Three Ways to Increase Love Passion
If I want to build the ultimate passionate relationship, a love relationship full of joy, intensity, loyalty and desire, a relationship that gets deeper and sexier over time, then I want to build it on a very strong foundation.
Janine and Ed came to see me because they hadn’t had sex in four months. You describe yourself as “best friends”. They text each other frequently throughout the day exchanging updates on kids and chores. When he has a work appointment she brings her a meatloaf sandwich to the office, and when she has menstrual cramps he snuggles up next to her flannel clad body. But they’re friends, not lovers – they have too much intimacy and very little sensuality or thrill. Janine rarely wears anything other than yoga pants, and Ed is more likely to kiss the baby than his wife. Not only has their sex life completely stalled, but they don’t even flirt with each other. Janine and Ed have to work on their passion triangle.
The Passion Triangle is the model I use to teach couples how to create lifelong romantic and sexual passion. You want your relationship to be built on strong, reliable foundations. My friend Ian, an engineer, told me that the equilateral triangle is a highly stable structure on which huge, beautiful buildings can be built. It has three equal sides that support each other. If I want to build the ultimate passionate relationship, a love relationship full of joy, intensity, loyalty and desire, a relationship that gets deeper and sexier over time, then I want to build it on a very strong foundation.
The three components of the Passion Triangle are:
Thrill: The indescribable feeling of excitement, interest and attraction to your partner that you experienced when you fell in love, but which often wears off.
Intimacy: A deep sense of knowledge and recognition that develops over time through shared weaknesses and a deepening of emotional connection.
Sensuality: The spectrum of romantic, erotic and sexual connection between two people, from holding hands to wild sexual pleasure.
If you’re like Janine and Ed, you are strong in some areas of the triangle and weak in others. But if you want lasting passion and connection, all three sides have to be strong. Let’s start now by examining each side of the Passion Triangle in more detail.
Imagine you are sitting at a table in your favorite restaurant and waiting for your partner. You have just returned from a week out on business and missed her terribly. When you sit there and scan the sidewalk through the window and look among the people rushing home from work, you get excited. There is an excited quality in looking for your lover’s face. And then you discover them and there is a little thrill in your body and your emotions. It’s disturbing in a deliciously delicious way. That’s what I’m talking about in terms of thrills.
Do you feel that exciting anticipation for thrills these days? Or, would you rather watch cat videos on your phone than go around the restaurant looking for the welcome face of whoever you’ve spent your life with?
If you rarely or never experience thrills, encourage yourself. It’s a big old myth that the thrill can’t last forever. That’s just not true. As an awakened lover, you will find that while the thrill may wear off for many couples, it doesn’t have to be for you. It’s not easy, but you can uncover the thrill you used to feel.
The thrill is always there and shines brightly under the routines and familiarity of “Marriage Inc.” You will learn to pay attention and see your partner – and the world – with fresh eyes. Then the old becomes new again in that moment. And this one too. You will fall in love with who you are with again.
When I use the word “intimacy” I mean deep emotional attachment and loving friendship. True intimacy is the feeling of being deeply known to the other. To be known means sharing your secrets, revealing your best, and also revealing the parts of yourself that you are not proud of. In a deeply intimate relationship, you learn to trust that your partner will love and accept you no matter what. You don’t have to hide that you have weaknesses, fears and are imperfect. In the depth of intimacy, you can be seen for all that you are, dark and light. You don’t have to play a role or pretend.
Real intimacy develops over time and through many shared life experiences. I’m not talking about the initial false sense of intimacy that can be felt with a stranger. For example, my friend Anna had a fantastic first date with a man. They shared tapas and wine and talked and touched and laughed and then walked along the sea. She said, “I feel like I’ve known him all my life.” Except that she hadn’t. She had known him for four hours. That early sense of connection feels wonderful, but it’s not the real thing.
Your heart laden with love songs projects fantasies onto the person standing in front of you. This creates an intoxicating sense of closeness. The problem is that the projection obscures reality. What you are feeling isn’t real intimacy and it doesn’t last. After the pleasure chemicals wear off, the work of real intimacy begins.
Intimate partners share several joys and sorrows. You are there to quote the traditional marriage vows: “For better and worse, rich and poor.” As an awakened lover, you realize that your partner is not responsible for your happiness. They strive to deepen and refresh the intimate connection between you by giving mindful and loving attention to your lover as if you were still in love. You learn to see your imperfect partner and relationship clearly – and love them more than ever.
Sensuality. What a delicious, fantastic, rich word. For the Passion Triangle, by “sensuality” I mean the entire spectrum of sensual and sexual energy that you feel in yourself and exchange with your partner. There are innumerable sensual pleasures. However, if you’re in a relationship like many people, your sexual spectrum has been limited to just a few colors. Maybe at first you slept all over the house and nibbled each other’s toes. And then your thrill slowed down. Life got busy and Marriage Inc. took over. You know the routine, tag team partnership of two jobs, two children, two busy people, and a neglected lover’s life. Her sex life became predictable, rare, or non-existent. But you can change that. These teachings of the Passion Triangle will help you expand your sensual repertoire.
As an awakened lover, you connect in new and powerfully erotic ways with your five physical senses and the sixth sense, which is your spirit, in the service of sensuality. You’re exploring new ways to connect with sensual pleasure and delight, whether it’s intertwining your fingers while walking the dogs in the woods, or sharing an urgent, quick orgasm in the guest bedroom while your family eats dessert downstairs . You learn that desire begins in both the mind and the body. You breathe in the scent of your partner’s throat and linger while you enjoy the taste of their skin. Maintaining eye contact brings erotic intensity and you indulge in the sound of her sighs as you massage her feet. They enjoy the sensual pleasure of touch, from the trembling of the fingertips caressing the back of the hand to the neglected art of kissing for hours. As soon as you step into the bedroom, your sensual exploration ranges from the sweetest, soul-shaking lovemaking to the hottest, raw sex to tantric transcendence. There are almost unlimited possibilities how two hearts, mind and body can connect in the sensual realm. That is sensuality. That sensuality can be present during orgasm and just as important when you are holding hands in the woods and in every moment you spend together or separately.
Balance your triangle for great love and sex
In order to have a fantastic long-term sexual and romantic relationship, all three sides of the Passion Triangle are vital. If they are out of whack, your relationship will suffer. You can end up with love, but with no pleasure or excitement without connection. If you are best friends and confidante but lack thrill and sensuality, you are not having an exciting sex life – you may have pleasant pedestrian sex, but it won’t be passionate. Or if your intimacy is compromised by conflict and criticism, you won’t be thrilled when your partner walks in the room and you don’t want to sleep with them. If you have a lot of sensuality but low intimacy – you can only connect through sex, but you hold back parts of your heart and mind and are not sure if you can be fully accepted – you won’t be able to do that true depths and breadths of exploring your entire sexual self. It takes intimacy to make soul-shaking love and trust that you can play in the dark depths of your raw desire. But when all three sides of the Passion Triangle are strong – wow. You will feel accepted and known, feel alive and fascinated, and be able to reveal your deepest sexual desires. You can let go of inhibitions while staying deeply connected with your lover and exploring your sensual self with freedom and devotion in the safety of love and intimacy.
Now back to Janine and Ed. I tell them it is time for them to take action and develop more thrills and sensuality. I coach her to send herself sexy or romantic text every day. Janine tells Ed that she misses the guy who swept her away for surprise dates – the male, romantic lover under the sweet, gentle dad. He says he misses seeing her in feminine clothes that look pretty and sexy. Together they have a plan for Ed to woo her again – he will schedule dates; she will dress up. They promise to turn one night a month into an erotic date – they wanted to explore the combination of emotional intimacy with deep sexual desires. Over time, with commitment, effort and a sense of play, this couple begins to strengthen the sensuality and the thrill of their marriage and uncover the passion beneath the passivity. They learn that good things come in threes.
Excerpt from the Buddha’s bedroom: The mindful, loving path to sexual passion and lifelong intimacy. Reprinted with permission: New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Copyright © 2018 Cheryl Fraser.
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