10 Ways to Turn Up the Intimacy in Your Relationship

Stephanie Booth | Feb 22, 2016 Love & Sex

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A long-term relationship isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. And like any true road race, there are going to be times where you feel exhausted. Burned out. And maybe even ready to quit.

Of course, there are ways to get that feeling to pass. When you're running 26.2, help comes in the form of orange slices, water, and maybe cranking some T-Pain.

In a relationship, it means you and your partner rebuilding intimacy. You know, that cozy goodness you used to have with each other? That certainty that this relationship -- and not, say, the laundry  -- was your priority?

Here's how to get that all-important intimacy back into your life.

 

 

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  • Step Up the Communication

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    Talk is most definitely not overrated. Rather, it's a way to keep your connection strong. "Talk frequently and honestly to each other," says Tina B. Tessina, PhD (aka "Dr. Romance"), a psychotherapist in southern California and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. "Talk about your frustrations, sex, anger, disappointment, your appreciation of each other, the meaning of life -- about everything."

  • Hug More

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    Forget saying good-bye each morning with a quick peck and go in for a hug instead. Oxytocin -- aka the "love hormone" -- is released during orgasm, touching, and even hugging, explains sex and relationship expert Psalm Isadora. "Oxytocin acts in the brain to increase feelings of love, bonding, generosity, and trust."

  • Turn Off the Screens

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    How many times did you or your partner look at your phones during your last date night? "In the Internet age of social ADD, it's more difficult to build intimacy," says Isadora. (FYI, it doesn't happen with a swipe.) "Intimacy is built with time, getting to know the person, and the depth of attention you give and receive," Isadora notes. Turn off your screens already.

  • Up the Eye Contact

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    Look into his eyes not only when you're having a conversation, but while you're getting busy in the bedroom. "When you close your eyes during sex, you focus on your own pleasure," Isadora explains. "When you hold eye contact during sex, the focus is on your connection." 

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  • Get Things Cooking

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    "Cooking is grounding and nurturing and a great way to bond," Isadora says. "You can find out a lot about someone's history, family, and memories by cooking a favorite recipe ... and you can get even more intimate by feeding each other the finished meal."

  • Fantasize

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    Don't keep those X-rated ideas to yourself. "Intimacy is about letting your guard down and being vulnerable," Isadora says. If you're worried your secret fantasies will freak out your partner (although trust us, we doubt it), try framing it as a question. "Even saying, 'I've been meaning to ask you, but I've been embarrassed...' is a great way to be vulnerable with your partner," adds Isadora.

  • Find Something You're Passionate About

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    Having enthusiasm and passion for something -- whether it's getting in shape or learning to refinish hardwood floors -- is incredibly attractive, says Tessina. "Seduction can be as simple as causing your partner to ask what you've been doing that has you so energized and interested." Find a hobby you love. Even better, one you two can do together.

    More from The Stir: 5 Things All Unhappily Married Couples Do

  • Get in Sync

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    You probably already know that mirroring your partner's movements can make you feel more connected. But you can increase intimacy even more by also matching your breath. Next time you're in bed together, "hold each other close enough so that you can sense each other's breathing," Isadora suggests. "Then, gradually synchronize your breath to your partner's to open up more of a connection."

  • Be Playful

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    Thanks to the media (i.e., Internet porn), "most couples have an exaggerated, stressful image of sex," Tessina says. "Focus on having fun instead of meeting a goal. Some sex encounters go well, some don't, so have a sense of humor." Playfulness fuels intimacy.

  • Reassure Each Other

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    Once you're in a LTR, "the magic fades and both of you begin to relax and show your innermost, less perfect selves," Tessina says. That's a good thing -- but it is normal to worry that your partner will get sick of this warts-and-all version of you. Instead of letting your insecurities run the show, Tessina advises, reassure each other often -- and without being asked -- that yep, the love is still there.

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