There's a ton of advice out there on how to get more physical pleasure out of sex, but a lot of people are looking for more than that. If you want to know how to make sex more intimate or emotionally intense, the methods are less straightforward — but more rewarding. Deepening your emotional connection during sex can also deepen it during other parts of your relationship, and it can make sex more physically pleasurable as well.
The reasons people have sex range from the purely physical to the deeply emotional. One University of Texas at Austin study categorized these motives into four factors and 13 subfactors based on 1,549 people's survey responses. The most common emotional factors were love/commitment and expression, which means lots of people use sex as a means to express their love or devotion for their partners.
There's nothing wrong with purely physical sex, and if we feel pressure to make it emotional, that may in part reflect outdated ideas about sex being inappropriate outside a loving or committed relationship. But the truth is that we can have emotional intimacy with any partner, even a casual one. Here are some ways you can make sex more emotionally fulfilling.
1Say "I Love You"
One Chapman University study found that the #1 thing sexually satisfied couples did differently from dissatisfied couples was saying "I love you" during sex, most likely because this act brings couples closer.
2Make Eye Contact
The eyes are the windows to the soul, so if you want a soul-level connection, they're a good place to draw your attention. "Research suggests that eye contact with a loved with results in a spike in oxytocin," explains Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly. This hormone is associate with bonding — and with orgasm.
3Breathe In Sync
One common tantric sex practice is to breathe in sync while looking into each other's eyes. The theory is that since breath moves energy through your body, in-sync breathing can connect your bodies. Dr. Jess recommends spooning while inhaling and exhaling at the same time.
Many people feel emotionally disconnected during sex because their minds are somewhere else, says Dr. Jess. To prevent this from happening, practice mindfulness techniques like masturbating for 20-30 minutes without trying to orgasm or engaging in a ritual that helps you relax and get in the mood at the end of the day.
5Take Turns Giving And Receiving
Many people get into a habit of primarily giving or receiving, and assuming the other role can help you both explore new sides of yourselves and each other, as well as become more vulnerable. "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," says Dr. Jess.
If you're after that intangible connection where you feel like you and your partner are one person, these are all good places to start.