By definition, intimacy is a feeling of closeness and connection within a relationship and it can be achieved in many ways. Sex is one of them. While sex isn’t a requirement for intimacy, it can create an intense connection within a romantic relationship.
Sex, according to certified sex therapist Shadeen Francis, creates an opportunity for sensory pleasure.
“Pleasure is important to our wellbeing. It settles our nervous systems, can improve our immune system, and can positively rewire the brain,” she says. “To share in moments of pleasure with someone you care about, and especially to help co-create pleasure for one another, can be a deeply connecting experience.”
With Valentine’s Day upon us, you may be thinking about how you can create intimacy or an out-of-the-norm sexual experience with your partner. Here are a mix of sex and intimacy ideas to explore.
Do you have sensual ways you’d like to experience pleasure but have been too shy to share with your partner? Francis suggests curating a sensual wish list to create greater intimacy between you and your partner. She says it’s when you jot down a list of ideas relating to pleasures you want to experience.
“On that list, I ask them to include both ways they would like to be touched, and ways they would like to give touch,” she says.
You can each create a separate list and choose one or more things from the other person’s list that you’d like to try. For instance, you could put ideas like running a feather down your spine, being spanked lightly with a paddle, or having your inner thigh kissed as pleasures you’d like to experience. It could also be something simple like having them give you a hand massage.
“This sensual exchange can be a great way to prioritize pleasure, and to practice communicating about sensuality as separate from sex.”
There are so many professionals out there committed to helping couples improve their sex lives. Consider utilizing one of these professionals with your partner. You could book a session or class with a sex coach. They typically help individuals or couples enhance their intimacy in the bedroom through classes, support groups, workshops, or seminars. These days, you can find many sharing their work on social media.
If you’re having challenges in the bedroom, then consider a session with a sex therapist as coaches don’t provide professional health counseling. A therapist can get to the bottom of the problems inhibiting you in the bedroom.
The conversation heart candy and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand. Have you ever thought about using the concept of conversation hearts to spice up the bedroom? Donna Oriowo, LICSW, M.Ed, CST, a sex and relationship therapist, says you should consider it.
“Create your own hand-written conversation hearts to get a conversation started around sex, and what you want to see or what you want to do. Let the topic guide you into having more sex with your significant other this Valentine’s Day.”
Sometimes we get so caught up in the aesthetics of Valentine’s Day that we lose the true essence of the day: intimacy. Think about ways to be fully present with your partner to deepen your connection.
“Allow yourself to be fully engaged in your partner, and allow them to feel how good it is when you two are truly together, ” says Francis. “I call this ‘high-quality quality time.’”
I’m sure you can guess the first tip for being present is to put your phone away. Forget about posting on social media or responding to texts and emails. Focus on your partner and create a new experience with them instead. You could also ask your partner what being fully present looks like for them.
Intimacy questions are a way to learn more about your partner no matter how long you’ve been together. Let’s Get Deep is an example of such cards, and it only costs about 20 bucks. The deck has levels to the questions, meaning some inquiries are deeper than others. Relationship flash cards can be a fun way to learn about your partner and deepen your emotional intimacy over wine and some Luther Vandross. We also know, in some cases, emotional intimacy can help facilitate better sex. Speaking of sex, there are flash cards for that too. The Cosmo Kama Sutra Sex Deck, for instance, gives you ideas for 99 sexual positions. That’s more than enough to keep you busy in the best way.