How to Create More Intimacy In Your Relationship
Are You Looking to Increase Intimacy in Your Relationship?
Intimacy is not the same as love or passion, and requires more to be given to it in order for it to grow. Intimacy is described as feeling emotionally close to your partner, and doing so requires time and repetition. In order for intimacy to grow, you create a community with your partner. This means freely sharing thoughts and feelings, willingly choosing your partner again and again, feeling emotional closeness, and communication. Understanding more about what creates intimacy and closeness with your partner, you can see how it is necessary it also is for gratifying, safe, and consensual sex. As your relationship grows and changes, you may notice that intimacy changes as well. As intimacy changes, the way we connect during sex may also change. Here are some quick and easy tips to grow and deepen the intimacy in your relationship.
Identifying your Expression of Intimacy
Just like how we all have different ways of expressing and receiving love, we also have different ways of expressing trust and closeness with our partners. For women, generally they follow the “talk intimacy” approach, which is talking and discussing thoughts and feelings with their partners. For men, physical intimacy (touching, kissing, hugging, sex) is often seen as the typical style for demonstrating emotional connection. Just like how differing love languages can cause conflicts, as can different styles of intimacy. To lessen the friction that these differences can cause, understand how your partner shows emotional closeness, and work to balance your differing styles. Integrate time to talk about thoughts and feelings while making the effort to cuddle, touch, and show affection. Integrating both you and your partner’s intimacy styles will aid in creating a deeper sense of intimacy that could follow you to the bedroom.
Creating Space for Intimacy and Sex
In today’s constant on the go mentality, it can be easy for us to forget to make a space for intimacy and sexual pleasure to flourish. With our constant obligations (children, work, family, friends, etc.) we can easily forget about sexual pleasure and being intimate with our partners. Although many may feel that sex is better when it’s not planned or when it’s more spontaneous, we still need to create the time and space for sex and intimacy to be explored. This means that we should dedicate more time to connect, to touch, and to explore and play. The “main event” is not the whole story, sex includes the anticipation and the buildup. Take your time to touch, caress, kiss, and cuddle. Explore your partner’s body with your fingertips, allow for time to play. Creating this time and space for sexual pleasure will in turn deepen intimacy, and it will also give more room for pleasure.
Too Little or Too Much?
Like everything else in this world, we need to have a balance! Creating intimacy with our partners follows the same rules. Too little intimacy, and we don’t have enough emotional closeness for the relationship to sustain. But if we have too much, we become fused with our partners, co-dependent on each other. How can this be avoided? To create intimacy we need to allow for time, repetition, and space for intimacy to grow. Keep making time to connect and build trust, and keep creating the space for sex and play to occur.
Though we want to create intimacy with our partners, we also need to remember to have personal intimacy. What does this mean? It means remembering that you are not just a partner/spouse, you are also an individual who has individual interests, thoughts and needs. What many do not realize is that sexual pleasure also incorporates a degree of being separate from your partner, this creates the environment to be selfish, to keep your own pleasure in mind as well as your partner. What happens when you forget about yourself and become too attached to your partner? You may notice that you worry more about your partner’s pleasure and that you forget about your own. You may not be doing the activities that enjoy, spending time with your own friends, or doing things that make you YOU.
Remember to honor the space that makes you an individual! By creating some separation from your partner, not only do you keep co-dependency and fusion at bay, but you also create more desire and tension that ignites passion when you are sexually intimate. Remember that you are an individual, and by creating some separation, you increase intimacy and sexual desire.
Intimacy Needs to Be Maintained
Just like how our relationships with our partners change, intimacy, too, will change. It will wax and wane and requires routine maintenance. Keep checking in with your partner, honoring each other’s needs, and making space for sexual play. Remember the balance of being “we” and “me” will go a long way when it comes to maintaining intimacy, and creating space for sexual desire and exploration.
Are you and your partner looking to create or maintain deeper intimacy in your relationship? Are you struggling to balance life challenges while creating room for sexual desire and play? Schedule a time to come in and talk with one of our therapists. We’d love to meet you.
Written by: Veronica Payanoff, LPC Therapist at Lincoln Park Therapy Group