How Can I Build Physical Intimacy With My Partner? 8 Activities You Can Do Together To Feel Closer
When a relationship is all shiny and new, it's only natural to feel like you can't keep your hands off each other — but if you're hoping to go the distance with your partner, it's worthwhile to figure out how to build physical intimacy in your relationship that will last beyond that initial chemistry. For a relationship to truly thrive, it's so important to stay connected to your partner (both sexually and emotionally) and that's something that will take active effort from both partners. The payoff? Instead of eventually fizzling out, couples who work to build a shared sense of intimacy will be happy and horny long after the sun sets on the honeymoon phase.
"A couple's physical intimacy does not stay constant during the course of their relationship," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, ABS Certified Clinical Sexologist & Relationship Therapist, and Founder of online relationship community Relationup, tells Bustle. "In fact, it decreases once the 'honeymoon phase' is over and the relationship becomes familiar and comfortable, and then proceeds to wax and wane. Although this may not sound sexy or glamorous, it is the natural course of relationships. Maintaining physical intimacy takes work and won’t just occur organically. If couples neglect actively working on their intimate life, it will peter out altogether."
Yes, it takes "work" to maintain a healthy, active sex life — but what could possibly be more fun to work on? If you want to grow even closer to your partner (and up the ante in the bedroom while you're at it), here are eight activities you can try with your partner to build your physical intimacy.
1. Relax Your Bodies With Yoga
You don't have to be a certified yogi to reap the benefits of doing yoga or meditating with your partner. Both are an easy way to spend time together and connect while you relax your bodies and get spiritually and physically ~in sync~.
"In my experience yoga can be a wonderful way to be active together," Helena Nista, Sexpert and Tantra Teacher, tells Bustle. "Me and my partner love to stretch and bend our bodies together, performing the asanas in the same room, whether we’re using the same workout or not. Due to its slow pace and meditative nature, yoga allows you both to connect with your own bodies and with each other."
2. Try Mutual Masturbation
There's nothing more intimate than watching a partner pleasure themselves, which is why mutual masturbation is something every couple should try.
"A more intimate practice that I recommend to many clients is witnessing each other self-pleasure," Nista says. "One partner makes themselves comfortable on the bed/couch/floor, and the other partner sits nearby to watch them... The element of witnessing is very valuable here, because as human beings we crave to be seen in our most raw and pure expression - in our pleasure... As you’re witnessing them, notice how they’re touching themselves, where they touch, what kind of pressure they use and whether they use lubrication. This will give you wonderful insights into how to pleasure them better."
3. Join A Team Sport
If you're an active couple, one fun way to build physical intimacy is to join a team sport together — it'll get your blood pumping and help you bond.
"Joining a team sport together... allows you as a couple to work toward a common goal as you are getting a workout," Milrad says. "It is bonding to be in an environment where you are able to express aggressive feelings that are focused on beating the other team. And this freedom, to show raw impulses, can translate into passion in the bedroom."
4. Take Late-Night Walks Together
Physical intimacy doesn't have to be overtly sexual: even something as simple as taking time to stroll hand-in-hand each evening can help you feel more connected to your partner.
"End the day together, walking outside, hand in hand," Milrad suggests. "Allow yourself to cast off excess energy at the end of the day, connect with the outdoors and each other. Many couples find that they have meaningful, focused discussions on their walk or just enjoy being silent together. These walks result in deeper emotional connection which plays a central role in sexual desire."
5. Do A Sexual Compatibility Questionnaire
When you feel stuck in a sexual rut, the idea of "spicing up" your sex life can feel understandably overwhelming. If you want to experiment with your partner in bed but don't know where to start, try filling out an online sex questionnaire like Mojo Upgrade.
"Mojo Upgrade is a web-based questionnaire that helps couples safely explore and share their sexual fantasies," Mary Fisher, Sex & Relationship Therapist, tells Bustle. "The questionnaire asks each partner separately to indicate their level of interest in a long list of fantasies. The website then compares the answers and compiles a final report of only the fantasies to which both partners indicated a positive level of interest. It is useful for couples who worry that their partner will think less of them about a particular fantasy, and can result in playful, exploratory conversations, as well as potentially satisfying shared experiences."
6. Talk About Your Turn-Ons
One simple way to improve physical intimacy in your relationship? Sit down outside the bedroom and talk to your partner about your sex life: what turns you on, what kinks you want to explore together, and what sexual memories you find super hot.
"Talking about sex can be difficult; it's not something most of us grow up discussing openly," Fisher says. "Talking about sex during sexual intimacy can be even more intimidating. So pick a day during the week... and talk about three things: something you enjoyed that your partner did sexually; something that you'd like to be different (this can be sharing something you did together that you did not like, something new you would like to try, or something you would like to do more, or to do a bit differently); and something that you appreciate or enjoy about your partner."
7. Practice "Body Worship"
One important aspect of building physical intimacy with your partner? Getting to know and actively showing appreciation for each other's bodies (both inside and outside the bedroom).
"Based on tantric practices, this involves one partner actively focusing on giving pleasure, while the other partner practices receiving attention and pleasure," Fisher says. "The active giver first sets up a comfortable, supported position in a safe environment for the receiver. The giver then explores a variety of touch, starting in non-erogenous zones, and later mixing in and alternating erogenous touch and non-erogenous touch. This helps partners learn about each other's bodies."
8. Give Each Other Massages
You probably didn't need an excuse to request backrubs more often, but it's still great news that you can use massage to enhance your sex life and physical connection with your partner.
"Intimacy massage is a wonderful way to relax and get in sync with each other," Dr. Steve McGough, Director of Research and Development at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC, tells Bustle. "It's an easy massage that couples can take turns doing that can dramatically increase their connection and sex life. For the person giving the massage it helps them increase their ability to sense how their partner responds to different types of touch. It also helps the person receiving the massage enhance their ability to feel being touched."
If sensual massages are a tad outside your comfort zone, that's OK: every couple will have different preferences when it comes to how they work on their physical intimacy. Ultimately, all that matters is that you and your partner are both willing to show your love for each other — both in- and outside of the bedroom.