Intimacy means different things to different people. For some, sexual intimacy involves feeling loved and close to their partner. To others, intimacy involves an experience of spiritual or euphoric connection. For kinky folks, intimate sex might involve injecting elements of emotional or physical vulnerability.
However you define intimacy, consider these approaches to enhance your intimate connection with your lover.
Make eye contact. Research suggests that eye contact with a loved one results in a spike in oxytocin — the hormone that spikes right before orgasm and is associated with bonding. Eye contact during sex can intensify the connection, but it is not uncommon for people to avoid face-to-face positions on account of self-consciousness, discomfort or embarrassment. To ease yourselves into full eye-contact during sex play, start with the lights low or take turns wearing a blindfold as you become more comfortable with your natural facial expressions in response to pleasure.
Talk about your fantasies — even if they involve other people. Sexual fantasies are highly personal and oftentimes our mind wanders into territory of which we’re only subconsciously aware. It is perfectly normal to fantasize about people other than the love of your life and we often switch between lovers in our dreams and fantasies. One study out of the University of Vermont revealed that 98 percent of men and 80 percent of women have fantasized about someone other than their current partner in the past two months. They also found that these fantasies increase as the relationship progresses. The ambience of a fantasy can be elemental to our enjoyment and using unrealistic images, themes and settings is part of what makes sexual fantasy so powerful.
Sharing your deepest fantasies with your lover can intensify your connection and many people report that the mere act of talking about a fantasy can be highly arousing. Obviously, you need to use discretion when sharing sensitive information with a loved one, and if you are nervous about divulging your most titillating fantasies to your partner, begin with your tamer thoughts to test the waters. You may also want to frame your fantasy as part of a dream you had or something you read about in a book or magazine. Always reassure your partner that your relationship takes precedence over any sexual fantasy and if you talk about a fantasy during sex, be sure to debrief when the session comes to a close.
Jess & Brandon discuss sexual fantasies in this podcast episode. Listen here.
Take an emotional risk. When vulnerability is met by love and support, intimacy deepens. And since sex is not only a physical act — it can be emotional, mental and even spiritual — learning to be vulnerable with a partner who shows care and offers reassurance can heighten both intimacy and pleasure. You might choose to be vulnerable by being physically restrained and trusting your partner to take the reins of control. In this case you’ll want to discuss your needs, boundaries and a safe word/signal in advance. Or your might choose to be emotionally vulnerable and share fantasies or scenarios that make you feel jealous or insecure and allow yourself to get turned on; this vulnerable sharing of feelings that may not be pleasant in real life can be a turn-on in bed and bring your closer — with the right partner.
Learn more about emotional expression in our CEF podcast. Listen here for free.
Breathe in synch. Assume a position that allows you to feel your partner’s breath patterns (e.g. spooning) and try to align your inhalations and exhalations with theirs. As your breath becomes one, you’ll likely find you feel both physically and emotionally more connected.
Learn more about how breathing can improve presence and heighten sexual pleasure in our Mindful Sex video course here.
Take turns giving and receiving — both are powerful and intimate. Learning to relinquish the need to please can be a challenge, but doing so may allow you to experience greater levels of vulnerability, appreciation and acceptance — each of which have the potential to intensify the intimate connection.
If you want to learn and practice a wide variety of sexual techniques check out our Drive Your Lover Wild video courses here! Watch my TEDx Vancouver talk, Monogamish and be sure to check out this blog post on consensual non-monogamy, The Science of Open Relationships.