52 Ways to Rev Up Your Relationship

So, you are feeling bored with your relationship. The excitement of a new relationship has given way to the same old same old? Well, don’t despair! Relationships need to be nurtured. Why not see how the following 52 relationship rev-ups can help. Give your lover the thoughtfulness and dedication he or she deserves. . . hey– you deserve this too; so let’s see if you can’t kick that dull love life into high gear! Here’s what you can do:

1. Try a new nickname for your sweetheart. Sounds simple right? Well, calling your lover/husband/wife by a new endearing name signals that you might have something fresh on your mind. Give it some thought—what have you heard lovers call each other that has made you smile? If you can’t think of anything, listen to how people address one another when they are out in public, or on television, in movies. Think about their hobbies, what they look like, what they love to eat, a special fragrance, places they adore. . . you get the idea. I’ve heard people call one another some very odd names, as well as some really fun names—it has to feel right to you and your partner. Don’t be afraid to try it. A simple “Hi, sexy lady!” or “Hey, loverboy” can go a long way if you are used to calling one another something like “honey” or “sweetie. “

2. Make a meal and serve it in a place other than the kitchen or dining room. You could make Sunday morning breakfast and serve it in bed. Or a picnic basket dinner and lay a blanket on the living floor by the fireplace. You might BBQ and enjoy a dinner or lunch that is all finger foods. Feed one another bites of this or that. Get creative! I’ve heard some interesting stories about food and love for sure. One couple couldn’t get enough quiet time together so the husband brought wine, cheese and crackers and caviar into their master bathroom and they nibbled as they soaked in a lovely warm bath. (chicken, grapes, crackers, veggies could work as well) use your imagination. Take food into the places that your teenaged chidren might think about if they were trying to find a ‘get a way” spot in the house. Maybe the basement or even the garage on a nice day. . . Change the environment, change the mood. I’ve had people tell me that they go on picnics at the cemetery, under a bandshell at the public park, at the playground, near a lake, in their own backyard, or an apartment rooftop. Look for a new “scene. “

3. Massage is a wonderful treat after a long day of work. Get some massage oil that you enjoy, put on some music that is pleasing, spread a few towels on the bed, or the floor, or even a couch. Start slowly and massage your partners feet and legs, neck and shoulders, back and then slowly get carried away and let things happen naturally, A surprise massage session can really make your partner light up. At first they might feel uncomfortable but after a few minutes of deep tissue massage they should succomb to the pleasure or your medicinal touch.

4. Play a game that you haven’t played before in your pajamas. Just get a board game, or a chess board, or cards, or play charades. If you can play together you will find yourselves laughing. Laughter is a wonderful healing tool that relaxes the entire body. There are so many games on the market – there will be something fun and interesting for both of you.

5. Go to a sporting event and discover all of the excitement that a game can bring. There is something about being in a crowd of clapping and cheering people that can really get your heart pumping and your primal instincts surfacing. It’s fun to attend a game that you both enjoy. Even eating hot dogs and soda or beer can be enough of a change from your “routine” to make your partner remember how much fun it is to be with you.

6. Kiss your partner in places you haven’t in the longest while – or maybe ever. We often go through life in a relationship doing the same old things. We might have the same approach in lovemaking or caressing each other. Even that becomes boring – so why not just concentrate on kissing one night or afternoon. Kiss your partners neck and ears and inner thighs. Kiss his or her’s shoulders, fingers, forehead. Feel the closeness and the excitement and maybe even the discomfort of kissing different body parts. Expand your anatomical horizons and just kiss. You might even try making your lips warm or cold. Kiss each other until kissing is just not enough – or leave it at that. Go with the mood – and be respectful of your partner’s wishes at all times. Kissing is a pleasure and tastes and fragrances are always a plus!

7. Watch a sexy movie together. Think about a movie that really had you thinking about sex. It doesn’t have to be an “X” rated movie–one that is sexy but not vulgar. Is there a love story that you’ve always enjoyed, or an action film with a relationship twist that got you aroused? Ask your partner what movie really turns he or she on and just sit and hold hands and watch a movie. You’d be surprised how two people watching a sexy movie can heat things up right on the spot. You might not even make it to the bedroom–and won’t that be fun!

