When we talk about intimacy in relationships, we often focus on sex. Is our sex life satisfying? Are we in-tune physically and sexually? However, sex does not always foster intimacy. Creating intimacy in your relationships means creating deeper connections and vulnerability with each other. Yet, we crave connection, but often fear vulnerability. Therefore, sex can actually be a distraction to what we may be actually seeking—a deeper connection. Being seen, honored, loved, validated and supported is a human need, and we gain these through intimate sexual and nonsexual connections with others. Whether in a monogamous or polyamorous relationship, intimacy is at the core of a healthy and thriving union and creating moments of connection and vulnerability can enhance the quality of your sex life. Below, I share five ways to create intimacy and connection in your sexual relationships.
1. Silent connections
Our daily lives are usually filled with talking, texting and a variety of verbal communications, in addition, to over-analyzing, critiquing and our constant mental stimulation. While intimacy can be shared through deep conversations, it can be important to share silent time with your lover. Sex can be a fun distraction from a stressful day, however, it does not always allow for a sense of deeper intimacy. Perhaps you can remember days in the beginning of your relationship where merely being in your lover’s presence made you drunk with happiness. No words were needed between you. As time ensues and hectic schedules and children impinge into your lives, it is important to set aside silent time together where you focus on being only with each other for some moments throughout the week. Often times, we can use conversation as a means to avoid vulnerability. Therefore, I recommend creating time for those silent moments of presence and connectedness with your partner. Love and intimacy often happens between words, as vulnerability lies in the silence.
I once had a friend share that she met her partner during a silent meditation retreat. After two weeks in which the couple shared eye gazes and silent smiles, she said they fell in love. During those weeks of silence, their egos fell away, and they let their bodies and souls connect without verbal communication. They did not need to impress each other with their storied lives and accomplishments. Words and stories came later. Today, they are married and live happily abroad together.
Practice 1: Set a specific time to meet together in the bedroom without speaking a single word. Whether it is 15 minutes or 1 hour, lay in bed together clothed or naked and connect physically, energetically and emotionally. Let your stories and the stress of the day fall away and share space together. A lot can be shared in silence.
2. Slow it down
Our fast-paced lives filled with constant stimulation and activities distract us from those deeper moments of connection. American culture often focuses on “doing” rather than “being”. With our increasingly hectic lives and diffuse connection through texts and emails, we are becoming significantly more disconnected from ourselves and our partners. Sex can often times be just another thing on our to-do list or a quick “release” from our crazy day. As writer Zoe Kors states, “Rushing through the ‘doing of sex’ does not encourage the ‘being of intimacy.’”
Practice 2: Create a bubble in time with your partner to share in the experience of each other. Whether you book a hotel together or find time when the kids are at soccer practice, create a space where the two of you can connect and let the energy flow between you—words or silence, sex or cuddling—it does not matter. Remember the key is to slow things down and “BE” with each other rather than focusing on what you are “doing or performing” sexually. Sex may or may not organically arise and that is ok. Savor the sense of connection and sensations of being together.
3. Breathe together
When we are connected to another person, we often match their body rhythms without noticing it. This is called entrainment when our own internal body rhythms sync with the rhythms and energy around us. A meditation and tantric practice to stimulate entrainment and foster connection between partners is to match their breathe together. It is an exchange of energy rather than of giving and receiving pleasure. It is another way to foster simply being together rather than doing together.
Practice 3: Share a simple embrace or lay next to or hold each other. Spend a few minutes bringing awareness to your own breath and noticing its rise and fall with each deep and relaxed inhale and exhale. Next, connect in to your partner and slowly sync and entrain your breath together. Silently negotiate a relaxed rhythm that is comfortable for the both of you. This gentle collaboration and connection with your partner can connect you on a deep, energetic level. If sex arises naturally, continue to entrain your breathe together as you physically and sexually connect.
4. Eye gazing
William Shakespeare once said that the “eyes are the window to your soul”. People often express that having someone stare deeply into their eyes makes them feel most naked and vulnerable, so much so that we often look away, laugh or distract through conversation. Yet, social norms in American society believe direct eye contact is important for active listening and showing your interest and attention to the conversation or person. Silent eye gazing is a meditation practice that promotes connect through vulnerability. It can be a powerful facilitator of intimacy.
Practice 4: Sit or lay facing one another and silently gaze into each other’s eyes without looking away for 10 to 20 minutes. When thoughts arise, gently bring your awareness back to your breath and your partner’s eyes. Shifting your awareness from eye to eye assists in maintaining your gaze. When discomfort from vulnerability arises, allow yourself to breathe through the sensations in your body without breaking eye contact. Laughter often arises to distract us from a sense of awkwardness. Allow for a gentle, loving smile, however, maintain a relaxed face and body to “sync” into your partner and be present. Once you have gained confidence with connecting through eye gazing in this manner, you can bring eye gazing into the act of sexual intimacy with your partner. During moments of sexual connection, maintain deep and loving eye contact to connect both body and soul.
5. It’s the journey, not the destination.
Sex often becomes more about the destination of orgasm than about the journey of exploration and connection with your partner. In the beginning of relationships, we are often enamored with exploring our partner’s bodies through cuddling and caressing, excited to learn what turns them on. Time, habit and busy schedules can often lead to rushing through the act of sex to have an orgasmic release, or a partner may feel they did not satisfy their partner if they do not “accomplish” an orgasm. While orgasms can be fantastic, so can the act of caressing your partner with curiosity as if each body part is new and unknown, even after a decade or more together. Honoring your nakedness and witnessing your vulnerability together can be powerful.
Practice 5: Agree ahead of time that your sexual intimacy during that time together will forgo orgasm. Practice any of the above mentioned activities together or purely share explorative touch and caressing, both playfully and sensually. Be a witness to each other and share the ecstasy of purely being together.
Interested in exploring how to increase intimacy in your sexual relationships? Contact me to schedule an appointment with you and your lover.
Source: Kors, Zoe. (2017, July 21). Six ways to have radically intimate sex. Retrieved on http://upliftconnect.com.