Cultivating physical intimacy in a relationship is an important part of having a happy and healthy relationship. It can be as simple as holding hands, or going on meaningful, connection-deepening activities like trying new experiences together.
Intimate touching releases the neurotransmitters oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine. This helps lower stress hormone levels and improve feelings of contentment and happiness.
1. Keep it light
When some couples think of intimacy, their minds immediately jump to sexual activity. However, there are many other ways to build physical intimacy. Whether it’s holding hands, tickling, or cuddling, simple touch can release feel-good hormones that help to bond with your partner.
Emotional intimacy is an important part of a healthy relationship, and it can be developed through activities such as talking openly about your feelings. Having stimulating discussions about life perspectives and opinions can also foster emotional intimacy. For example, taking a cooking class together or learning a new language can be an excellent way to spend quality time and build intimate bonds.
Intimacy can also be found in actions, like helping with household chores or making each other a cup of tea. In fact, this can be one of the most intimate acts you can do for your loved ones, and it can help to strengthen your sense of closeness and connection.
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2. Don’t overdo it
It’s easy to get swept up in the initial rush of a new relationship. Then, as time passes, life gets busy, and intimacy often fizzles out. It takes conscious effort to rebuild intimacy in your relationship. This can involve all aspects of your relationship, from physical touch to intellectual conversations. The first step is to deal with sources of stress as they arise, as these can have a significant impact on your ability to feel intimate.
Then, you can try adding novelty to your relationship by going on a trip, planning a unique date night, or trying a new activity together. This can be as simple as cuddling while watching a movie or experimenting with a new form of physical contact like tickling each other. Intimacy also builds when you communicate honestly and openly with your partner, which can be a difficult feat in modern relationships. Try to make it a point to ask each other questions about yourself and your feelings.
You can also show your affection for one another in non-sexual ways by hugging friends, holding hands, or simply sitting next to each other. These forms of intimacy can be just as intimate as sexual intimacy and will help you feel close to your partner. Remember that physical, emotional, and intellectual intimacy are all essential to a healthy long-term relationship.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Intimacy can be a challenge for couples who are trying to make it work. Some people may feel that they can push through intimacy issues on their own, but this is a dangerous game to play. Taking this approach invalidates your partner’s feelings and can cause them to become defensive or even shut down completely.
Instead, it’s important to ask for help from a trusted source when you need it. A professional therapist can provide insight and guidance that isn’t tainted by your own relationship issues or concerns. They can also teach you effective techniques for improving intimacy and fostering emotional closeness.
Physical intimacy is more than just sex, but includes touch and proximity that demonstrates intimacy in a romantic partnership. It can also occur between people who are friends or familial partners. Non-sexual intimate acts such as hugs, leaning on one another while watching TV or napping together can build intimacy between two people.
Another way to build physical intimacy is to reduce distractions when spending time with your partner. This could mean turning off the television, video game console or cell phone during meals and quality time. It’s also important to set aside time to discuss sensitive or intimate topics without interruptions. Identifying your and your partner’s love language can also help you learn how to build physical intimacy in ways that matter most.
4. Don’t be shy
It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind of life and lose sight of your relationship’s intimacy. This can be especially true for couples who struggle with emotional intimacy. In many cases, this can be the result of chronic stress that can lead to irritability and disconnection. Fortunately, there are ways to reclaim your connection and refuel your love.
Physical intimacy includes more than just kissing and hugging. It also involves rubbing shoulders when one of you is stressed, holding hands while walking down the street or even between courses at a restaurant, and touching each other gently in the course of everyday activities like cooking together or showering together. Non-sexual physical intimacy can be a wonderful way to remind your partner that they’re sexually desirable and desired, even if they’re not in the mood for sex. Try gently massaging their shoulders or neck, kissing them on the forehead or collarbone, or tucking a strand of hair behind their ear.
Getting back on track with your intimacy requires dedication and effort. If you’re struggling to feel close to your partner, introspection and a conversation with a healthy relationship expert might help you course-correct. You can also consider individual or couples therapy to help you work through your challenges. In addition, reading healthy relationship books and focusing on self-care can help you build intimacy.