8. Leave a love note. When your lover would least expect it, try leaving a sexy or sweet message on the mirror. You can use lipstick or a simple sticky note to get your message across. What do you say? Try saying something about what you are looking forward to doing later – or how beautiful your lover looks in the morning – or how his or her eyes capture your heart over and over – or how much fun it will be to come home tonight and. . . – or just wanted to say you are the best thing that has happened to me – or – I love waking up next to you every day – or – know that while you are at work I will be having thoughts of what we did last night – or – just snuggling with you last night made all the difference – or – your lips and your kisses will play over and over in my mind all day – or – I know your presentation will be spectacular — or — I’ll be thinking about your smile all day –or –I know I’m the luckiest lady/man in the world because of you –or –you take me to places I never knew existed – or –just you and I tonight–no kids—or simply–I love you!

9. Send a surprise bouquet for no reason. It is always nice to receive flowers or some kind of a gift basket when you least expect it. Thoughtful gestures like this for no obvious reason are lovely and appreciated. Remember the feeling of getting an unexpected gift? When people have been together for a while they tend to forget to send little surprise gifts – and it doesn’t have to cost much at all. Look for specials–or if nothing else you can stop at a local supermarket and bring home an inexpensive bouquet or candy or bottle of wine to share later. It is the gesture that matters most.

10. Celebrate the beginning of something- Has your spouse or lover just started taking a class? Do you have a grandchild on the way? What about a promotion? Change of job? Decision to move? Find things to celebrate and make those moments special.

11. Meet for a lunch date. Often times people go through their work day and forget about the person they love at home–kind of “out of sight – out of mind. ” Make a date with your spouse or lover and meet them during your work day for a quick lunch or a picnic in the park. Make it short and sweet and finish things later at home.

12. Have a “quickie” during the day. If you live within driving distance of your home and can get away for a quick “roll in the hay” by all means do it! Or, meet your sweetheart (spouses and lovers only) at a local hotel for an afternoon delight. For heaven’s sake do not do anything too crazy like get caught having “fun” in a car —you don’t want to end up at the police station. Do-find exciting places for naughty fun!

13. Meet for drinks at a bar/restaurant. Pretend that you have never met before and schedule a rendezvous. Find your lover sitting at the bar and flirt first. Order drinks and just play with the scene. Remember the fist time you met and how it felt. What were you thinking back then? How did you ask him/her out? What was it that attracted you? Dress in a way that is outside your norm. I know some women that have gone so far as to change hair color just for extra fun!

14. Go to a Kareoke Bar and take part! Doing something like this let your partner know that you can have fun and let your hair down. Being silly and singing old songs can be a ton of fun! Have drinks if you wish or not –what matters most is that you force yourself to get up and sing no matter what–maybe the two of you sing a duet–whatever works.

15. Shop for lingerie together. Do you know what your husband/lover likes to see on you before intimate moments? Is he someone who is turned on by just a bathrobe, bra and panties, high black boots, garters – see through neglige? What do you want to see him in? Do you like him to leave his underwear on and take them off for him? What about a towel wrapped around his waist? Shopping for sexy garments can heat things up later.

16. Snuggle on the couch. Lay between his legs, or have his head in your lap. Just rest quietly and try NOT to get aroused. It will be difficult if the chemistry is still strong. Remember the feeling of being a teenager and the excitement that you felt just being next to your girlfriend or boyfriend. Just keep the connection and do nothing other than hold one another.

17. Cook a meal together and entertain a few friends. Working with your lover in the kitchen can be lots of fun (it can also be a nightmare if you make things too involved) Keep the menu simple –Keep the laughter and the mood light. Be with people that know how to have a good time – those that make you laugh. At the end of the evening you will have much to reminisce about before bed. Taking happy memories to the bedroom can create an “up” mood.

18. Leave a sexy voice message on your sweetheart’s cell phone. It is so nice to playback your voice messages and hear your lover’s voice. Make the most of every chance you have to connect with your lover. . . audio, visual, tactile. Flirt with your lover in your message–say something he or she can “expect” later that day or when you return from your trip. Remember being single and all of those things that you would say to gain their interest.

19. Watch home movies together. doesn’t sound sexy? Well, you might be wrong. When you are truly interested in your loved one’s life that includes all the things he or she experienced before knowing you. Afterall, learning about his or her family, school chums, accomplishments, things that were and perhaps still are important to them is good to know. The closer you become on all levels the sexier your relationship will be. Loving someone completely is what true love is all about.

