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Rx for romance: surefire steps to keep the romantic fires burning.

Your love life could be as intense as a raging volcano; or it could be as lackluster as a smoldering hole in the ground. Experts say the level of passion that you get from your mate could very well depend on the romance that you give.

For some lovers, romance comes naturally. For others, romance has to be learned. Here, relationship and romance experts give their best advice for stoking the fire and keeping those flames burning this Valentine's Day and beyond.

Get Intimate--and then enjoy foreplay all day long.

For the record, intimacy is not intercourse, explains life coach and author Iyanla Vanzant. "Intimacy is a sacred vulnerability where you allow someone to participate in your innermost thoughts and feelings," Vanzant says. "Intimacy is a form of communication. Intimacy isn't physical--it's spiritual, it's emotional, it's psychological. Intimacy is being fully present with somebody with an open heart and mind; there's no judgment, no anticipation, or expectation."

True intimacy leads to foreplay, an exciting wooing ritual that shouldn't begin or end in the bedroom, explains New York psychologist Jeff Gardere, author of Love Prescription: Ending the War Between Black Men & Women. Brothers, especially, should devote more time to foreplay.

Travel to "Fantasy Island"

Perhaps your lover has been hinting about visiting some exotic destination; now it's time to show your significant other that you've been listening. Besides, a properly planned sweet escape can do both of you a world of good.

Sex expert Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer, author of Rekindling Romance for Dummies, suggests that you and your mate travel far, far away to bring back the passion. "The farther away you travel, the farther you'll be from the pressures that surround you on the home front," she notes. "Being able to relax is most certainly a boon to creating true romance."

Create a fantasy space--at home.

Transform your bedroom into a romantic oasis, and create a fantasy without leaving home, suggests Diann Valentine, event planner and author of Weddings Valentine Style.

"When we think of romance, the first thing that comes to mind for most people is rose petals and candles," Valentine tells Ebony. "You should let your imagination run wild and create an entire romantic space with creativity!"

Valentine says you can transform your bedroom into a lovers' paradise in three steps:

Make a blanket of rose petals. Place your bed in the middle of your bedroom and store all of your other furnishings in another part of the house or the garage. Remove all of your decorative pillows and bedding and drape white satin over the bed so that it puddles on the floor. Take 12 dozens of roses, pluck off the rose petals, and use them to create a thick blanket over the top of the bed. Illuminate the room with a man-made "moonlight" or "sunset." Change the color of the light bulbs--try a soft color such as amber, soft pink or light blue. Choose one wall in your bedroom and hang a curtain of crystals (or plastic beads that look like crystals). Place candles in front of the crystals so that the candlelight will illuminate the entire room. (Make certain that your candles are located a safe distance away from your satin sheets and anything else that is flammable.) Finally, enjoy the sound of music. Pick up a few mood-enhancing CDs and place the CD player underneath the bed. (The beautiful music will create a romantic ambiance, and an element of surprise since your mate won't know where the music is coming from.)

Renew your vows.

Celebrate your love by renewing your commitment to each other. The pressure of planning a wedding is not an issue. Because renewing your vows isn't a legally binding ceremony, anyone can officiate and you can have your ceremony anywhere--in a house of worship, a bowling alley or even on a cruise ship. Nothing is more romantic than celebrating the triumph of togetherness with your closest friends and loved ones. Or, if you want your "brand new" spouse all to yourself, you can skip the big party and just elope this time around!

Caution: Romance is addictive, and once you start spoiling your mate with pleasure and pampering, you have to continue. Half-stepping on romance would be unfair, unforgivable and utterly unromantic.
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Author:Hughes, Zondra
Publication:Ebony
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
Words:712
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