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Tips: Sex and building intimacy

Tags: sex, intimacy, romance, communication, tips, relationship advice, building romance, building romance and sex, intimacy in a relationship, sex in a relationship

When you’re no longer in the first throws of romance, it’s normal for sex to fall off your list of priorities. But you can rebuild intimacy. Check out the tips below for some good ideas that could help you get that spark back.

Get nostalgic. Remember when you first got together and share memories of those early days. Recapture some of that ‘spark’ by recreating fond moments; visit an old haunt, get dressed up for dinner, or simply set the alarm 10 minutes early so you can enjoy a cuddle before work.

Get competitive. A pillow fight or a heated game of Scrabble is not only fun, it can make your relationship feel more exciting.

Do something daring. Anything from watching a scary movie to skinny dipping on holiday – the adrenaline and shared feeling of vulnerability can help bring you closer.

Flirt. As the years pass by some couples feel more like friends than partners. Try to be bolder in your shows of affection and let your partner know you still find them attractive – flirting reminds you of that sexual connection you share.

Talk more. The more you have open conversations the more comfortable you’ll both be raising issues around sex. The closer you feel to each other, the more intimate you will feel.

Make nice gestures. Compliments, buying their favourite food at the supermarket, or texting during the day to tell them you’re thinking of them can all help remind your partner of the affection between you.

Don’t make it all about sex. Remember that not all moments of intimacy and affection lead to sex; if your partner only associates affection from you as an attempt to have sex then intimacy will break down.

Think about your surroundings. A messy bedroom, harsh lighting or dirty bed linen won’t help get you in the mood. Have a tidy up and do your best to create a romantic atmosphere you can both relax in. A few candles and a home-cooked meal might help.

Touch. Oxytocin, a chemical in our bodies responsible for bonding in relationships, increases when you touch someone. It’s thanks to oxytocin that something as simple as holding hands or giving your partner a peck on the cheek can help build intimacy.

Have realistic expectations. No one has a Hollywood relationship, and while it may look like all your friends are enjoying fulfilling sex lives, no one ever knows what goes on behind closed doors. Analysing other relationships will only set you up for disappointment, instead try to focus on what your partner does do for you, not what they don’t.

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Comments

  • User-anonymous maggilou14 Flag

    It is quite an ordeal to work on intimacy , we all have different ways of showing or feeling love .I made a mistake when choosing my husband , I was in uni until my second child at 30 and was a virgin until 24 never thought sex was an important part of a couple .I thought I needed a well educated, mannered man , so had no experience whatsoever about sex in couples but after 2 kids I started asking myself why do women have orgasm and I never had ? I started pushing him to try new things , new ways , going away , I mean the excitement will last 5 min and I will be frustrated the rest of the night , Now I stopped trying altogether and we are just like friends he thinks I should be satisfying him no matter what , what about me ? , not the ideal couple but I feel I created this situation, I should have from the start stopped it the signs were there.

    Tue 26, Apr 2016 at 5:17pm
  • User-anonymous Lostmyself Flag

    We are very affectionate: cuddling, hugging, kissing, playful, etc but after a change in careers and a cross country move I've lost my sex drive. Now that I've settled in a little more, there will be a few sparks here and there, but I feel like I don't know how to initiate or put in the effort. There was an exciting time I initiated and I wanted more the next day but he didn't. I think my lack of a sex drive has finally affected him and he doesn't try that much anymore or we can't get in sync anymore. We have talked about my lack of drive and I would say it's rather obvious why his is gone, a person can only take rejection so many times before they give up. Help I miss myself, making him happy, and our sex life.

    Mon 28, Mar 2016 at 4:55pm
  • Love_is2 shawn77bird Flag

    Practice Random Acts of Kindness

    Before going to bed at night, try thinking of ways to show your love to your partner the following day. That may be as simple as sending an "I love you" text during the day or making a cup of tea to wake your partner. It might be a single flower as you walk in the door at the end of the day.

    A warm hug and kiss before you leave the house, without any agenda (no comments or expectations), helps to build trust that every hug does not have to lead to something more. Do this consistently for one week and you will likely see a change in your relationship.

