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When was the last time you and your significant other were scared together? (Together, not of each other..that's bad). If you can't remember the last time you, say, went skydiving together, well, that could be the reason things are feeling a little bit stale with that longterm love of yours.
We chatted with Canadian sexologist and We-Vibe's education ambassador Dr. Jessica O'Reilly about "keeping the spark alive", and she had some interesting things to say about how important a certain kind of anxiety is to long-lasting spice. (And fear not, people scared of heights: It doesn't neccesarily have to involve jumping out of a plane.)
Q: Is "spark" actually a thing? Does science support this idea?
A: "From a brain chemical point of view, spark is a thing! It comes from the deluge of chemical changes that you naturally experience when you fall in love, because you're dealing with the unknown, the excitement of not knowing what's coming next, the unpredictability. When they've done MRI scans, the brains of people newly in love look a lot like people on drugs. Love is literally like a drug! Then you settle into a relationship, and you experience companionship, marked by [attachment] chemicals like oxytocin and vasopressin. You become comfortable with one another, and all humans crave that, but we also crave novelty and excitement.
Q: Can you ever re-capture that initial "high"?
A: You can got out of your way to surprise your partner, create new experiences, change your routine. This can be as simple as sleeping on the opposite side of the bed, or changing the places you go to make out or be intimate. Any change can basically help you take your partner's brain and chemical reactions off auto-pilot!
Q: Any suggestions on how to do that?
A: Attend a show like The Everything To Do With Sex Show, or go to a seminar together— just push yourselves out of your comfort zone, and into an environment that you’re not familiar with, and that can help to reignite the spark. Try sky diving, going for a hike, rockclimbing – we’re coming up on winter in Canada and there are places to ice climb that are not far from our major urban centres. Anything that gets your pulse up and you feel a little bit afraid. Part of what makes it so exciting in the beginning when you first meet someone is the butterflies, which are actually just anxiety. Stop running from that anxiety!
Dr. Jess will be speaking at the Everything To Do With Sex Show, on October 23-25 in Toronto.