anticipation centers around delay and the build-up of sexual tension and longing. I go into greater detail about this important topic in my How To Spice Up Your Marriage e-book.

Until next time!

Dr. Rich Nicastro

(Featured [top] image  “Man and woman touching” by Tungphoto/