20. Get wet together. Make time to shower together, take a relaxing jacuzzi bath, or soaker tub bath. Go swimming in a private pool, or sit in a hot tub and just relax for at least 20 minutes. No words just glances, just soft touches. If possible add Epsom Salt to the water and just let your muscles relax. . . the peace of soaking in a tub with someone you love is beautiful. Add candles and flowers or some other fragrance to the room. Music (of course do NOT bring electronic equipment near the water) playing in the background can also bring a chance of seductive mood.

21. Sit under the stars and dream together. Just sitting outside under the stars is romantic. Not often enough do we take the time to appreciate the beauty of a night sky. Do some star-gazing—it is literally amazing to contemplate the vastness of space, the constellations, and the infinite possibilities of life in space. Some of the most beautiful skies I have personally seen in the USA were in the following spaces. . . Sedona, AZ, Hawaii – Maui, Colorado – many places, Montana, New Mexico, Upperl peninsula Michigan, Wisconsin, Northern California, Washington – outside Seattle, Oregon and right in my backyard outside Chicago. If you live in the city you might be lucky enough to have a patio on the rooftop. Imagine that of all of the people in the world the two of you came together.

22. Go to the forest preserves for a walk or visit a wildlife sanctuary. Getting out for a walk especially on a pretty path in the forest preserves or in a national park can be exhilorating. Being outside in the sun, holding hands, appreciating nature can bring you closer. Because of work schedules and responsibilities you may not take time to just be amongst nature, the animals, the colors, sounds, the fragrances all add much to the experience. Imagine that not that long ago there were no high rises, no office buildings, really no homes the way we live today. Imagine how different life was then. Talk about that.

23. Visit a mall. There is usually something for everyone at a large mall. Do some dreaming and just window shop, have a cup of coffee – make it something decadent, or some herbal tea, and just take in the scene. Outdoor malls can be alot of fun when the weather permits. Look for something you both hope to purchase one day. . . plan for the future; maybe it is a certain mattress, or a new bedspread. . . or a pair of dress shoes or a briefcase for that new job.

24. Read poetry to your lover- When is the last time you read a beautiful poem? Have you ever read a beautiful or meaningful poem to the person you love? It is very sexy to listen to your lover read a passage from a favorite book or poetry. Find a poem that is meaningful to you and/or your lover –why not even memorize it and recite it if you can. But if not, just keep a poetry book by the bedside and read a line or two a few nights a week – or even just once in a while if that works best.

25. Write a song for someone you love – or write a poem if music isn’t your thing, try your hand at writing a poem and then sneak the poem either under your lover’s dinner plate, or slip it into their briefcase or pocket, or purse. What most makes you smile about your lover? What makes him or her special, different, how do they make you feel? Your lover will be honored that you thought enough to take the time to do something like this. I know some couples that write songs for each other for each birthday. He happens to play the guitar and she plays the piano. Doesn’t matter if you can play an instrument or not – just the lyrics will improve the feelings between you.

26. Visit an adult sex toy shop together: Don’t feel weird about visit a place that specializes in spicing up your bedroom activities. It’s fun and interesting to see all of the gadgets that have been developed to make your experience really hot! There are probably toys you have never heard of—they seem to make improvements all of the time. Whatever you do, always be extra careful about using toys and reusing them. . . disinfect right away and take precaution not to contaminate as you might imagine. There are usually experienced staff members (as awful as that might sound to you) who know how all of the little toys work and which ones might work better for you and your partner. They also have books to help get you in the mood and movies as well. Always be certain that your partner agrees to try something different.

27. Try a sex position that you haven’t before. Yes, there are probably more positions than the average couple can think of. That’s why it helps to look at books, and movies that can give you some ideas. Man on top and girl on the bottom can get boring –just like girl on top and guy on bottom for some couples. Or for those in same sex relationships —toys can make things alot more fun, as can different positions – but you really have to get more creative. Have you ever taken your partner from behind while leaning over a couch? What about having sex while sitting in a chair? There are swings too for the daring. You can face each other and recline on your side with heads on pillow and enjoy a face to face and more comfortable position for a change too.

