The Key to Greater Intimacy
10 ways to let a partner know what you need.
Posted December 23, 2022 | Reviewed by Lybi Ma
- Intimacy helps you feel connected in your relationship.
- The key to true intimacy is communication.
- There are steps one can take to improve communication and thereby intimacy.
Intimacy is an important part of relationships. In John Gottman’s research, he found that couples have better connection and relationship satisfaction when they make time for intimacy. A lot of people may think the key to intimacy is rooted in physical touch; the right kind of touch or the most pleasurable touch. You may have encountered someone who boasts of being an expert in the bedroom and their focus tends to be all on technique. The reality is that the key to really good intimacy whether in a committed partnership or casual hookup is actually communication.
An important part of communication around intimacy is asking for your needs, expressing what you are comfortable with, and discussing what turns you on. There have to be conversations around sex and intimacy beforehand, during, and after. Being able to be open with your partner can help boost your connection and make it easier to find pleasure in your intimacy together. Before engaging in intimacy with a new partner it can be helpful to talk about your experience, needs, likes, and dislikes together. Setting expectations can make the experience much better. In a current relationship, ongoing discussions about your expectations and desires can help keep the flame burning.
The next piece is being a good listener. People often forget how important listening is in good communication. If your partner is telling you how they feel or what they like and you ignore it or choose to do something else the connection will not have a good outcome. When our partner tells us what they like or what they don’t like we have to tune into that and make sure we understand. To be a better listener in the bedroom make sure you ask questions and reflect back on what you hear to verify you got it right.
Here are some ideas for ways to communicate about intimacy:
- Share any trauma or bad experiences you’ve had that affect intimacy for you.
- Share what non-sexual touch you are comfortable with in private and in public.
- Discuss your expectations for the intimacy you would like to have together (frequency, type).
- Tell your partner how you want to be touched during sex.
- Share a fantasy you have with each other.
- Discuss a time you enjoyed the intimacy you had together.
- Talk about how you want to communicate during sex.
- Share how you would like to communicate about turning down intimacy when you aren’t in the mood.
- Discuss how to communicate or show that you are in the mood for intimacy,
- Set some intimacy goals together for your relationship.
If you are looking to improve your intimacy set a goal to work on your communication. Set a time during the week you can discuss these topics or your own to practice having intimate conversations. Like most things, the more you do it the better you will be at communicating about intimacy. Prioritizing the time together to meet this goal will also help deepen your connection with your partner. Couples who connect about their emotions tend to feel closer to their partner and can even be more interested in intimacy.
If you are having problems with intimacy and you can’t seem to figure it out on your own, counseling can be a great tool to help. Whether you try individual or couples counseling, having someone help guide you and give you space to process in a safe environment can improve intimacy. If you have trouble communicating with your partner counseling is a fantastic tool for improving the way you communicate together.
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