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Bringing sexy back for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day, in all its saccharin-sweet glory, is the perfect litmus test for determining the current status of your relationship.

Couples embarking on their first Valentine's night together will pull out all the stops. There will be candle-lit dinners, elaborate gifts and racy lingerie with more tassels and wiring than a Cirque du Soleil costume.

For long-term partners, this candy-heart holiday might as well just be any other Tuesday. If things get super-romantic, you'll share an extra-large pizza and peel off your flannel PJs at the end of the night for some obligatory Valentine's Day sex.

As much as we might hate to admit it, somewhere along the way the honeymoon phase ends and the comfortable stage begins. So how does a passionate duo turn into Team Sweatpants, and what can stuck-in-a-rut couples do to put the spark back in the relationship?

I posed the question to relationship expert and registered sex therapist Dr. Teesha Morgan because, frankly, we could all benefit from some sexpert advice at this time of year.

"In the beginning, relationships are often ignited and kept alive by lust," says Morgan.

When we start dating someone new, we have a tendency to project onto our partners all the good qualities that we want him or her to have, rather than what exists in actuality. Once the novelty wears off, we come to realize that our perfect partner is actually human. Suddenly that sexy stranger from across the room is the guy who doesn't cut his toenails and leaves his wet towels on the floor. Attraction turns to frustration and the fire begins to burn out.

As Hallmark-y as it might be, Valentine's Day is a good opportunity to look at your own relationship and evaluate whether or not you could use a little more excitement.

If you want to reignite that initial spark, you've got to make your significant other a priority. Ensure your partner feels desired by showing an interest in trying new things together on the intimacy front. "Variety truly is the spice of life," says Morgan. "Willingness to step outside the box and become a little more adventurous is an important factor to the longevity of a satisfying sex life."

So instead of reaching for the remote tonight, try reaching for, well, something else.

There are plenty of options out there, but it's up to you to make an effort to bring sexy back this Valentine'sDay, whether it's your first, fifth or 50th year together between the sheets.

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