Most couples, especially those in long-term relationships, want to improve intimacy. When a relationship is new and fresh, passion is more fiery and everything is exciting. But as couples stay together longer, the flame has a tendency to begin to lose its heat.
Although intimacy and passion certainly aren’t everything in a committed relationship, it’s safe to say that most individuals value these aspects when with a partner. This means you likely consider intimacy fairly important in your own romance life.
You may find it surprising, then, that roughly half the population is unsatisfied in the marital bedroom! This half also believes that their intimate lives aren’t exciting enough and consider their bedroom activities mediocre. Two-thirds would like to have intimacy more often. As such, according to this survey, the need to improve intimacy is certainly present.
Luckily, new research has found ways that are scientifically proven to help boost this passionate connection between partners. Here’s how researchers explain how to improve the intimacy in your relationship.
1. HARMONIOUS SE#UAL PASSION VS OBSESSIVE SEXUAL PASSION
In order to better understand how intimacy works and what makes it good, let’s take a look at science. Specifically, let’s talk about the research done by Robert Vallerand, Frédérick Philippe, and their team.
These researchers conducted different types of studies that focused on a dualistic model to understand intimacy. Essentially, they were able to categorize the types of sexual passion into two different kinds. Understanding these types could improve intimacy in your relationship, so let’s dive in.
HARMONIOUS SE#UAL PASSION
The kind of sexual passion that is best for a relationship is known as harmonious sexual passion. Simply put, this variety of passion is harmonious with all other aspects of the relationship. This allows that passion to integrate seamlessly into a couple’s lives, and it does not create conflict with other aspects of a relationship.
Supposedly, those who practice this form of sexual passion are able to enjoy spontaneous and less inhibited intimacy with their partner or partners. This also leads to lesser conflict overall and can prevent intrusive passionate thoughts. These individuals also improve their times of intimacy because they have positive control over their typical intimacy drive.
OBSESSIVE SE#UAL PASSION
So, you now know about the good type of sexual passion. But what’s the less favorable one? This is known as obsessive sexual passion. Essentially, this stems from sexualities that are not easily integrated with other aspects of self and the lives of those in relationships.
Those who experience obsessive sexual passion might consider intimacy a prize or a goal to achieve. This is an unhealthy way to think of intimacy and can cause less enjoyment when that goal is finally reached. This type of sexual thought is linked to a number of problems, including:
- Extreme reactions to rejection
- Deterioration of long-term relationships
- An overt sexual interest in others, even when in a monogamous relationship
- Higher chance of infidelity
It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean you can’t have a high intimacy drive, or that you can’t have many consenting sexual partners. It means that your sexuality should be an integrated part of you, not a ruling motivation or obsessive desire. Intimacy shouldn’t be considered a reward so much as an activity to be enjoyed together!
2. OPENNESS AND HONESTY
Of course, the effort to improve intimacy is about more than just what you do in the bedroom or how you think about intimacy. Often, the state of a relationship’s intimate life has roots in the overall health of the partnership.
Being open and honest is crucial for a good intimate life. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to each other with an open heart and mind outside of the bedroom, the connection you forge sexually will feel artificial and closed off.
At the beginning of a relationship, it’s customary to get to know each other. People practice self-disclosure to find out about the other person. This helps those in a budding relationship feel closer.
Research has found that self-disclosure mixed with eye contact can actually lead to an instant bond between two complete strangers. This proves that self-disclosure is necessary to improve intimacy.
But as the relationship goes on, you may find fewer things to talk about. You and your partner will know most things about each other. On top of that, revealing brand new secrets can feel more risky when you’ve been together for a long time.
A good, healthy relationship involves honesty and openness. This includes feeling safe being vulnerable with each other. You should be able to talk about serious or frightening issues. Some examples are:
- Financial management
- Parents and families-in-law
- Having and raising children
- Emotional baggage
- Controversial thoughts and opinions
- Wants and needs
- Sexual fantasies
- Finding compromise
Take the time to be vulnerable with your partner. Spend an evening sipping wine and talking about deeper issues. It can be daunting, but practice positive thinking! You’ll be surprised how refreshing this open honesty can be. Sharing your feelings and being communicative can lead to positive change in the bedroom.
3. COMMUNICATE ABOUT INTIMACY TO IMPROVE INTIMACY
Many couples make the mistake of assuming their partner should inherently know how to please them in bed. These types of assumptions are exactly what cause dissatisfaction in the bedroom.
There also seems to be the idea that giving instructions during intimacy is inherently unsexy, but that is far from the case! Think about it, and try not to blush: don’t you like hearing the words “right there,” “so good,” and so on?
While you and your partner are in bed, don’t be afraid to communicate. Take their hand and guide them, showing them how to touch you. Give directions if needed. Your partner can’t please you if they don’t know how. On the other hand, faking enjoyment will tell them that you like all the things that don’t actually work for you.
On top of that, many women have also been raised to find their sexual desire somewhat shameful. As a result, they neglect to experiment with their bodies and get in touch with what they like. Of course, this can happen with men too, though less commonly.
Regardless of your gender identity, if you’re someone who doesn’t truly know what you want or need in the bedroom, it’s time to find out. Ask your partner if you can discover that together. Or, if you prefer, take some time to lavish love on yourself and find out what truly makes you tick!
In addition, don’t be afraid to bring up sexual fantasies with your partner. Want to try out a new kink or fetish? Enjoy a specific type of intimacy? Thinking of bringing toys into the bedroom? Discuss these ideas! You might be shocked to find out that you and your partner are into the same things.
4. SWITCH THINGS UP
There’s nothing wrong with intimate acts that are familiar and you know you both enjoy. But only doing that and nothing new for years can grow monotonous. When intimacy feels like nothing more than a routine act, you’ll get bored and dissatisfaction will grow.
Even subtle changes to the bedroom can spice things up. For example, you can:
- Introduce a toy
- Try roleplay
- Indulge in fantasies
- Light some candles
- Sprinkle some rose petals
- Wear some sexy lingerie or an alluring outfit
- Give each other massages
- Play some sensual music
- Play a raunchy movie
- Go to a hotel room
You and your partner deserve better than lazy, boring intimacy. Put energy into making it fun and exciting for the both of you!
In addition, switching things up doesn’t just apply to the bedroom. When was the last time you and your partner went on a real adventure? Here are some examples of fun things you can both do that will get your blood pumping and adrenaline rushing:
- Exploring a place you’ve never been
- Eating at a restaurant you’ve never tried
- Setting aside a weekend for a mini-vacation
- Rock climbing
- Buying new things for your home
- Playing games together
- Going dancing
On a personal level, you can also indulge in mini-adventures that change up your routine. This includes:
- Buying yourself something
- Going out with friends
- Singing or dancing to music you love
- Trying a new class
- Eating somewhere new
Trying new things boosts the release of dopamine, according to this study. This neurotransmitter actually plays a big role in one’s drive. As such, new bursts of dopamine can improve intimacy in your relationship pretty drastically!
5. DIET AND EXERCISE
Your lifestyle and overall health always affect your intimate life. If you and your partner spend a lot of time gorging on pizza and junk food, or if you’ve both gotten out of shape, this could play a role in your intimacy.
That’s right, intimacy is about more than just positive thinking. Your state of health can completely change your intimate drive and that side of life. So if you need a reason to work out, this is a fairly good one. Exercising together can make you closer and is an active effort you can both make for positive change.