: 20 May 2015

4 Qualities that Spark Desire in Relationships

Desire. It’s that delectable energy that wakes us up, focuses our attention, gets our blood flowing and makes us feel alive!
Desire is one of the most enjoyable human experiences there is – wanting something and anticipating getting it.

It’s the energy that surges us into evolution; desire is at the very core of our existence!

So what are the qualities that inspire the amazing feeling of desire between two people? Last week I had the pleasure of listening to the lovely Esther Perel speak (the author of the revolutionary book Mating in Captivity), and she had some phenomenal tips on the subject.

Below are four qualities that Esther mentioned as being paramount in creating desire in relationships. If your relationship ever starts to feel a little stale (which, of course, is natural from time to time), infuse yourself with these qualities to bring yourself, and your love, back to life.

1) Playfulness

Even the word playfulness makes me feel giddy, so it makes sense why it’s a key to desire.

Playful energy is light, silly, flowing and uplifting. In a world where we get bogged-down by responsibility, playful energy is the antidote for lightening up.

The reason playful energy makes us feel desire is really simple – it’s fun! We all want to laugh and enjoy ourselves. When we experience playfulness with another person, we want more…

Voila! Desire is created.

As you know, we don’t prioritize playfulness the way we do our to-do lists. And this seems crazy! What’s the point of life if we’re not enjoying ourselves?! Let playfulness take precedence in your relationship and you’ll absolutely reignite the spark of desire.

2) Admiration

I love that Esther listed admiration as one of the qualities that creates desire. Here’s why:

We feel admiration for others when we recognize them as complete individuals in their own right. You are you, I am me. This healthy separation – or recognition that we are each, individually whole – is so important in us wanting more.

We’re all familiar with the fantasy-delusion that another person is supposed to “complete you.” Well, turns out, if you want to feel attracted to that person for an extended period of time, you better hope they don’t! Because when someone “completes you,” you’re in a dependent relationship – and this is one of the biggest relationship-buzz-kills there is.

Dependency leads to neediness, and we all know what that does to the spark of passion.

Instead, work on allowing your partner to be completely separate from you, and then admire him or her for their differences. By doing so, you are stoking the flames of passion in your relationship.

3) Novelty

Ever notice how you love having sex on vacation? Traveling induces the feeling of newness into our lives, and this a huge aphrodisiac.

You might be wondering, “How do I create novelty in an ongoing, long-term relationship?” It’s easier than you think…

Here’s the thing – you are always growing. You’re an expanding being. You’re in a constant state of evolution.

When you’re fully committed and engaged to your own growth process (through self-exploration, pushing your own limits, pursuing your passions, etc.) you are constantly becoming new. This not only creates an interesting life for you, but it creates excitement in your relationship, too.

Relationships that value and support the growth of the individual, thrive. When we grow, we become new and exciting, both to ourselves and to each other.

4) Presence & Engagement

Schedules – while necessary – smolder desire. Why? Because in the midst of day-to-day life, we turn-on autopilot and turn-off life force. Needless to say, autopilot isn’t sexy. 

Here’s the thing: autopilot (or unconsciousness) is the same thing as disengagement – from ourselves and others. We do it as a preservation mechanism, but it backfires. When we shut off, the juice of life shuts off, too.

What’s the solution? Meditation.

Meditation is so helpful in increasing our satisfaction in life because it re-engages us to the present moment. It turns us on! 

If you find yourself moving through your relationship in autopilot, stop, get present and spend some quality time engaged with your partner. Doing so will surely reignite your flame.

As I’m sure you recognized from the list above, desire is all about that expansive feeling – the feeling of growing, being engaged, and becoming more of who you really are. When you commit to exploring the freshness of life – in yourself and in others – desire emerges. Get back in contact with the aliveness that lives within you, and your relationship will be sure to come alive as a result.

Please leave a comment below telling us the ways you’re going to infuse desire into your life and relationship. I look forward to hearing from you!


  1. Elena Brown on June 2, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    What do you do when you form ‘attachments’ instead of relationships; and can’t seem to detach, from certain people, even though we know they are unhealthy for us.

    • Shelly Bullard on June 3, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      You’re letting your little, wounded self grasp onto people. The best thing you can do – as strange as it sounds – is start a spiritual or mediation practice. Meditation teaches us to JUST BE. By learning to Just Be in life, you’ll learn to Just Be in relationships.

  2. Lisa on July 6, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Shelly, I have been struggling for the past two years with what I will call menopause and depression. My fiancé got tired of it and I pushed him away. I don’t have any friends to connect with. I feel the loneliness of life every day. In fact home is not s sanctuary any more. I want to try to work on getting more or at least a few friends and maybe rekindling the relationship with my ex. We still communicate and there might be a chance for us. I feel helpless and lost for the first time in my life. Not real sure hats next. I can’t go in like this.

    • Shelly Bullard on July 6, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      You have to pull yourself out step by step. Feeling good (on your own) should be your first priority. Take it step by step in the direction towards finding fulfillment within. xo

  3. enrique aguirrezabala on July 27, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Dear Shelly,your ideas are not only excellent but also practical. My marriage has evolved positively due to same concepts defended by my wife. She is spiritual and sexy teachor for more than 30 ys of good and not so nice moments. She always knew which way to follow and my life would be a desaster without he infinite comprehension and support. with 58, I appreciate her values as I’ve never imagined before. As my couple she is an unfinshing source of friendship and utterly support. Finally, Iagree totally with your opinions. Current problems happens when couples are a lack of dialog and put your named autopilot working and disengagement reigns. Sorry for my English (jaja). Best regards

    • Shelly Bullard on July 27, 2015 at 3:21 am

      Thank you for your beautiful comment, Enrique. 🙂

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