    Not feeling especially kind? It may help you to reach back into your memory and pull up some examples of rosier times. How did you behave when you first met? What did you, or your partner, do that has become a sweet memory of your life? Just turning your attention here can help shift your own mood, making the random acts of kindness easier.Unfortunately, once communication begins to deteriorate, the other person's talking can begin to sound like white noise, or even worse - a constant irritating buzz. "

    Sometimes when emotions rise, our reasonable intelligence, and even our kindness, goes down. We might instead exchange tense statements, angry glances and verbal barbs. Clearly, this is not going to improve one's sex life. So how can you stop this cycle in its tracks, before the conversation declines into the abyss?

    This exercise can be called: "You sit in my seat." Yes, it's slightly unnatural and will require some effort from both of you. But it can help break the cycle of poor communication.

    Develop an agreed-upon code word or phrase you will use the minute you sense things are on the decline; you want to make an important statement; or just really need your partner's attention. Make it simple: "Can I have my three minutes now please?" is a statement that will work just fine.
    The person who requested the time goes first, as the speaker.==Set a timer so the statement lasts no more than three actual minutes. This means the speaker must gather his/her thoughts, be precise and succinct.
    The listener simply listens - no comments, no facial expressions, no challenging what is being said.
    Now change seats. The listener is now in the speaker's seat and the speaker is now the listener.
    The first listener now gets to repeat - to the very best of his or her ability - exactly what they heard their partner say. REMEMBER: This is the new pattern, so no embellishments, no interpretations, no defending yourself, no making it your own speech (even if it’s tempting to do so).
    Return to your original seat and thank each other for taking the time for this exercise.
    If the first speaker didn't feel properly heard - guess what? The first speaker needs to take another turn, to express their thoughts more clearly.Just Hug

    This exercise can work for those who just aren’t ready for or receptive to deep, personal conversations. It can create a form of intimacy, without words, that may allow more talking intimacy in the future. Even if it doesn’t, it can help restore a sense of closeness with our partner.

    One frequent complaint from women is that they don't like their partners kissing them or touching them because it "always leads to the expectation of sex."

    One way to stop this habit is to introduce the practice of holding each other in a comfortable, non-sexual hug. Do it standing up wherever you are in the kitchen, garden, garage, anywhere. Simply hold each other until you feel the stress and pressure leave your body. That's all -- no other agenda and no required connection to any sexual behavior.

    At first, the hug may feel uncomfortable as you experience the stress in your and your partner's body. Try not to let go too soon. If you hang in there, you will reach a point where you feel yourself and/or your partner softening. Try to wait for that moment before you pull away.
    15 Minutes of Tenderness

    Like exercise #3, this is another exercise designed as a conduit to feeling safe and to being able to experience loving touch again, while letting go of the anxiety of allowing your partner into your space.

    You can do this exercise in front of the children, and you can even do it in front of your mother (so no excuses). It's one that almost every woman in Dr. Fran’s practice has loved. And in reality, most men enjoy the loving attention, too.

    You and your partner sit comfortably, both facing in the same direction – for example, you could be sitting on the sofa with your partner at your feet. Remove eyeglasses, jewelry and watches, and maybe loosen sleeves. Grab a hairbrush and /or comb.

    The person sitting behind begins to stroke the other’s hair (with brush, fingers, comb, as desired.) If you partner is bald, use soft touch, perhaps with lotion. Generally, slow, long gentle motions are preferred. If the receiver is uncomfortable, one hand can be placed on giver's hand and new instructions can be given (i.e. less pressure, or switch the comb for a brush).

    Proceed to brush and caress the hair, in silence, for at least 10-15 minutes. See how tenderly you can do this simple task for your partner. When done, the person brushing the hair can give a "goodbye" pat to the hair.

    If comfortable, you can comment on the exercise. For example, "Your hair is so soft," or "I felt pampered." Don't be critical. For example rather than, "You are a bit heavy-handed," comment about liking the lighter touches.

    To complete the exercise, partners switch roles. This may be done immediately following the first set, or postponed to a later agreed-upon time within a few days

    Sun 25, Oct 2015 at 12:47am
  • User-anonymous Jay Flag

    To the last poster...is the article above any help? 'Feeling useless and ugly' is just a waste of your energy and is not going to help It is just as likely he feels useless because for whatever reason, he cannot meet your needs.. Scary as it is it is not unusual to find a difference in your sex drives. Why not post on the forum and see what others have to say..

