14 Ideas for Intimacy: How to Connect/Reconnect with Your Partner

Intimacy is an absolute pillar when it comes to healthy relationships. With it, relationships are strengthened to a place where two people can foster closeness, affection, security, and happiness.聽

And even though many people believe that intimacy is merely the physical act of love or lust, the definition of intimacy is much broader than that.

Today, we鈥檒l talk about the different forms of intimacy, and how you can connect with your partner on a more intimate level.

If you鈥檙e already in a relationship and feel as though you need to reconnect, we鈥檒l also discuss how rebuilding intimacy with your partner is such an important and beautiful thing.

How to Rekindle a Relationship: 14 Ideas for Intimacy

So, we鈥檝e already established that intimacy is important in relationships. But merely giving you 14 ideas for intimacy would simply not be enough.

For that reason, in conjunction with tips on increasing intimacy, we鈥檒l also be looking at:

  • The definition of intimacy
  • The difference between love and intimacy
  • The effects of lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship
  • The importance of sharing feelings in a relationship
  • How to rebuild intimacy
  • Physical and emotional forms of intimacy
  • How to reconnect with your partner sexually
  • Intimacy ideas for married couples

Let鈥檚 dive in鈥β

What is the Definition of Intimacy?

Oxford Languages defines the word 鈥榠ntimacy鈥 as:聽

鈥渃lose familiarity or friendship鈥

鈥渁 cosy and private or relaxed atmosphere鈥

  • And the聽euphemism of intimacy, which is 鈥渟exual intercourse鈥

And the truth is, all of the above are all true and valid when it comes to relationships.聽

As we mentioned, intimacy is a pivotal concept when it comes to two people becoming close, comfortable, and establishing safety and happiness. So the first definition makes perfect sense when it comes to familiarity and friendship.

In the second definition; cosiness鈥攈aving a sense of relaxation lets us know that intimacy is not just the physical act of sex. It鈥檚 a feeling, it鈥檚 an experience, it鈥檚 a place of trust and solace.聽

And as per the last definition, the euphemism 鈥渟exual intercourse鈥, is too, correct. Intimacy can be experienced on an emotional and a physical level鈥 the latter being sex or sexual closeness.

*It鈥檚 important to note however, that intimacy is not just 鈥渟exual intercourse鈥, and that it can also take shape in the form of holding hands, cuddling, kissing, caressing, and more.

Essentially, this definition is well-rounded, allowing us to realise that intimacy is way more than just sex. That intimacy is something that can be both emotional and physical, and that it is something that can transform relationships and people, in more ways than one.

14 ideas for intimacy

What is the Difference Between Love and Intimacy?

Love is an intense feeling of deep affection. It鈥檚 an emotion rife with passion and commitment. It鈥檚 also a universal language that almost all of us (want to) give and receive in one capacity or another. We have the ability to love our friends, family, pets, and partners.聽

Intimacy, on the other hand, is a physical and emotional connection that one has with their partner. It鈥檚 a state of being. Self-disclosure, and the sharing of dreams, beliefs, and emotionally meaningful experiences is often seen as synonymous with intimacy on an emotional level. It鈥檚 not something that can be forced but rather, something that happens naturally.聽

On a physical level, intimacy is sensual proximity or touching. In this way, simply engaging in eye contact or being in each other鈥檚 space could be a form of physical intimacy.聽

Additionally, physical acts such as hugging, cuddling, kissing, or other sexual experiences also encompass physical intimacy.

The difference here is that partners can love each other, yes, but they may or may not feel physically or emotionally connected to their partner (intimacy).

What Are the Effects of Lack of Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship?

Feeling emotional intimacy in a relationship can transcend who you are as a person and how you feel, as well as increase the connection you have with your partner.聽

With it comes a deep sense of security and the freedom to be wholly yourself without having to feel as though there鈥檚 a risk of the relationship ending or breaking down.

When there is a lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship however, the effects can be damaging for all involved.

A lack of emotional intimacy can lead one or both partners feeling:

  • As though they鈥檝e been emotionally abandoned and rejected
  • A diminished interest in sexual intimacy, which could lead to ISD, 鈥渋nhibited sexual desire鈥
  • As though they cannot confide in, speak to, or connect with their other half
  • A lack of self esteem, emotional safety, and security聽
  • Isolated, anger, disconnectedness, anxiety, stress, depression, frustration, resentment, and inadequacy
  • The desire to engage in infidelity

How to Rebuild Intimacy

We鈥檝e mentioned that intimacy can be emotional and physical, so perhaps now is a good time to think about whether you鈥檙e lacking in either emotional or physical intimacy, or both.聽

In this way, you can actively take these steps in rebuilding intimacy with your partner.

