“If you put a penny in a jar every time you make love the first year of marriage, and then you take a penny out of the jar every time you make love in the second year, you know what you have? A jar full of pennies.”
Fans of Mad Men may remember that Roger Sterling quip from Season 2. And for most couples, he’s not far off the mark. If you’re married, it’s hard to keep up the desire-choked, do-it-like-rabbits sex of your relationship’s earliest stages.
Kids and work—and years of familiarity—tend to turn down the lust thermostat. But even if you know it’s not in the cards tonight, simply trying to initiate sex can work wonders for your marriage, shows new research from Penn State University.
The study of long-term, living-together couples found that the more one person tried to jump-start sex—regardless if it happened—the higher both partners rated their relationship’s satisfaction, stability, and communication, while conflict levels also dropped.
Relationship scores especially soared if the guy was the one doing the nudging, says study coauthor Chelom Leavitt.
“Sex fortifies committed relationships and strengthens bonds,” Leavitt explains. But beyond the actual act, simply attempting physical intimacy shows your partner that you desire her.
And that’s really important when it comes to making her comfortable and confident in your marriage, the research suggests.
Most couples reach a stage where even the smallest gestures—caressing her cheek, or giving her butt a good squeeze—is enough to signal that you’re in the mood.
Make those gestures more often, and whether or not it leads to action, your wife will feel more wanted and your relationship will improve, according to the study.