28. Bring fruit into the bedroom. Sucking on a piece of fruit while your lover watches can be a turn on. Putting whipped cream on your partner, or chocolate, or dusting sugar on that special spot can bring more pleasure and make you stay put a longer time- which is often what women for sure tend to need. Another way to use fruit in the bedroom is to first be certain that you wash the fruit thoroughly, then, put a dark colored towel down where you are going to make love. Squeeze the juice from the fruit – like a raspberry or strawberry onto the genitalia and then enjoy the flavor while your partner enjoys the feeling. Also – taking cooled berries and other fruit pieces into the bedroom to feed to one another and then kiss each other is fun too.

29. Use flavored lipsticks. Lipsticks are good for several reasons – first wearing a flavored (natural ones are best) lipstick is really sexy and slippery for kissing any body part. Then, roll the flavored lipstick over your nipples ladies—guys love that! When your lover walks in the door –surprise him with a wet/wild/rich tasting lipgloss kiss.

30. Go out for appetizers at several different places – instead of having dinner. Restaurant hoping for appetizers is really a sexy and fun thing to do. Try things you haven’t had before and drink different types of wine or beer with your selections. When you come home talk about what you liked best. . . was it the shape, the fragrance, the taste, the combination–relive the experience and enjoy doing something new with your lover.

31. Tell each other your sexual fantasies In relationships we are often afraid to tell our partners what really makes us feel pretty or handsome or sexy or excited. If you could write the most erotic sex scene what would it look like? Who would you be with? Where would you be? What would you be doing? What would your lover be doing to you?

32. Sit by a lake and have a picnic Pack a simple dinner or lunch or breakfast and sit by a beautiful lake in a safe national park or forest preserve area. Listen to the sounds around, feel the sunshine, remember the feeling of being younger and taking your date out after Prom perhaps or for a first sexy date. As you lay on the blanket look at the trees, flowers, birds, the sky and each other as you become part of the backdrop of your surroundings. Just breathing the beautiful sweet air in an area filled with purifying trees and shrubs and flowers can be incredibly sexy.

33. In the winter –go skiing or sledding, or even ice skating if you can. The colors and cool air the thrill of moving downhill as you hold one another is always exciting. Enjoying activities outdoors no matter what the weather is a fun thing to do. Don’t let weather put a damper on your life —bring an umbrella – sit by a fire if you can’t ski, and take part in the apres activities that bring so many colorful people together. Nature warm or cold, dry or wet is beautiful.

34. Sit in a coffee shop inside of a book store and look at new hairstyles with your lover. Think about doing something different. If you find a hair style/color that you both like on one or the other, you might even decide to get yourself a new “do. ” Changing hair colors or styles can do much to punch up your love life. If you have longer hair and cut it shorter, or grow out your shorter cut for something longer -change can be uplifting.

35 Send a romantic greeting card to your lover’s office and be sure to mark it “personal and confidential” incase your partner has an assistant that opens his or her mail. These types of surprises reallly seem to help keep the fire going. Make it a card that says much or little —you know your partner best. Send something that lets your significant other know you think about them even when you are apart.

36. Leave a lightly scented post-it note in your lover’s brief case or wallet. Write something tantalizing and short.

37. Give each other a foot massage. One of the nicest feelings you can have is a warm foot massage. Take your time, perhaps have some music going – your favorite beverage–ask your partner to close his/her eyes and just succumb to the pleasure of foot manipulation. It can really be the beginning of total relaxation.

38. Shampoo or massage. Ask your lover to put his/her head in your lap and give your parter a scalp massage. Gently rub the temples, the forehead, the back of the head. Just imagine the feeling of having your head massaged when you visit the hair salon. Actually getting a scalp massage in the tub while relaxing together is great. Try this: sit behind your partner and allow he or she to rest his/her head on your chest. Give them a slow shampoo being careful not to get soap in their eyes. You can wrap a small warm handcloth across the forehead to keep the soap bubbles away.

39. Cuddle in bed before you rise in the morning. Wrap your legs and arms around one another – pull in close- hopefully there are two naked bodies touching. If not at least remove your tops so that you can feel the skin to skin contact. It is one of the nicest feelings to snuggle before taking off for your day.

40. Before your partner leaves in the morning – tell he or she what you want to do to him/her that night. Rest assured he or she will be thinking about that all day – or at least on and off throughout the day.

41. Change your typical sex routine. If you always grab her breasts first – start by licking and/or kissing her neck, or ears. Make kissing a longer part of what you do prior to the act itself. Rub her or his inner thighs- start with a neck massage. Take a feather or your finger and just lightly run it over the outline of your partner’s face, chest. Suck his fingers for a few minutes.