Rebuilding Emotional Intimacy

When you take the journey to rebuild emotional intimacy, the most important thing is to increase the amount of time you spend with your partner. In this way, you鈥檙e working towards recovering that sense of 鈥渦s-ness鈥.聽

And the thing about relationships is that they鈥檙e unique. No two couples are the same, and the amount of time that one couple spends together may work for them, but may not work for you.聽

The way that you can decipher whether there is a lack of emotional intimacy is when you feel the loss of closeness that you once had, and perhaps a feeling of not being loved.

Of course, there are reasons why some couples don鈥檛 spend a lot of time together. Perhaps they tend to engage in conflict when they do, which could lead one or both partners to actively avoiding time together. But the only way through this is to work through the conflict and to restore the desire to spend time together.

For others, they may argue that their lives are too busy, and they don鈥檛 have much time to set aside for their partner. For them, they may believe that being in the same room together whilst on their phone or watching TV equals spending time together. But essentially, the way in which you spend time together is important.聽

This doesn鈥檛 mean that you need to opt for a date night every week, or go on a big vacation together though. It merely means that time is set aside to actively be with each other, to engage in meaningful conversations.聽

In this realm, it is quality over quantity (which is not to say that quantity is not important). Spending one hour connecting and communicating trumps watching five hours of your favourite show together, for example.

Adversely however, spending more time together can help you to establish that sense of closeness and connection. It takes time and energy to rebuild a sense of intimacy.

14 ideas for intimacy

Rebuilding Physical Intimacy

In the realm of rebuilding physical intimacy, it鈥檚 true that many couples have mismatched libidos.聽

One partner may have a higher sex drive than the other, which may lead them to feel deprived, undesirable and to blame their significant other. But remember: physical intimacy doesn鈥檛 just encompass sex.聽

Physical intimacy also pertains to being close to each other, physically. Sitting together intimately, hugging, kissing, foreplay, cuddling, holding hands, and sex鈥 all of these things encompasses physical intimacy.

If there is a lack of physical intimacy in your relationship, the most important thing not to do, is to blame each other. This will only make things worse.聽

Additionally, pretending that the problem doesn鈥檛 exist can also be harmful to the relationship. Recognising and expressing your feelings is the most constructive way in which to start rebuilding your physical intimacy.

Communicate that you may be feeling rejected, unloved, pressured, unhappy, a lack of closeness, or deprived. Using 鈥淚鈥 statements is preferred as not to place blame on your partner. It may be hard not to criticise, but the most effective way is to own a feeling rather than blame.

During your conversation, try to be sensitive and reflective. If you鈥檙e unsure of what your partner is saying, ask for clarification, allow them the time and space to share their experience and truth with you in a respectful and accepting way.聽

If there is mutual respect and understanding, a lot can be achieved. When there is blame, disrespect or active avoidance when it comes to the topic of physical intimacy, this creates a huge roadblock to actively rebuilding physical intimacy.

On the other hand, it鈥檚 worthy to note that the brain is considered to be the biggest sexual organ. When there are issues within or outside of a relationship, stress, depression, fear, or anxiety, it鈥檚 difficult for a person to 鈥済et in the mood鈥. What鈥檚 the best way to go about this when rebuilding intimacy? To create a space for that partner that鈥檒l make them feel relaxed.

You could engage in light touching or even giving them a massage to unwind and try to relieve any tension. This kind of non-sexual touching is especially important for women, as they often need emotional and physical stimulation before penetrative sex.聽

What鈥檚 also helpful for those who want to rebuild their physical intimacy is simply to be with each other without any expectation of sex or sexual activity. Long hugs and cuddling, for example, can help to restore intimacy. It also releases the chemical oxytocin in the brain, which promotes closeness and trust.

Ultimately however, it鈥檚 up to you to decide why there is a lack of physical intimacy, and taking it from there.聽

Take note that a lack of physical intimacy could also be occurring because of medical issues, such as erectile dysfunction or vaginal dryness. This could make one partner shy away from any physical touch out of fear or discomfort.聽

At the end of the day, it is solely about effective communication to uncover the root, and to work on rebuilding intimacy.

