Health & Wellness

Desire: A Spark to Be Nurtured

By Chantal Tellier


It’s common for couples to go through phases during which their sex life is less active and passionate than it used to be. How can you rekindle the flame and stimulate your imagination to rediscover an intimacy that is satisfying?

What do vibrators, smartphones, and TV remotes have in common? A simple button turns them on. But the human body doesn’t work that way.

Movies and TV shows often give the impression that spontaneous desire—instant or unplanned excite- ment—is the norm. Although this can happen, especially at the beginning of a relationship, it’s not the only way to have a fulfilling, quality sex life.

For long-term relationships, introducing something new can revive passion. “In fact, many people experience what is called ‘responsive desire,’” says Audrey Morabito, a Montreal sex therapist. “This is the desire to have sex after using physical or mental sexual stimuli, such as kiss- ing,massages,orreadingerotica,tocreatetherightmood.”

Here are eight ideas for stimulating your desire with your partner.

Risqué Reading

Who is it for? People who like to read or those who like to listen to stories…in bed.

It works because… Reading stories in which the characters are making love is exciting. All you need to do is read a few pages to root out some new suggestions for positions or places where you could share some naughty moments with your partner. Diving into the protagonists’ adventures is also an opportunity to satisfy some hidden desires.

What the sex therapist thinks: “One of the assets of erotic literature is that it offers you the possibility of letting your imagination and your fantasies run wild without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. For people who aren’t sure what they would like to try in bed, it’s also a source of inspiration. By letting yourself imagine various situations that excite you or not, erotic stories can help you identify your own preferences so you can learn more about yourself.”

Some tempting suggestions: Breaking Old Habits, by Melissa Bender (BLVNP, Inc., 2017); The Pisces, by Melissa Broder (Penguin Random House, 2019); Bared to You, by Sylvia Day (Penguin Random House, 2014); Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James (Vintage Books, 2012); Delta of Venus, by Anaïs Nin (Harper Collins, 2004); Erotic Stories (an anthology), edited by Rowan Pelling (Penguin Random House, 2014).

Erotic Podcasts

Who are they for? Women and men who don’t especially like reading and aren’t interested in pornographic movies…or those for whom sex happens between the ears.

They work because… Erotic podcasts offer a unique immersive experience. Some are original scripted pieces, using actors, while others invite listeners into guided masturbation sessions through fictional stories or meditation or use anonymous narrators to tell sexual stories without shame.

What the sex therapist thinks: “Podcasts rely on the erotic imagination, nourishing it through various scenarios. They also allow listeners to activate their hearing, a sense that can be much in demand during sexual encounters.”

Some tempting suggestions: A Thousand and One Nights, Erotic Audio, Knightly Pleasures, Nobilis Erotica, Sexiest (, The Cashmere Room.

XXX Films

Who are they for? People who like visual stimulation.

It works because… You can feast your eyes.

What the sex therapist thinks: “Pornographic movies provide an experience that can draw on several senses. They offer images that are appealing to some people. You can take the time to choose a movie together and then create an ambience by dimming the lights, lighting your favourite candle, putting on a little soft music, and prepar- ing a plate of food along with a glass of wine.”

Some tempting websites offering films: Couple Fantasies, FrolicMe, Lustery,, XConfessions, and a free site, Bellesa.

Cheeky Games

Who are they for? Playful people who like to get out of their comfort zone.

They work because… These games let you see each other in a new light. Whether it’s sex dice, question cards, board games, or erotic tarot cards, you learn to see your partner(and yourself!) from different angles.

What the sex therapist thinks: “Games aren’t for everyone. Some people don’t enjoy them. But for those who want to try it, games promote exploration of yourself, your partner, and the couple. You’re less shy about asking questions or trying things because it’s the game that’s demanding it.”

Some tempting suggestions: Adult Commands card game ($27,; Kinky Truth or Dare—Pick-a-Stick ($21.58,; Monogamy board game ($24.50,; Sex! Board Game ($42.99,

Activity Jar

Who is it for? Everyone.

It works because… The idea of putting suggestions for activities to do together in a jar and picking one a day or one a week is easy to do. It can be something as simple as stop- ping for a minute to have coffee together or sitting down for five minutes to talk about a project that’s important to you.

What the sex therapist thinks: “This approach lets you focus on relationship intimacy and not just sexual intimacy. And we know that a satisfying sexual relationship is only possible if communication exists within the couple.”

Some tempting suggestions: Go for a picnic in a nearby park, share an ice cream cone, take a walk in your neighbourhood, sip a glass of good wine, go out for brunch, dance, do some karaoke at home.

Scheduled Sex

Who is it for? Organized people who are sure to put important things on the agenda or those who say they don’t have time.

It works because… You’re likely to respect the commitment, as you would a meeting at work or an appointment at the hair salon. But this time, the instructions are to explore your body and your partner’s. And if it’s planned, you have time to prepare and anticipate (with shivers of delight!) what might happen.

What the sex therapist thinks: “It’s about spending quality time together, without being interrupted by work, kids, pets, or family members. It’s not about putting pressure on yourselves to have sex but creating a moment of con- nection that can foster sexual intimacy.”

Our recommendations: Start with one meeting a month to get a feel for it, and then increase the number until you find a rhythm that both of you are comfortable with.


Who is it for? People who are more comfortable writing than speaking.

It works because… It’s easier to write suggestive things to the other person than to say them to their face.

What the sex therapist thinks: “You must obviously agree on the expres- sions you’re comfortable with, but it’s a nice way to let the person you love know that you desire them.”

Some tempting suggestions: You can write phrases like: “I want to cuddle with you,” “Meet me in the shower,” or “I love smelling your skin and your scent when I’m in your arms.”

A Yoga Session

Who is it for? People who need to get out of their head and reconnect with their body.

It works because… Through an appropriate regular practice, yoga promotes flexibility, stress reduction, and better awareness of physical sensations. Yoga exercises help to deepen breath- ing, invigorate the heart, strengthen the abdominal muscles, relax the hips, and stimulate the genitals and the perineum.

What the sex therapist thinks: “It’s a good idea. Stress is often an enemy of sexual desire. Techniques such as yoga help you settle down; you become more present in your own body and more receptive to the other person’s.”

Our recommendations: Try kundalini yoga, nidra yoga, or hormonal yoga.

With all these thrilling ideas to stimulate your imagination, the desire to frolic under the duvet (or elsewhere) will surely come galloping back!