42. Eating dinner in an outside cafe can be really sexy. It doesn’t have to be fancy either. Just a sandwich or a salad or soup in the midst of a metropolitan atmosphere can do it. The sunlight on your skin – in your hair – the sounds of the city – the warm breezes- you lightly dressed perhaps showing more skin than usual. Even glistening skin is alluring. Do your hair up and let him see your face for a change – or wear a skirt rather than jeans. Just do it differently and keep life interesting.

43. Sunbathe together. Wear the right tanning lotion – and protect those peepers, but sunbathing can be greatly uplifting especially in parts of the country where sunlight is a hot commodity.

44. Skip work one day or cancel an appointment if you can and go do something with your lover instead. . Maybe it’s a movie, the theatre, a walk by the beach, a bike ride, take a short train ride to a neighboring city for lunch. Cancelling an appointment that can be postponed just to spend extra time with your lover send a wonderful message that you care enough to rearrange your life to keep the relationship hot!

45. Tickle each other – Something simple like making each other laugh and begging your partner to stop can lead to foreplay. Men – foreplay is alot more than simply touching, kissing, and saying sexy things. It starts long before you see her. And women, don’t make things too demanding on the men either. Start romancing each other long before you get home if possible.

46. Garden together – don’t think that’s sexy? Ask some of the people who have tried it. Digging in the dirt and getting down and dirty together is really fun. Spending the day planting some new flowers together and accomplishing a fresh new look and curb appeal is great. It doesn’t need to be grueling either – just set aside a couple of hours on a saturday or Sunday and plant something. Then shower together – and make lemonade or limeade or iced tea to quench your thirst.

47. Take a hot air balloon ride if you can afford it. Do this for a special celebration – birthday, anniversary, new job, graduation. . . It isn’t cheap, but it is something you will never forget. Soaring above the tree tops feeling like a bird gliding through the air is truly exhilarating.

48. Help your lover get undressed. Taking articles of clothing off can really set you up for passion. The anticipation of undressing someone is terrific. So be sure you are always dressed in sexy clothes down to the panties.

49. Order a sex book online and have it delivered to your home. Request brown paper packaging. – look at it together and get creative. It can open your mind for new possibilities.

50. Surprise your lover–with a lap dance or striptease. If you are generally the shy type he or she will be thoroughly surprised. Imagine rubbing up against your partner clothes on – he or she will want to grab you for sure!

51. Write a love letter,,Receiving a handwritten love letter is a wonderful feeling.

52. Take a walk in the rain— on a sunny day and look for rainbows. Kissing in the rain is fun–in fact just plain ole’ walking in the rain without an umbrella is liberating. Never do this if there are thunderstorms or a chance of lightening -but that should go without saying.

You could add skads of ideas to the list above – be creative when it comes to loving your partner. Life is so much more interesting and exciting when you give one another the freedom it takes to make a relationship spectacular. Never “down” your partner for trying something new – appreciate he or she for all of the uniqueness that can be his or hers alone. Most importantly, respect each other and give one another as stress-free a life as possible. Don’t whine about your day – when you come home. Make home life as happy as possible. If there are important things to discuss wait until both of you have been able to unwind from your day.

Love is a gift – appreciate it – savor it – enjoy every moment. Do your part to spice up your relationship no matter how many years you have been together. Surprises never get old if they are different. We can all recreate ourselves each moment – each day. Listen intently when your partner talks – try never to criticize. Hug one another often and say I love you every day. Remember this as well, words are never as powerful as actions – so back up your words by showing your loved one that you mean it.

Enjoy life – enjoy love!

Lesbian Relationships and Friends

One of the most difficult challenges, particularly in a same-sex relationship, is establishing boundaries with friends and blending with each others’ friends. Plus, doing this while remaining secure and making each other feel like she is the most important person in the world!

Ordinarily in lesbian relationships, the majority of friends are the same-sex. Friends can be intrusive, meddlesome, opinionated, jealous, rude and inconsiderate; however, they can also be fun, supportive, considerate, helpful, and great sounding boards. There is no doubt, friends will either play havoc on a relationship or be accepting and considerate.