And, now that we鈥檝e uncovered how to rebuild intimacy with a partner, here are some more practical tips for you to experiment with鈥β

7 Ideas for Emotional Intimacy

To improve emotional intimacy with your partner, there are some incredibly creative and fun things you can try.聽

Here are seven emotionally intimate things to do with your partner:

  1. Tell your partner something you appreciate about them: it鈥檚 so simple yet can be so meaningful. It鈥檚 also a way in which to improve upon your communication. Once a day, strive to tell your partner one thing you appreciate about them. It could be something like: 鈥淵ou made an excellent breakfast this morning, thank you!鈥 or 鈥You look beautiful today.鈥 Try to make it unique to them which can make them feel really good about themselves.

  1. Set time aside for uninterrupted alone time: Almost everyone has a chaotic life, but when you actively set time aside to spend with your partner, you鈥檙e intentionally putting in the energy to become more intimately close. During this time, try to avoid distractions, and simply engage in a conversation about your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. At the same time, leave room for your partner to do the same whilst you listen. Alternatively, you could spend your time together doing a shared hobby, creating something together, or trying something new for the first time.

  1. Leave tokens of your affection: much the same as telling your partner something you appreciate about them, leaving tokens of your affection is a creative and fun way to show you care. For example, you could leave them a kind sticky note on their refrigerator or in their notebook.

  1. Be available for them in new ways: try to find ways to be there for your partner that are different. For example, if you know that they love coffee from a specific place, make the effort to get it for them. Or, if they鈥檙e usually the one to do a certain chore, you could do it for them. These simple acts of generosity are a surprisingly big intimacy booster.

  1. Write down the things you love/like about each other: another simple idea, but super great as a means to enhance connection. Instead of focusing on your partner鈥檚 flaws, spend time writing down the things you really like or love about them鈥 almost like a gratitude list. You could do this together, or even by yourself, but by doing so, you鈥檙e able to refocus the way in which you see and feel about them.聽

  1. Invest in personal development: it may sound counterintuitive, but self-love and self-care is extremely important. We want to be the best versions of ourselves whether we鈥檙e alone or in a partnership. And in a relationship, investing in your wellness will allow you to feel your best and be in touch with what and how you think. This can result in more participation and willingness to communicate with your partner in a mindful and meaningful way.

  1. Engage in eye contact: many studies show that when you engage in eye contact with a partner, you can build a stronger and deeper connection. Eye contact is so powerful in fact that it can strengthen relationships and increase intimacy in different realms. This is because, when you engage in eye contact, the hormone oxycontin is released. Oxytocin is called the 鈥渓ove hormone鈥 and promotes bonding, trust, empathy, and positive memories. To practise eye contact, you can sit opposite from your partner, set a timer for an agreed-upon amount of time, then do nothing besides stare into each other鈥檚 eyes. At the same time, try to feel what your partner is feeling.
14 ideas for intimacy

7 Ideas for Physical Intimacy

The ways in which to connect physically on an intimate level are seemingly endless. And this is great news, as it offers you the choice to find something you both really enjoy.

Here are seven physically intimate things to do with your partner:

