The 5 Keys to Lasting Romance (According to Outside)
More exercise, surprising meals, backcountry escapes, chilling out, and spicy yoga
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A 2010 study published in the British Journal of Psychology showed that working out together—whether running or going to the climbing gym—helps couples enhance their romantic connection through nonverbal mimicry, or performing the same actions simultaneously. “Couples who train together are finding a new way to bond,” says Jeff Fine, a psychotherapist and fitness coach.
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Do It in the Kitchen
Yes, ginseng and maca promote energy, stamina, and a sense of well-being, and garlic stimulates blood flow to the sex organs. But the best way to really ramp up excitement is to try something totally new—say, tongue-tingling Szechuan buttons or exotic durian fruit. “Maybe it’s the adrenaline or psychological thrill, but preparing and eating foods that have a hint of danger can be a turn on,” says Meryl Rosofsky, professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University.
Planning a day trip or backcountry weekend together gives couples something to discuss besides who’s picking up the kids from soccer practice. “You talk about the adventure, you do it, then you talk about how it went. It’s a healthy distraction,” says Jordan Hall, director of Rock Your Marriage, a Colorado-based company that offers counseling and marriage retreats. Bonus: if the adventure involves a tent, you might even get lucky. Fully 95 percent of couples interviewed by tent manufacturer Olpro in 2013 said they were more likely to have sex while camping than at home.
A series of Harvard University studies found that regular meditation decreases stress, improves mood, and increases arousal. “The less stress you have, the more open and free you’ll be for your loved ones,” says Mandy Cavan, a psychotherapist and former national soccer player.
Strike a Pose
A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine suggests that an hour of yoga a day can lead to better sex. A number of poses improve blood flow and tone pelvic muscles, which increases desire and performance, according to Rachel Allyn, a psychiatrist, sex therapist, and yoga instructor. What’s more, practicing yoga with your partner can amplify the effect. “Couples communicate on a deeper level, connecting to each other’s breath, touch, and intuition,” she says.