As couples settle into long term relationships, it’s easy to get bogged down in routine and complacency. A certain comfort level develops, along with a shift in attention towards work, children and schedules. Before we know it, intimacy and sexual connection get placed on the back burner.
What many couples find is that when they do have a brief moment to connect, it often feels like a chore, or is minimally satisfying at best. One or both partners may feel tired, and the whole affair can feel rushed, goal-oriented, and disconnected.
How can we reignite the passion? That is the question many of my clients ask me. The most important thing to understand is that when couples don’t actively cultivate intimacy and sensuality prior to sex, then having satisfying sex becomes exceedingly difficult. Furthermore, when we don’t consciously connect with our own bodies before engaging in sex, the whole process can become a mental exercise rather than an embodied experience.
That is why practicing daily rituals of embodiment, playfulness and connection help facilitate the transition into lovemaking.
Here are some of my favourite techniques for cultivating emotional and physical connection with your partner to help sustain trust, intimacy and desire.
1. Practice Gratitude
Find a way of telling your partner each day that you appreciate them. You can tell them in words, through action, or through conscious touch. Knowing your partner’s primary love language is helpful in ensuring you communicate in a way they understand.
Consciously practicing gratitude will also remind you why you chose to be with this beautiful being. Too often we get caught up in nit picking and focusing on our partner’s shortcomings. Reminding ourselves daily of the reasons we fell in love with them helps us refocus on the positive and rekindles emotional closeness.
2) Make Time For Touch
Engaging in regular physical touch helps couples stay connected with one another, and also releases the powerful bonding hormone, oxytocin. When the receptors in our skin are stimulated by the pleasant touch of our partner, our brains release chemicals that encourage us to feel relaxed and more trusting, thus helping to create emotional intimacy.
Touch can convey a multitude of intentions including nurturing, playfulness and sensuality. The mood of one’s touch can fluctuate within a single encounter. It can elicit various emotions and explore connection on different levels, but most importantly, it can be enjoyed for what it is and does not need to lead to sex. In fact, engaging in touch that leads to some arousal without release is a wonderful way to stoke your erotic flame and keep both of you eagerly anticipating your next opportunity to connect.
3) Synchronize Your Breath
Breathing together with your partner is a powerful way to synchronize your nervous systems and tune into their body and emotional state. It is rooted in ancient Tantric practice as a tool to help lovers reach a state of spiritual union. Not only is this a great way to begin lovemaking, it can also be practiced during the day as a quick way to connect. It can be especially useful after an argument when tension is high, as a method of reconnecting with your partner to help resolve the disagreement in a loving way.
An easy way to practice this technique is to sit or stand face to face. Each person places one hand on their partner’s heart, while placing their other hand over their partner’s hand. Then, while gazing into each other’s eyes, notice each other’s breath and try to match your breath to theirs. Within a few breaths you should be synced up.
At this point, practice clearing your mind of all thought and seeing your partner with a renewed freshness. Forget every thought you have about them, and practice taking them in exactly as they are in that moment. Looking at our partner through this new lens creates a space for spontaneity and reminds us that the process of getting to know another being is never fully complete.
4) Create Anticipation
Sex doesn’t have to wait until you are physically together and alone. It can begin as soon as you like, and have a wonderful lead up that can last hours or even days. Your imagination is the limit.
You can start with something simple, such as texting your partner in delightful detail everything you plan on doing with them later. If you feel like being extra creative, you can give them some special instructions that will intensify their arousal, but keep them aching to see you in order to find their release.
If you do see each other throughout the day, practice exchanging playful touch to keep the energy and connection high.
5) Drop expectations
This is probably the most difficult piece of advice for most couples to integrate, since we are all programmed to have a definition of what sex “should” look like. For many couples, this often involves some sort of penetration and/or orgasm.
However, the problem with having definitions and expectations is that if our experiences don’t fit into that box, we end up feeling disappointed. That’s not to say that some sex isn’t genuinely disappointing, but if we keep our minds open to possibility, we may find that we can enjoy ourselves in many more scenarios than we originally imagined.
Dropping expectations allows us to be open to new experiences, to stay in the moment and go with the flow. It creates an opportunity to discover new aspects of ourselves and our partners, and to expand on our sexual repertoire.
Furthermore, the ambitious drive toward orgasm is often one of the biggest factors that prevents it. Sometimes forgetting the goal and staying grounded in the present moment can unleash far greater pleasure…and isn’t that why we choose to have sex in the first place?
To Wrap Up…
Cultivating intimacy and sexual desire requires a daily commitment to creating emotional closeness, engaging in regular touch and making space for spontaneity and creativity. When these practices are in place, couples can connect with greater comfort and ease and open themselves to immense possibilities.
If you’re curious to find out how you can improve your sexual connection with your partner, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your personal obstacles and how we can work through them.