Let’s work from the premise that the relationship is the top priority and friends are not (but still very important). There are several key areas to focus on that can immediately bolster the relationship. These areas need to be mutually established and respected:

Boundaries – Agree on parameters that are manageable. Determine what the negotiable and non-negotiable items are. Examples: Agree to both be home by 8pm, unless otherwise discussed; no answering phones during dinnertime; cell phones are off-limits when you crawl into bed. If you go to happy hour, invite the other to join or at least communicate plans and be home on time. Remember, these boundaries must be agreed upon. If you end up policing and penalizing because of the boundaries, what you have in place is not working. The boundaries are to be and feel respectful of each other, not to hold you hostage.

Communication – Make each other feel special, loved, secure and safe. Talk to each other about everything. Find out about what is important to each other, feelings, favorite things, pet peeves, goals and dreams, fears and phobias, food, children, families, etc. Get to really know each other better than anyone else. Build trust and respect. Make each other feel valued and important.

Common Interests – Explore what you enjoy doing together such as projects, travel, entertaining friends, cooking, golf, fishing, hiking, etc. It is not necessary to do everything together, but it is healthy to do some (enough) things together. It is important to have fun together and feel connected. Orchestrate your relationship so that you are not always running parallel, but have enough intersecting times that keep you in sync with each other.

Host social occasions – One way to blend with each other’s friends is to jointly host social times at your home such as dinners and game nights. Another is to plan outings with joint friends such as happy hours, going to dinner and movies, so forth. The key is to become more comfortable with each other’s friends. Make efforts to blend friends and be more inclusive.

Spontaneity – Surprise each other in ways that you know are appreciated and liked. Break the routine and break away from all others and do for each other. Make each other feel exceptional.

Happy, long-term relationships are to be nurtured treated as top priority. Focus on enjoying your time together. Include friends when it’s appropriate and mutually agreed upon. There should be no feeling of competing for time, attention and love! Friends are to be fun additions.

Love, Sex, and The Teenage Brain

Teen romance and the possibility of sex…It is one of the trickiest and difficult topics that we, as parents, talk to our kids about. Making sure your teenager has good information and a healthy attitude about opposite sex relationships is a challenging parental responsibility. We know that our teenagers are going to parties, hanging out together, sometimes drinking and some are having sex.

According to a 2005 Statistics Canada report:

o About 12% of teens have had sexual intercourse by age 15 and by the time they reach the age of 17, 28% teens have. By age 24, 80% of young adults have had sexual intercourse.
o Of the sexually active youth between age 15 and 24, over one third of them had more than one partner in a year and 30% did not use a condom the last time they had intercourse.
o Teen pregnancy has been steadily decreasing over the past 25 years. However the number of teens who have contracted sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia remains on the rise. This points to reduced use of condoms or the prevalence of oral sex which many teens mistakenly believe eliminates the transmission of STDs.

So, as parents, what sort of influence do we have? According to a 2005 University of Regina in Saskatchewan study, teachers emerged as the most important source for information about pregnancy and STD prevention. The study also found that peer influence was more important than parental disapproval in predicting whether a student would have intercourse. The findings suggest that, teachers and peers are more important in providing good information and instilling attitudes to our teenagers than parents. Parental disapproval has little impact. In fact parental disapproval often has the opposite effect one is trying to accomplish.

Romance and the Teenage Brain

The conflict between young love and parental disapproval is not a new one. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette, his “star crossed lovers” showed what havoc teen romance can have on families. Today, perhaps it is understandable and acceptable for school to be a more important source of information than parents on certain information about sex. However, most of us hope our values are important to our children and help guide their sexual behaviour choices.

When your son or daughter has fallen in love the personality change may seem extreme. It like they have been invaded by an alien body snatcher. The power of teen love and sex is very strong. Many parents feel responsible for their teenager’s risky behavior and become overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. Parents and especially mothers often feel the judgment of other parents whose teen’s behaviour is less extreme This can lead to additional feelings of isolation and ineffectiveness. Some parents and especially fathers may get authoritative out of frustration and eventually give up or “wash their hands” of the problem out of feelings of ineptitude.

To be more influential it helps to equipped with the knowledge of what forces are at work when a teenager falls in love. It is important to understand how the teen brain works. Recent brain scientific research sheds much more light on how much hormonal activity is influencing our teenager’s thoughts and actions.