    Fri 14, Aug 2015 at 7:38pm
  • User-anonymous frankie10 Flag

    Hi, please could someone please help me need some advice. Got a problem and don't know what to do. Me and my fiance are happy but the only respect we have problems is when it comes to intamicy I have a high sex drive and crave those intermet moments but my fiance doesn't so when I try to make a move which is alot and get knocked back I feel useless and ugly like am not wanted. He says the more I go on the more he doesn't want it. I don't know how to handle the situation anymore and it's getting me down. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

    Fri 14, Aug 2015 at 3:00am
  • User-anonymous lorilou Flag

    After reading your comments I don't feel so alone, but I am getting resentful. I have tried asking him to come to relate or a councellor but he won't. I have even sent him emails in case he would rather write than face me but he ignores them. He carries on as if nothing is wrong even though I have gone in the spare bedroom now as I just can't sleep next to him anymore without crying. again, which he ignores. I feel like giving an ultimatum but I am scared that he will choose the latter. I suppose I can understand now why people have affairs as it is so tempting when you have tried everythiing else.

    Wed 7, May 2014 at 9:42am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    That's tough. Since you have commented under the article above, I take it you have tried all it suggests without success. It may well be that relationship counselling would help. You obviously have a good relationship other than this, so do not have a lot of past hurts to get over before you can make progress. Relate and Marriage Care offer relationship counselling and have centres throughout the UK. What do you think?

    Mon 5, May 2014 at 7:01pm
  • User-anonymous lorilou Flag

    I have only been in my relationship for 2 years we are both early 60s yet the first year was great sexually but out ofthe bedroom my partner seem to struggle with even a hug or kiss. At first I thought he was just shy. Now after many times asking why there was no intermacy out of the bedroom?, he refuses to discuss it or just blames his childhood.. Even tried making moves myself like: cuddling, holdings hand ,peck on the cheek but jumps away and says dont be stupid we arent kids! Now there is neither. We are just like friends. How do I turn the clock back?

    Sun 4, May 2014 at 12:28am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    What if you try to do all of this..and your boyfriend tells you to stop forcing it and to stop trying so hard? But then doesn't want to break up at the same time... Is it possible to get too comfortable with someone? I feel like right now our relationship has turned more into a friendship, and I don't think there's any hope of going back to being romantic or intimate, which is what I want more than anything. I have even tried talking calmly to ask what we should do about this issue and he blames me and gets mad. I can't even talk to him about it anymore, which has resulted to me coming to this website and sharing my feelings with you guys. I just need some type of advice...

    Tue 3, Dec 2013 at 7:03am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    What if you try to do all of this..and your boyfriend tells you to stop forcing it and to stop trying so hard? But then doesn't want to break up at the same time... Is it possible to get too comfortable with someone? I feel like right now our relationship has turned more into a friendship, and I don't think there's any hope of going back to being romantic or intimate, which is what I want more than anything. I have even tried talking calmly to ask what we should do about this issue and he blames me and gets mad. I can't even talk to him about it anymore, which has resulted to me coming to this website and sharing my feelings with you guys. I just need some type of advice...

    Tue 3, Dec 2013 at 7:03am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    You say you try to do things differently to see if it will change things but I Just wondered if you do the other things suggested here with your wife? Holding hands, having a cuddle etc. it may be that you are not sharing with each other what you would like the other to do. Even when you are trying hard it is easy to miss each other. Have you told her how much you long to be close to her? You are not alone in this situation. Why not post on the forum where you are more likely to get other responses.

    Tue 5, Nov 2013 at 11:23am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I think the above tips on 'sex and building intimacy' are really good and I am going to try them out and hopefully see an improvement. I guess thinking positive is an important factor in solving these sorts of problems and that's what i'm going to try my hardest to do from now on. I think being in a relationship for 11 years with two children, along with the struggle of trying to make ends meet (constantly) can make you easily forget to do things like spending time with your loved one. That should be the most important thing, because when your both happy and content, your children are also happy and life should become easier as you can both face lifes challenges together. I will let you know whether these tips help.

    Tue 22, Oct 2013 at 1:06pm
  • Darlene041c__2__copy Codependency Flag

    There’s a lot of confusion about intimacy, what it really is, and how to make it happen. There’re couples married decades who can be physically close, but don’t know how to be emotionally intimate. The word intimate refers to your private and essential being. Usually people think it means sharing personal information or having sex. Real intimacy is far more. It makes you feel content, empowered, whole, peaceful, alive, and happy. It transforms and nurtures you. Physical closeness, sex, and romance are important to a relationship, but emotional intimacy revitalizes and enlivens it.

    Fri 3, Feb 2012 at 11:40pm

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