Even if we really enjoy sex, many of us struggle with the intimacy aspect of it—i.e., the emotional connection that can deepen the sexual bond.
If casual sex is more your thing, intimacy may be less of an issue, but, for people in relationships, it’s an essential ingredient to a healthy, fulfilling sex life. Why? Because emotional connection helps stimulate oxytocin (aka the love hormone), which in turn allows us to trust and be more open and vulnerable with our partners.
We get it—if you’re not comfortable with emotional expression, getting intimate with someone can be a little bit awkward. So here are some ways to be a little more at ease with intimacy.
Be open to pleasure.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But, for various reasons, many of us can feel that we aren’t very sexual beings and are often just there for our partner’s pleasure. Embrace the fact that you are equally as entitled to pleasure as anyone else.
Focus on foreplay.
When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, or when you’re overcome with lust for your partner, it can be easy to skip the foreplay and get right down to it. But by doing so, you’re missing out on the perfect chance to bond. Kissing, cuddling, whispering and touching can help you feel more desired and connected.
Make eye contact.
Just as looking someone in the eye helps enhance a conversation, it can also do wonders for emotional connection during sex. In fact, a study by Kellerman, Lewis and Laird showed that eye contact enhances feelings of love, passion and general affection. We’re not saying that you need to stare at your partner the whole time—which, let’s be honest, could be pretty awkward—but at least open your eyes once in a while.
Set aside the time.
We’re all for a quickie every now and then, but it can be difficult to establish intimacy that way. So try to dedicate time on a regular basis for quality sex with no time limit. We’ll leave the frequency up to you, but just make sure there are no distractions like TV, kids, pets or phones.
Read more about how to cultivate intimacy.