By Dr. Jane Greer

So much goes into making a relationship work, and the secret ingredients that lead to success certainly vary from couple to couple. With that in mind, there are certain gestures many have in common that help them accent and cement their romance, and sharing pet or special names as well as baby talk are often among them. In fact, Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos recently revealed they share some naughty pet names for each other.

By choosing a nickname you use only for each other, it can allow you to express the unique affection you share. It can give you the confidence that you are truly seen and known by your partner, and it can make you feel special. Check out more relationship advice around terms of endearment:

Seductive names like this can add a lot of excitement and enhance intimacy as well as rev up your sex life. In some cases, hearing the special name can take you right back to those amorous sessions and make you feel sexy and desirable. In other words, the word itself can cause a reflex that gets your sexual energy going. Some take it a step beyond and give nicknames to their genitalia, which allows them to playfully refer to one another. There are many different types of names that can have a positive effect, and they don’t have to be risqué, but can also be simple and innocent. These, too, can be emotional glue that help to keep you together, and that can also add to a shared moment of love. All of this is great, and can bring you closer to your partner, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. Can it ever become a problem?

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The resounding answer is yes, it can. There are those occasions when something that starts as a cute and adoring act can begin to feel like a criticism, especially if the name of choice is rooted in a trait or behavior that may potentially annoy your partner. On occasion a name is picked for that very reason, to mitigate personality quirks that can get on each other’s nerves. For example, if your partner chose to call you Slowpoke because you are always on the other side of late, or you call him Bull because he is always rushed and breaks a lot of things, these can eventually come to highlight the less lovable sides of each of you. At first they might seem charming, but over time they can take on the negative twist of reality and you may feel like you are being scolded. Also, they can become overused and grating, and can become a source of tension. The same can happen with baby talk. You might like it, and it can serve to enhance the camaraderie you share while letting your inner child out, but it can become too much and seep into too many different places in your life. If this happens it can have the opposite of the desired result and instead of turning you on it can turn you off. So what do you do when the terms of endearment become terms of negativity?

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The best thing to do is to have a direct conversation with your partner about it. Explain what you are feeling, and suggest either coming up with another pet name or taking a break from it altogether and simply calling you by your real name. If you go the route of searching for a new nickname, you might even recommend that you hunt for one together. When it comes to baby talk, it is important to express your wishes there, too. Sometimes putting boundaries in place can help – for example, maybe you want to keep it out of the bedroom, or maybe the bedroom is the only place it works for you. Perhaps you are comfortable when you are the only ones present, but once you leave the house and are in the company of others, you might want to suggest turning it off and saving it for later. With that, too, if you want to stop it completely then ask to take a break. By doing this and being honest with each other, you are keeping your verbal interaction fresh and true, and continuing the spoken intimacy you share.

It seems that Kelly and Mark are able to enjoy and balance their naughty names, and hopefully so can you whatever your pet names and baby talk might be.

Please tune in to the Doctor on Call radio hour on HealthyLife.net every Tuesday at 2 PM EST, 11 AM PST. First and third Tuesdays are Shrink Wrap on Call, second Tuesdays are HuffPost on Call, and the last Tuesday of the month is Let’s Talk Sex! Email your questions dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships to Dr. Greer at askdrjane@drjanegreer.com. Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DrJaneGreer, and be sure to follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy. For more on Dr. Greer, visit http://www.drjanegreer.com.