05/19/2015 03:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Give Me a Kiss to Build a Dream On


Last spring, my partner and I were hiking and having "that" conversation where he wanted to know what to do to "get me in the mood." We'd been seeing a sex and relationship coach, so maybe it was that or the fact that we were climbing a huge hill and I had to catch my breath, but rather than replying immediately, I took a few minutes to think before responding.

In those few minutes, I realized how trajectory-based our evenings were. It wasn't like there was a big "on/off" switch that suddenly had us hurtling towards a romantic encounter at the end of the night. It was more like there were a bunch of little nudges along the way to make that outcome more likely.

Imagine a graph with a line heading up and to the right. Let's assume this is the trajectory that culminates in just the perfect sexual encounter before bed. If one of us started the evening with a look, or kiss or kind words of appreciation, BINGO, we'd be following the graph up and to the right. But if the other person didn't take the time to soak in that look, kiss or kind words, BAM, we were suddenly off-course and taking a detour from the trajectory.

Maybe it's because I was explaining my emotions with a graph, but my engineer husband seemed to be getting the analogy. We talked about the chore-based things that could keep the trajectory moving up and to the right -- like helping each other with the dishes or cleaning up the house. We talked about the family-based things like helping our son with his homework and reading to him before bed. We talked about relationship-based things like replacing phone, computer and television time with sharing successes and challenges from our day (this quality time was the most effective trajectory-inducing mechanism for me.)

We decided to conduct an experiment where he would plant a very bold Hollywood-style kiss on me when he arrived home for dinner. This dramatic entrance kick-started the trajectory and was silly enough to throw me off my typical rejection response, allowing me to theatrically accept his wooing ways. Indeed, not only did the kiss have its desired dreamy effect on us, making him feel desired and me feel warm and tingly, but I was floored when we forgot to do it one night and our 7-year-old asked "When are you and daddy going to do that thing you do?" I asked him if he liked it and he grinned and exclaimed, "Yes!"

It's been a year since that hike, and we're still uncovering new ways to build our trajectory and are reaching new heights of connection and arousal as a result. Sure, there are ups and downs along the way, but with continual conscious effort, it's kind of like the hike we were on that day. We got to the top of the first hill and thought, "Wow, the view here is beautiful." But as the hike continued, we found bigger climbs with more breathtaking and "pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming" views.

"Wait, that's it?" Transformation takes time, so I'm intentionally sharing in bite-sized doses that reflect my experience over the last year. I'd love to hear your questions, let's continue the conversation in the comments section below. Or visit my blog at