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By David Zinczenko Provided by: Men's Health

Dave Zinczenko's Mysteries of the Sexes Explained

Why Flirting Can Help Your Relationship Posted Thu, Dec 20, 2007, 1:54 pm PST

38% of users found this article helpful.

I know that flirting can be a huge source of contempt in relationships. Some guys see their partners flirting with other men and go ballistic. Some women see guys flirting with other women and think he's trying to score.

And while I know that flirting can be a dangerous game if you're playing with the wrong people, I also believe that flirting can be healthy - as long as you're taking the energy you're building and putting it back into your relationship.

So, what can innocent flirting with a co-worker, stranger, or random bartender do to help your relationship? More than you may think.

Flirting Gives You Confidence

A relationship progresses after some time, and both sides fall into the same rut of Friday pizza, Saturday out, and sleepy Sunday. Same old, same old. The message: We're stuck together, we're comfortable together, and we may be perfectly content together.

All well and good, but that does as much for your romantic confidence as having spinach in your teeth. What flirting allows you to do is feel like you're impressing another person and being attractive to another person - without the baggage, stigma, and pressures of the next step. Bringing that sexual and romantic confidence back to your relationship helps you - and strengthens the relationship across the board.

Flirting Keeps You Sharp

Being wanted is one of our most basic needs. Sometimes, when we're in relationships, we don't always get that positive vibe - that we're wanted, needed, and desired.

Every once in a while, flirting can reinforce that primitive need of feeling valued. And that little innocent dialogue with some stranger in a bookstore may be all the kick-start you need to lose a little weight or change up your hair or whatever it is that you want to do to make yourself feel better about yourself. Which has benefits for everyone involved.

Flirting Lets You Build Up Sexual Energy

Some shrinks say it's OK to fantasize about anyone you want and build up a head of steam - as long as you, well, go ahead then and release that pent up energy with your partner.

So in a way, you can use flirting as a kind of foreplay. Build a little frisky tension with the barista, get warmed up, then bring home the dividends. And when you're at home, leave a copy of this list around the house. Think of it as a kind of flirting with your partner - and a fun to-do list.

Flirting Reminds You How Good You Have It

The fun of flirting is that there are no strings attached. Just some good ole banter with jokes, laughs, and some well-timed sexual innuendo. Fun at first. But when you think of the long process that comes after, it makes you realize that what you've got at home is exactly what you want.

I can hear you now: too much flirting can lead to real temptation. Here's what we told Men's Health readers to do when faced with a home-wrecking temptress.

Have some thoughts on flirting? Share them here.

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Want more from David? Subscribe to Men's Health with this special holiday offer: 50% off the cover price.

You can also check out "Men, Love & Sex: The Complete User's Guide for Women" and "Eat This Not That" on Yahoo! Shopping.

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