When you think of the word “intimacy”, what comes to mind? Many people believe intimacy is only about sex. However, it is really so much deeper than a physical act. As a relationship therapist, I regularly work with couples who come looking for answers about why their sex life isn’t so hot anymore and what they can do about it. Before we can address issues surrounding sex, there are bigger questions about how they relate to each other in all forms of intimacy. How often do they hold hands or kiss? Connect emotionally? Go on dates? If the answers to these questions turn up more discontent, then I know we need to work on intimacy issues. Increasing the intimacy in your relationship can take it to a whole new level.
I want to give you hope if you find yourself struggling with this topic. Great sex with deep connection can be achieved in a healthy, loving, intimate relationship. This starts at a person’s emotional core by making sure their needs and expectations are met and not invalidated or seen as less important than the other person’s. I have found that couples who have unmet needs or expectations are also tending to personal hurts and often lash out at their partner in ways that destroy intimacy and can unravel their relationship.
If you are in a relationship with fizzling intimacy, here are some ideas (in increasing intensity) that I’ve borrowed from The Gottman Institute’s Salsa Cards to spice things up:
- Support your partner emotionally and actively listen to what they have to say
- Surprise your partner with a gift
- Go for an evening walk together and hold hands if you like
- Cuddle under the covers in bed before you go to sleep
- Plan a surprise date that you know your partner will enjoy
- Whenever you depart or reunite, make sure to kiss each other for at least six seconds
- Make out in the back row at the movies
- Take turns initiating sex
- Join your partner in the shower and see where it goes
- Act out a fantasy together
- Have phone sex when your partner is out of town
- Do a striptease that involves sexy lingerie
- Make love on a canvas covered in paint, then shower together. After the canvas dries, frame your creation and hang it above your bed
Of course, there are many more ways to be intimate with your partner, so explore together and do what feels good for both of you.
Post by: Christie Sears Thompson, MA
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