Five Ways to Build Intimacy with Your Partner

Written by Katie Mitchell, M.A., Certified Sex Therapist

            After the holidays, many of us are left feeling a bit disconnected and over-whelmed.  For this week’s Sex-ceptional Friday, I wanted to provide you all with some helpful information on reconnecting after the holiday stress.  Here are 5 simple ways to help build intimacy with your partner!

1.)   Set time aside to converse about new and meaningful things.  When working with couples, I have heard several people report that they are tired of having the same conversations, yet are unsure of what new conversations to have.  Try out a questionnaire list to reinvigorate your conversations with one another, like this one.  Also, in a long-term relationship it is easy to think that we already know what are partners would say to a question, so we shy away from asking new questions or even the same ones in a different way.  I encourage each of you to push past this idea, because the reality is that you are not able to read your partner’s mind and their responses just might surprise you! 

2.)   Create and discuss goals for yourselves, both individually and as a couple.  When working with couples or individuals, I find these goal sheets incredibly useful.  For couples, I recommend that each of you complete a goal sheet (one for individual and one for couple).  Then, take some time for the two of you to sit down and have a conversation about what you each brainstormed and how you would each like to work towards the goals you have set.

3.)   Kiss one another! According to Dr. Kory Floyd, physical contact (of any kind, including hugs, kisses, and holding hands) releases oxytocin, which can improve our mood and reduce stress.  Dr. John Gottman also recommends a daily six-second to increase emotional and physical intimacy in a relationship.

4.)   Carve out time to sexually connect with one another.  Understandably, many people shy away from planning or scheduling sexual time with one another.  However, if you and your partner struggle to carve out time for being sexually connected (looking at you working moms and dads), I urge you to try reframing the thought that you are scheduling sexual intimacy.  When something is a priority to you or your partner, how do you set aside time for it?  For many, they discuss it and then schedule it!  How is sexual intimacy different?  Scheduling or carving out time for sexual intimacy can show how important it is for both of you!

5.)   Plan time for just the two of you.  Just as it is important for you and your partner to have family time, alone time, and/or time with friends, it is also important for the two of you to have time with just yourselves.  Also, be sure to communicate with one another about what quantifies as quality time when thinking about time together.  What might quantify as quality time for one of you, might be completely different for the other.  Can phones be present?  Can other people be present?  Do you have to be out doing something?  Do you have to be interacting in the same thing or taking part in the same experience?  Do you have to be touching one another?  These are all things to consider when discussing what quantifies as quality time for one another.

This list of activities is by no means exhaustive!  I hope the two of you have fun trying these experiences out and figuring out other ways to cultivate and build intimacy with one another.  If you find that you and your partner are still struggling to connect or build intimacy, reach out to our office today!  I would love the opportunity to help you build a more meaningful connection with one another.