September 25, 2006 12:00 PM

>Esther Perel

Marriage feeling a little … passionless? In her new book—subtitled “Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic”—New York therapist Esther Perel offers couples a battle plan for fighting sexual burnout.

THE BIGGEST PASSION-KILLERS? Complacency. Lack of curiosity. Routine.

HOW DO YOU COMBAT THOSE? Desire needs distance, space and freedom; it’s often not the lack of closeness that’s the problem but too much of it.

YOUR Rx? Make your own friendships; pursue activities without your spouse. Acknowledge that your partner has his or her own sexuality, replete with fantasies that may not be about you.

YOU TALK ABOUT PUTTING THE “X” BACK IN SEX. Establish a sense of anticipation: Plan for sex—don’t wait for the mood to strike. Parents need to create a life together, away from kids; keep a date night and lock your bedroom door. Flirt with your partner and others. Send daring e-mails. Rendezvous in a hotel. Cultivate playfulness—it’s a great aphrodisiac.

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