Experiment With Hot Monogamy

If you think sex after marriage is as oxymoronic as “educational TV,” consider the advice of Jan Brown, an Austin, Texas, marriage counselor who’s among the advocates of Hot Monogamy a strategy for keeping passion alive in long-term relationships.

First, advises Brown, get over the idea that your sex life isn’t normal if it doesn’t look like a magazine ad. “A lot of couples come to me thinking their problem is that the good sex isn’t automatically there, like it is on television.

“In real life, it rarely is `just there.’ Sex, like anything else in a relationship, is a process of building, communicating and negotiating with each other.”

Why then, if good sex requires time and work, do many people feel sexy only in their early courtship — or with a new partner? It’s a simple matter of chemistry, replies Brown.

“When you first meet someone, there’s an increase in the brain of a chemical known as phenylethylanine, or P.E.A.,” she explains. “The same chemical is associated with fear and excitement; it’s even used in diet pills, because P.E.A. is an appetite suppressant.”

As P.E.A levels wear off — often within the first two years of being together, the excitement of sex may wear off as well. But P.E.A. levels can be elevated by experimenting in the bedroom.

That is why, she says, couples who want to improve their sex lives have to be open to trying new things. It’s not going to happen if your sexual routine is just that — a routine.

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