Brain structures and brain chemicals both affect the way an adolescent first dives into romance. In his book Why Do They Act That Way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen, David Walsh describes it this way. At around age ten, the body produces androgen hormones. This is when the first crush can occur. It is at puberty when the real awakening of sexual interest and sex drive occurs. This is when “falling in love” can happen. The hypothalamus drives surges of testosterone in both boys and girls and raises the levels of dopamine – the hormone that is responsible for feelings of pleasure. Because of developmental differences, boys and girls have different attitudes toward sex and romance. The testosterone surges in boys lead them to see girls as sexual objects. Adolescent girls tend to be more drawn to boys for the relational aspects of spending time together and talking.

Although sexual interest is always part of falling in love, falling in love is not always part of sex drive. The prefrontal cortex (the place of reason and judgment in the brain) is inactive and in teenagers not yet fully developed. When falling in love, we aren’t using our rational brain and impulse control. A “pleasure” high comes from the hormonal interplay of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. It is a powerful mix of natural neurological “chemistry”. All this high level of hormonal fireworks cannot be sustained for a long time by the brain. The intense feelings of “falling in love” are even shorter for teenagers than adults. Infatuation lasts only about three months on average. Following this they will move on to another relationship for the intoxication and excitement or will stay as the relationship transitions into a calmer more comfortable stable state, which has been called “standing in love”.

During the “standing in love” phase cooling down occurs and the prefrontal cortex engages. The teen is in a better position to assess the suitability of the relationship. The adolescent may wonder, “Why am I in this relationship?” A different set of hormones are released now. For girls it is oxytocin sometimes referred to as the “cuddling” hormone, also involved at childbirth, which promotes attachment. In boys, the hormone vasopressin makes them more protective, faithful and attentive to their partner’s needs.

Romantic Pitfalls

Often parents worry about their child falling in love with a “bad apple”. Concern about a teenager’s judgment is warranted. The prefrontal cortex is not completing formed in the brain until age 21. In this stupor of love, the bad influence of the boyfriend or girlfriend leads the “good” child to do things quite out of character. For example they may engage in some risky behavior out of loyalty and love such as destroy property for the “rush” of it.

Sometimes the darker side of love of jealousy and possessiveness takes hold. It is confusing for many teenagers. After the glorious “falling in love” feelings and then attachment hormones can cloud the judgement. He can become controlling, or physically or sexually abusive. When the “why am I in this relationship? question comes to mind, her memories of the “falling in love” times and the current cuddling hormone and lack of experience make it more difficult to see the wisdom of getting out.

Tips for Talking to Teens about Sex

Countries with low rates of teen pregnancy and STDs deal with sex more openly. If trusted adults, teachers and parents don’t talk openly, the adolescents will get their information from peers or the media. It is important to distinguish sex from sexuality. Sex is about biology whereas sexuality is about biology, psychology, values and spirituality. It is important for you to see your role as supplementing the logic, wisdom and judgement that the teen’s under developed prefrontal cortex requires. Actively listening, validating feelings and show respect will help open up discussions and reduce power struggles.

David Walsh in his book Why Do They Act That Way?, suggests the following tips and do’s and don’ts.
1. Get motivated. If you do not talk to them someone else will.
2. Get educated. Being informed overcomes nervousness and builds confidence
3. Get comfortable. It is OK to admit some discomfort. It will help everyone relax.
4. Make it an ongoing conversation.
5. Don’t try to cover too much in one discussion.
6. Choose appropriate times when there is an opportunity for calm, private uninterrupted conversation
7. Discuss sexuality, not just sex. They need to know about the place of sex in a healthy relationship.
8. Discuss dating as a time to have fun and get to know each other.
9. Don’t preach or lecture.
10. Make it a dialogue
11. Share your values


o Emphasize the importance of respect and honesty in all relationships
o Have regular conversations with your sons and daughters about sex and sexuality
o Communicate the values you consider important in romantic relationships
o Provide accurate information about birth control and STDs
o Get to know your adolescent’s friends so you know who they are influenced by
o Really listen to your teen: their fears, and worries and validate their feelings showing acceptance and love
o Talk to other parents, join a parents group, see a counselor for ideas and support


o Don’t get angry or use put-downs about a boyfriend or girlfriend you have concerns about
o Don’t ridicule or make fun of crushes or romantic attachments
o Don’t assume that your son or daughter won’t engage in sexual behavior
o Don’t keep quiet and let the “instant sex” that happens on TV and in movies become the only examples your kids

have about sex and sexuality