  1. 聽Prioritise sexual pleasure: when you make your and your partner鈥檚 sexual pleasure a priority and work on letting go of internalized beliefs or issues that don鈥檛 serve you, you鈥檒l open yourself up to a different frequency of bliss. It鈥檚 harder than it sounds, yes, but take it slow. Remember that pleasure does not need to be all or nothing, and that working together to get your needs met is a mutually beneficial thing. This doesn鈥檛 necessarily mean achieving orgasm. It can be simply imbibing the sexual experience with your partner in such a way that it makes you both feel free, pleasure, happy, and comfortable.
  1. Mutual masturbation: Mutual masturbation is either when both partners masturbate each other at the same time, or each partner masturbates in front of their partner. For the latter, it can be entirely freeing and powerful. It鈥檚 not only a way to ensure pleasure, but it鈥檚 also a teachable moment for your partner to watch you do what really gets you aroused.聽
  1. Tantric sex: tantric sex is all about enlightenment and working towards transcending both your sexual and spiritual planes by engaging in deeply meditative, spontaneous, and intimate sex. It鈥檚 similar to yoga in that it is about physical and spiritual awareness, and becoming more in-tune with your body, and your partners. The thing about tantric sex however is that it need not even include penetrative sex. It can be an experience of intense foreplay that鈥檚 mindful. Things such as giving and receiving oral, giving and receiving massages, or showering together, when being fully in the present, can be considered tantric sex. The main thing about tantric sex is to build connection, go slow, be mindful and present, and to fully immerse yourself into the moment.
  1. Take late night walks together: physical intimacy is not just about sex or sexual experiences. And that鈥檚 why activities such as taking walks together, can be entirely satisfying and physically intimate. Take a stroll together, hand-in-hand, and get rid of all that excess energy. It鈥檚 also a great way to connect with the outdoors and to perhaps have a deep and meaningful discussion.
  1. 聽Give each other a sensual and sexually suggestive massage: sensual massages are amazingly beneficial, and don鈥檛 require a lot. Simply create a warm and safe space that prompts comfort and trust, and grab a soothing and gentle massage oil. You can take turns to massage each other, and it can be however you both prefer. Perhaps start off with non-erogenous zones such as the legs and arms, and then inch your way closer to the genitals and other erogenous zones. The key to practising a sensual massage is to go slow, to communicate how you feel throughout, and to be mindful of each other.
  1. Embrace new sexual experiences: this is a fun one, as it can be anything you find intriguing. You could play a sexy game such as truth or dare, or even buy a sex board game. Or, why not consider talking dirty in the bedroom, sending suggestive texts as a means of foreplay, using a (new) sex toy, experiment with warming and cooling gloss or lubes, or perhaps try outdoor play with a wearable vibrator? The list is seemingly endless.
  1. Create an Erotic Blueprint: this is an arousal map that reveals your specific erotic language, whether it is sensual, sexy, kinky, energetic, or shapeshifter. In doing the Erotic Blueprint quiz, you can figure out your own language as well as your partners so that you can fully embrace your desires together.聽

How to Reconnect with Your Partner Sexually

While we鈥檝e talked about reconnecting with your partner on an emotional and a physical level, here we鈥檙e going to discuss the topic of sex. Yes, physical intimacy does encompass sex, but not always.聽

Sex and sexual intimacy is an important part of a relationship, and working on reconnecting with your partner sexually comes with a slew of benefits, both mental and physical.聽

Here are a few ways that you can reconnect with your partner sexually:

  • Rediscover each others鈥 bodies: set enough time aside with no distraction and just play. Take it slow, and touch each other in new and old places to really remember each others鈥 bodies and what feels pleasurable for both of you.
  • Reintroduce old habits that served you well: perhaps you both used to do all sorts of fun things when you first met, but have since stopped. Go back to the basics! Do the things that used to get your heart racing before鈥攖hings that you鈥檝e perhaps forgotten about.
  • Orgasm is not the end goal: as time goes on, sex may become monotonous, boring, or mundane. It may also be something that鈥檚 done simply in an attempt to reach orgasm. But why not really explore one another? Take time to engage in foreplay and other sexual things that can bring about immense pleasure. Forget about a five-minute romp session with an end goal of orgasm, and have fun!
  • Try new things, sexually: you鈥檙e never too old to learn new tricks! And it seems as though there鈥檚 a new sex position or a new sex toy or prop that鈥檚 coming out every day! Start researching and find new ways to enjoy one another.
  • Prioritise sex: With the busyness of life, prioritising sex is a great way to actually make sure you鈥檙e having it. Studies show that the more sex you have, the more sex you want. So, in order to keep up that sexual arousal, go forth and set time aside for sex. It may seem less spontaneous, but it could actually work in your favour, as you can mentally prepare for it.
  • Communicate your desires: as we鈥檝e mentioned throughout this article, communication is at the forefront of a healthy relationship. When you鈥檙e able to communicate your sexual needs without judgement, there鈥檚 room to explore and grow. And who knows, perhaps there鈥檚 a desire or fantasy that both of you have that you did not know about!
  • Take it slow if you need to: taking it slow can be extremely beneficial as a means to grow closer together and to build trust. Not just that, but many people, especially women, need time to gain arousal before they engage in penetrative sex or other very intimate sexual acts.
14 ideas for intimacy

How to Bring Back Intimacy in a Marriage: Intimacy Ideas for Married Couples

When people are in a long term relationship or have been together/married for some time, it can be quite challenging to get back to those honeymoon days.聽

But the truth is, while the beginning of your relationship was probably a lot of fun with lots of sexual experimentation, it鈥檚 almost impossible to gain that back.聽

The good news to this is that the time you鈥檝e spent together has only added to your intimacy. You now know each other more deeply, and this means that even more meaningful sex can be had. It adds a layer of connection that鈥檚 impossible for new couples.

