If you do nothing else this Valentine’s Day with your partner, I have one suggestion: Have sex. And no, not just because it’s fun, stress-relieving, and an incredibly enjoyable way to pass time when it’s cold outside (or um, anytime). Having sex helps build intimacy and enriches your connection with your partner. Regardless of how long you’ve been together, intimacy is one of the most important qualities you should nurture with your S.O. It’s what keeps you bonded during difficult times, helps you be vulnerable and understanding, and fuels your passion.
“Sex can be the perfect conduit to build intimacy between a couple because it addresses both the emotional and physical aspects of intimacy. Skin-to-skin contact allows for the release of the 'bonding' hormone oxytocin and helps you build trust — an important component of intimacy,” says relationship and sex expert Dr. Kat Van Kirk. “Emotionally, sex can help you learn to open up and become vulnerable with your partner by being willing to try new things and discuss sensitive topics related to your sexuality."
As you already know, not all sex positions are created equal, and not all can help you achieve your goals. If you really want to strengthen the intimacy between yourself and your fave person to get down with, here are some positions that’ll bring you closer this Valentine’s Day (or any other time).
How to do it: Take the name literally. This position involves laying so that your bellies are directly on top of one another. This can be achieved in missionary style or side-by-side.
How it increases intimacy: “Belly-to-belly allows for full-body contact and makes sure that you look at each other during intercourse,” Van Kirk says. “It also gives your partner easy access to fondle your breasts, and makes it easy to kiss while you’re having sex.” Van Kirk says that to enhance the intimacy even more, you can use body oils to make it easier to slide against each other.
2. Anal Sex Or Anal Play
How to do it: Have your partner enter you with their penis or a strap-on. Ease into this position by using lubricants and moving in slowly.
How it increases intimacy: While this might seem like an unlikely position for intimacy, Van Kirk says that what’s great about anal play is that it helps you both try something out of the ordinary, building your trust in one another. “It develops a certain amount of sensitivity and communication in order to make it a comfortable and arousing experience for everyone,” she says. “It may make you feel more intimate with your partner because it is considered so taboo.”
3. Light Bondage
How to do it: There is no right way to experiment with bondage play; it’s really up to your and your partner's respective comfort levels. For instance, one of you can be tied up while the other takes the lead, and then you can switch.
How it builds intimacy: “Light bondage and discipline can help you improve your ability to communicate about what does and doesn't work for you sexually, thereby increasing intimacy,” Van Kirk says. By putting your trust and body into your partner’s hands — literally — you’re giving them permission to take the lead, and you’re letting them know how much you respect their ability to make decisions on your behalf. And then they get to return the favor when you take the dominant role.
4. Seated Lotus
How to do it: One partner sits upright in a loose cross-legged position while the other partner sits on top of them with their legs wrapped around their back.
How it builds intimacy: If foreplay is way more fun for you than intercourse, or an important part of your sexual regimen, then seated lotus is a great way to feel incredibly connected to your lover. “Seated lotus promotes full-body contact, creates potential for eye gazing, facial expression, and communication, and grants access to the lips, earlobes, and neck for affectionate intimacy play,” Van Kirk says.
5. Bathing Play
How to do it: If you have room to have sex in your bathtub, go for it. If you don’t, try other sexual acts while taking a bath together.
How it builds intimacy: Van Kirk says that being bathed by your partner is one of the most intimate things you can do because it shows a deep respect and admiration. “There’s a certain amount of care and gentleness that you may not experience during your typical sex play,” she says. “Letting your guard down while someone 'takes care' of you breeds trust and potential arousal. It also allows you to move from bathing to massage to full on sex in a relaxed and romantic atmosphere.”
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our video on sex positions for small penises: