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Heat Up Your Love Life

10 tips to help light — or reignite — the fire

Love Life Improvements

Erickson Stock/Offset

Keep the love burning with these practical tips.

En español | Let's face it — relationships take work. And work isn't the word we want to think of when it comes to love. But with just a little effort, you can make your love life better. Here's how:

1. Be present. Couples who've been together for a long time have a tendency to tune each other out. Resist the temptation to predict where any conversation is going. Pay attention, and respond appropriately.

Singles should be present, too. Stop staring down at a screen and make conversation in the coffee shop line. You might meet someone.

2. Touch. Touching your partner in a casual way — taking his arm as you head to the car, holding her hand when you walk the dog — is a surefire way to draw the two of you closer. And experts report that touch has a lasting effect: Have you ever felt you were carrying that feeling you get from a partner's touch through the rest of your day?

3. Kiss. Small gestures of intimacy lead to larger ones. Kiss your mate goodbye in the morning and hello on returning home.

4. Show your appreciation. Say "I love you" every day. Offer up an original compliment. Express gratitude about something your mate has done. Such simple steps can make a big difference in a long-term relationship — and get a new one going even stronger.

5. Have a daily "check-in." Carve five minutes from each day to talk with your partner about anything other than work and family, the condition of the household or the state of your relationship. How about discussing a dream — or a dream destination — and starting to plan how you might reach it?

6. Dive deep. If you're dating someone new, ask more telling questions: "Is there a place that really inspires you?" "Which causes are you most passionate about?" "When did you feel most deeply in love?"

7. Make the ask. If someone has put you in the Friend Zone and you want to go beyond, don't assume they understand your feelings. Swallow your pride, and ask for what you want.

If you're one half of an established couple, ask for something you have never had before. When it comes to passion, experts agree that people can remain strangers even after many years of marriage. Don't keep sexual secrets; let one out.

8. Fight — in, or for, a relationship. It's unrealistic to expect you can avoid conflict. You don't have to break crockery, but be ready to break your silence. Raise your voice about the importance to you of your bond with another person, no matter how fledgling or imperfect it may be.

9. Ban tech from the bedroom. No cellphones, TVs or laptops. Quality intimate time should not have to compete for your focus — or your partner's — with a glowing screen, big or small.

10. Stay healthy. Research shows that people who exercise regularly and take care of themselves have sex more often — and are likelier to enjoy it when they do.

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