Building Intimacy In and Outside The Bedroom
Intimacy is one of the things that makes the world go round. It helps us feel softer, and more connected with ourselves, our loved ones, our bodies, and our sense of pleasure. When people think of intimacy they tend to think of sex. Of course, sex is a huge part of intimacy, but it’s just a tiny part of the picture. Being able to build intimacy outside of sex can not only improve your sex life but help you feel more connected overall. Like many things in life, increasing intimacy can be easier said than done. Sometimes we need some backup support.
We’ve got some ways for you to increase intimacy with your partner and yourself.
Take a Break
Life can be a lot sometimes. The stressors of everyday life can be one of the biggest mood killers when it comes to intimacy. Sometimes you need to take a step back from everyday routines and responsibilities to remind yourselves why you’re together.
Here are some other ways you can take a break together:
- Cooking a meal together each week
- Going for a walk to wind down after work
- Sharing morning coffee or tea without emails or other distractions
- Doing a hobby that you love together like listening to or playing music
Taking a break doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. It’s not practical for most people to just get up and go on holiday whenever they want. Instead, you can schedule weekly or daily times where you focus on your relationship and building intimacy. This can be as small as a cuddle sesh in the morning or a weekly date at your favorite restaurant.
Practice More Physical Touch
When you’ve been with someone for a while, sometimes physical touch starts to dwindle. Although you may or may not still have sex, you might miss the honeymoon days when you couldn’t keep your hands off each other. But for most people, physical touch is a key part of engaging in intimacy, whether or not it involves sex. Humans crave touch, especially from the people we love, and some people need more touch than others.
You can use these tips to create more physical touch in your relationship:
- Give each other massages
- Hold hands when lounging or in public
- Hug just for the sake of hugging
- Cuddle when lounging or in the morning in bed
- Sneak a kiss on the cheek when they aren’t expecting it
- Of course…work on having more fulfilling sex
Everyone has different needs when it comes to touch. It’s important to talk to your partner about how much and what kind of touch helps them feel loved and secure in your relationship.
Boost Your Communication Skills
Although we tend to think of intimacy as physical, so much of it depends on your emotional connection with your partner. One of the most important steps when it comes to increasing your emotional connection and intimacy is to improve your communication skills. Even if you already have amazing communication in your relationship, we’re always learning and growing and there’s always room for growth and improvement.
Here are some ways to boost your communication skills:
- Reflect on your days together
- Don’t shy away from difficult conversations
- Ask your partner how certain situations make them feel
- Pay attention to non-verbal cues as well as their words
- Try out couples therapy
Go to Couples Therapy
People tend to think of couples therapy as a last resort, or something to do when you’re experiencing problems in a relationship. This is absolutely true, but it can also be helpful to help you create more depth in your relationship, improve communication, and in turn – increase intimacy. Finding the right couple’s therapist can take time, and it may help if you’ve had experience with solo therapy. When you are able to find the right therapist, it can be an incredibly helpful tool to boost intimacy in your relationship.
Intimacy isn’t just about how you interact with your partner or loved ones, you also experience intimacy with yourself. These change from person to person but greater intimacy with yourself can help you feel more calm, sensual, confident, open, and much more. These are some great tips you can use to increase intimacy with yourself:
- Go on solo dates without distractions
- Practice self-care tools like massage, taking baths, and spending time in nature
- Have a reflective journal practice
- Practice masturbation or other forms of self-pleasure
Intimacy can feel daunting at first if you’re feeling disconnected from yourself or your partner, but like many things in life, it’s a practice that can constantly be improved upon. Navigate increasing intimacy with an open mind, be gentle with yourself and your partner, and know that you deserve the type of relationship that you’re craving.
Natasha (she/they) is a full spectrum doula, reproductive health content creator, and sexual wellness consultant. Her work focuses on deconstructing the shame, stigma, and barriers people carry around birth, sex, and beyond, to help people navigate through their lives with more pleasure, softness, and sensuality. You can connect with Natasha on IG @spectrumoflovedoula.