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101 Days of Passion

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101 Days of Passion

By Courtney Helgoe, Experience Life

Denver Times columnist Doug Brown wasn’t ready to give up his favorite sweatpants, but after his wife, Annie, declared them a libido-killer, he agreed. After all, when you commit to making love every single day for 101 days, little things really do count.

Even before embarking on this challenge, the Browns, both in their late 30s, considered themselves a happy couple. But like many happily partnered people who have been together awhile, they felt like their romance was getting a little stale. Two feisty young daughters, two jobs and 14 years of marriage had left them less focused on the sizzle of their intimate connection — a situation to which most people in long-term partnerships can readily relate.

Whether it’s stress, time pressure or just the effects of always-there familiarity, most long-term partnerships reach points where the romance could use a boost.

As it turned out, the Browns’ experiment delivered far more than they bargained for. In Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Life for 101 Days (No Excuses!) (Crown, 2008), Doug Brown explains how daily intimacy not only renewed their physical connection, it significantly deepened their emotional one and increased their daily pleasure in living. It inspired them to take yoga classes, go on more short vacations and even commit to buying a house.

So what to do if your own connection feels flimsy and your passion a bit predictable? A 101-day lovefest might not be what you have in mind, but many experts suggest that taking some initiative to renew your bond in other ways can yield unexpected rewards. Here, relationship experts explain why romances tend to cool over time and how you can help revive the energy and passion you’d both like to enjoy for the long haul.

Why Things Cool
When a long-term relationship falls into a holding pattern, a variety of factors may be at play. Some of the change is simply chemical, explains scientist and anthropologist Helen Fisher in her book Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love (Henry Holt, 2004).

During the rush of new romance, we’re high on dopamine, which the reward centers in the brain churn out in response to novel stimuli. But as relationships stabilize we’re more influenced by oxytocin and vasopressin. These calming hormones deepen our bonds and increase our sense of loyalty and security, but the sensations they produce can feel flat compared with the who-needs-sleep-or-food dopamine high we felt in earlier days.

There are also the inevitable challenges that emerge when a relationship survives its early flame phase: the reality of shared household responsibilities, work demands that keep partners apart or exhausted, maybe the arrival of a new baby, or negotiations around stepparenting. Having one or both partners faced with a choice between intimacy and much-needed sleep can also take romance down a notch.

Next: How to Renew Your Passion

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Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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8:00PM PST on Feb 20, 2013

Interesting read, I'm not facing any of those sorts of issues at this time but incase I do, I have additional information.

5:06PM PDT on Mar 20, 2012

i think this is great advice for newly weds. something to try and accomplish each year, take one a day and show you care!

6:03PM PST on Mar 7, 2012


12:12PM PST on Mar 5, 2012

It's great how seniors are getting in on the action, just because you're in the golden years does not mean you need to sleep in separate bedrooms, that's so 1980's!

I love how older people are encouraged to share passion like in their younger days, it keeps the heart healthy too (in fact I think i just saw another article and this site about coffee, sex & health. Chat with a helper on and they can guide you to some good ideas, furthermore the guides are very good on that site as well and I'm a huge advocate of their items mainly because there is no adult x-rated material on there, it's not that kind of site so any couple can browse knowing there won't be anything that will make you feel uncomfortable.

Also, it seem like the aging population is now left at home alone since all their kids (myself included) have now moved out of the house and live on their own, making their own lives. I always wondered my my parents seem to much happier when I go back home in the holidays to visit ;)

10:17PM PST on Mar 4, 2012

Be thankful for those who do have a partner.

7:26AM PST on Mar 4, 2012

Some great tips that are easy to apply. Thanks.

6:35PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Good advice, but what about when a very necessary medication is a big factor in loss of desire? Yes I want that connection back, but without my meds a normalish life becomes impossible.

5:10PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

you are assuming that both partners are willing to try this, and this is usually the problem....he is never on the same page (and its usually he who is the problem regarding this issue, isn't it?).

2:05PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

For us when the economy crashed things slowed down with my husband's trade and he had to leave home for work. He went across the country but soon moved us closer to him. He now works in the middle of nowhere and stays at the work camps for 11 days then comes home for a break for 3 days.

There is something to be said for having some time apart and missing another to ignite passion. I love getting ready,dressing all up and setting the scene on the day he comes home. We may spend a little less time together now but it seems the time we do spend together is more meaningful.

6:02PM PST on Feb 23, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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