So, for those looking on how to be more sexually intimate with your husband, or how to be more sexually intimate with your wife, you鈥檙e actually in a really good place already.

How to be more intimate with your partner when you鈥檙e married

Here, we list a few actionable things you can do to be more intimate with your partner when you鈥檙e married.聽

Remember though, teamwork makes the dream work. So, communication is essential when it comes to really gaining the benefits of the intimacy activities.

So, for those married folk out there, here are a few ways that you can be more intimate with your partner when you鈥檙e married:

Start cuddling: it can be difficult when partners put pressure on themselves to go from a lack of intimacy straight back to 鈥渘ormal鈥 sexual intercourse. Instead, taking the more sensual route can reduce anxiety and lead to heightened sexual experiences as time goes on. Cuddling, in that respect, is a great first step. Take the time to cuddle for 10 minutes before bed, for example. What鈥檚 also great about cuddling is that it has the power to release a cocktail of feel-good hormones, which can ease some negative or uncomfortable feelings.聽

Kiss each other: just like cuddling, deep kissing is a lovely way to slowly inch back towards being more intimate with your spouse. It can help you two to reconnect physically, and if it leads to consensual and satisfying sex or other sexual activity鈥 then that鈥檚 great too.聽

Be intentional with touch: make a conscious effort to incorporate small acts of touch into your marriage. Things such as hugs, a quick kiss on the cheek, a pat on the back, or even a squeezing of the hand will help to reestablish your physical bond and draw you closer together.聽

Take turns spoiling each other: relationships and marriages are about give and take. And implementing this attitude when it comes to sex will be hugely beneficial for both partners. Take the time to do something for your husband or wife that they love鈥 it could be giving them oral sex, deep kissing, or a sensual massage. And then, have the favour reciprocated. This is an excellent way to solve any issues such as a mismatched libido or a current lack of sexual compatibility.聽聽

The Importance of Sharing Feelings in a Relationship

And finally, let鈥檚 discover why sharing feelings in a relationship is important!

Oftentimes, the first issue that comes with a lack of intimacy is a lack of communication. This means that one or both partners may feel disconnected on a deeper level.聽

They may believe that they鈥檙e unable to go to their partner when they feel sad or unhappy, or when they鈥檙e having a problem (relationship-related or not). Not just that, but they may feel as though they can鈥檛 or don鈥檛 want to share their positive feelings with their partner either.

When this happens, emotional distance occurs. And inevitably, relationships will struggle because feelings, situations, experiences, and concerns are not addressed or talked about.

That being said, it鈥檚 evident that sharing feelings in a relationship is of huge importance. In fact, a healthy relationship is often one that encompasses open and honest communication without any feelings of fear, guilt, or judgement.

The bottom line however is that when you are free to share your feelings with your partner, you鈥檙e actively taking part in creating closeness and connection.聽

It can be scary, as it may involve taking an emotional risk and courage, and it may make you feel exposed and vulnerable. But vulnerability in a relationship is also important, as it allows one to be their authentic self, instead of trying to please others. It fosters deeper intimacy and trust in relationships.

Conversely, in order to feel the full benefits of sharing your feelings within your relationship, a study shows that self-disclosure is only half of the process. The other half is partner responsiveness.聽

In other words, when one is expressing their feelings, a partner should show feelings of appreciation, affection, understanding, and acceptance in order for an intimate experience to take place.聽

Empathetic feedback is the cornerstone of effective communication, whether it is verbal or non-verbal, as it indicates that trust is present.

We hope that you鈥檝e learned a thing or two, and are able to practise some of these suggestions in your relationship. We鈥檙e on your team, and we鈥檙e rooting for you to have the most satisfying intimate relationships with your partner or spouse!

1 comment

This is a fabulous, comprehensive, proactive and provocative article. I will share it with many friends and loved ones. Most importantly, my partner and I will read it together. Thank you!

Dean June 06, 2024

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