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How to Bring Back Intimacy in a Relationship

As couples begin their relationship together, they become bonded by feelings of intimacy. Intimacy helps to create and sustain a relationship, and without it, the connection between a couple can dissolve.

Many things help to enhance and develop intimate feelings, and we look at how you can sustain or re-introduce this essential feeling into your relationship.

What is intimacy?

Intimacy is an essential aspect of love that describes the feeling of being close and deeply connected to someone. When you are emotionally intimate in a romantic sense, it refers to the feelings of loving or liking someone, which can lead to a sexual relationship.

A sexual relationship doesn’t end there; the relationship is also intimate, as this depends on how much you trust, share and demonstrate affection for the other person involved.

Therefore, it can also refer to the physical and sexual relationship you have with your partner. It often involves displays of affection and passion. It is a desired part of a relationship for many people who want to feel a passionate and deep attachment with another human.

In many situations, one can affect the other and vice versa. Below, we look at both the physical and emotional forms of intimacy.

A man squeezing his boyfriend’s face lying in bed

Physical forms of intimacy

Intimacy is integral to many aspects of a relationship. It may help couples to bond through acts of affection, such as hugging and kissing. It also impacts the sexual part of a relationship, and without intimacy, sex can feel generic. Not having or maintaining a unique physical bond can make people feel distant from their partner.

Emotional forms of intimacy

Outside the physical aspects of a relationship, the connection between a couple is also affected by intimacy. Intimacy can refer to the emotional support and closeness of a couple.

Emotional intimacy can depend on how you treat one another in daily life as well as the depth of conversations you have with one another. Without talking about the more significant aspects of life, such as your future together, the relationship can feel very surface level.

The ability to empathise is essential when building emotional intimacy and people need to feel as though they are accepted, and the relationship is being invested in by their partner.

The role of trust

It is incredibly important to keep communication open and honest as this provides the basis for a trusting relationship. Without a feeling of trust, a sense of intimacy is hard to develop for multiple reasons.

Firstly, being able to trust another person with your thoughts and feelings is paramount to talking openly and honestly. By having open and trusting communication, it reassures each person they are in a supportive relationship, and they feel safe and understood. With this comes feelings of affection. Finally, feeling like you can trust your partner will help you to feel physically intimate as the relationship feels exclusive and unique.

Below, we look at how to enhance intimacy in your relationship in both the emotional and physical sense.

A couple drinking coffee together

Show appreciation

The first step in re-introducing intimacy to a relationship is to acknowledge the efforts of your partner. This means taking note of and making a fuss about the smaller things.Bring it back to the simplest things, the small aspects of the relationship that you may have noticed at the start. Perhaps they always make you a cup of tea? Show that you care and it means a lot to you.

Perhaps by clearly saying thank you, a touch on the arm, a kiss on the cheek or a hug!

Be affectionate

This brings us on to showing affection. As well as acknowledging your partner's efforts and sacrifices, it is essential to demonstrate love as often as you can.

You could try holding each other when you wake up or go to sleep or giving each other a seven-second-hug in the morning and upon seeing each other after a day at work.  It is the small, special acts that can give a person a sense of purpose and make them feel special.

Communicate and listen

There is much to understand about healthy communication in a relationship. If communication is poor, it can decrease the level of intimacy in a couple.

To achieve effective communication, there are many skills to consider and much of it comes from active listening and encouragement in reassuring your partner that it is safe to talk. It requires honesty from the talker too.

Talking can be ineffective if not genuine or authentic in delivery, so it essential that more serious discussions need to be in distraction-free environments  For more advice on healthy communication, please take a look at our article on how to improve your relationship through communication which can provide more in-depth coverage of the topic.

Reminisce

An effective way to feel closer to someone is to talk about the memories you have shared. It allows you to reflect on both the happy and significant experiences of your life and think about what you would like to experience more of in the future.

Take a look at our article for more advice on how to build a better future with your partner.  

White duvet on a bed

Discuss sex

For some, talking about sex can feel like an uncomfortable topic, even when discussing it with their partner.

However, there are many benefits to talking about sex with your partner.  It is easy to assume that because you ‘know’ your partner, they should automatically identify what you like in the bedroom, but actually, this is far from the truth.

No one is a mind reader, and offering direction is essential when it comes to sex.  It is also important to realise that intimate sex is a product of other displays of intimacy, such as affection and good communication.

Talk honestly

Feeling like you do not understand one another sexually can make people distant and lead to many misinterpreted thoughts such as rejection or unattraction. However, it may be that you have different sexual needs which need to be addressed.

Therefore, it is essential that you are upfront and honest with your partner, especially if you feel like you are on different pages when it comes to sex.

Tips for talking about sex

If you find it hard to talk about sex, that is completely fine, and there are ways you can increase your confidence when discussing the subject.

The first step is to clarify how you both feel about discussing the subject. On a scale of one to 10, acknowledge what level you are when talking about it. If one person is less than the other, try not to take it as a reflection of your relationship but as their personal challenge which may have numerous causes.

These could include their type of upbringing and how sex was discussed (or not discussed) in their household.  Understanding these feelings about sex will offer the opportunity to feel emotionally intimate as you break previous barriers.

Here at Remainly, our online video service offers many exercises that can help people on this topic.

Two hands trying to touch with purple sky in background

Re-introduce touch

Sometimes, delving straight into sex when trying to build intimacy can feel too much. Therefore, it may be better to introduce touch back into your relationship slowly. There are many ways to do this, and it will most likely begin as a non-sexual interaction such as holding hands, hugging, or using massage.

Trying to improve intimacy in a relationship may require time and patience but being able to empathise with one another is essential. Here at Remainly, we offer a portable, online pre-recorded service that doesn’t require any trips to a therapist. Whether you are searching for couples or marriage counselling, our pathways can be used by individuals or couples looking to improve their relationship.

Discover how our services led by relationship psychologist Andreas Løes Narum can help you by browsing through our website!

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