7 Tips For Having More Intimate Sex

Updated November 7, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Do you feel that you have fallen into a sexual rut or that your sexual relationship with your partner is not intimate enough? Do you hope to increase emotional closeness in your sexual encounters? Are you struggling with body image issues or sexual trauma that makes sexual intimacy difficult for you?

You might be dealing with sexual intimacy concerns if you answered yes to any of these questions. Having more intimate sex may influence your emotional connection with your partner inside and outside the bedroom. Communication and openness are two possible skills to develop to improve intimacy. You can also try the seven following tips.

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1. Define What Sex Means To You

Each partner can bring a distinct viewpoint on sex into the relationship. This opinion or attitude towards sex may have formed from their own unique life experiences. Some people might feel unbothered by being unclothed, expressing desires, or experimenting with new concepts. On the other hand, some individuals may not know how to effectively articulate their sexual desires and preferences to their partners until later in life. Others may struggle with focusing more on the physical than the emotional part of sex.

To prevent a possible sexual dysfunction in a relationship, define what sex means to you and your partner before sleeping together. Ask your partner the following:

  • What do you enjoy?
  • What is something you would try?
  • What is something you dislike?
  • What are your sexual boundaries?
  • What sexual activities would you never be comfortable with?
  • Do you have a safe word or want to establish one?

Having a clear conversation about needs before sex can help you and your partner understand each other and avoid potentially harmful or difficult moments together.

If you or your partner aren’t sure about your responses, you may consider seeking the help of a sex therapist to further communication. This option may be valuable if one or both of you has sexual trauma or self-esteem issues.

2. Communicate Your Concerns Openly 

If you are dealing with intimacy concerns, communicate these to your partner outside the bedroom. Active listening and honesty are proven to improve relationship satisfaction during communication. Find a comfortable location to converse that is not a sexual environment. Reduce distractions by focusing on the conversation.

Be as honest as possible. If you don’t tell your partner what you need, they may not understand what is wrong. If there’s an aspect of your relationship that you need to change to feel safe, bring this up. For example, you may make statements such as:

  • “I don’t feel safe when you wake me up to have sex.”
  • “I need a safe word so that I feel safe stopping the sexual activity when we’re in the middle of it.”
  • “I want us to kiss and cuddle more before sex.”
  • “I don’t feel emotionally loved or cared for outside of sex, making me not want to have sex.”
  • “I have sexual trauma from my past and want to go to therapy before we have sex again.”

After you’ve brought up your concerns, leave the floor open for your partner to bring up any of theirs. If you find that conflict continues, you may decide to reach out to a couples sex therapist for support.

3. Embrace New Experiences Together

Couples whose sex lives may start to feel “boring” or “rare” may turn to new toys, positions, or consensual non-monogamy to increase excitement or connection in the bedroom. Although new sexual fantasies can be exciting, focus less on the external aspects of these new items or desires and more on how you experience them together.

Be vulnerable and open to new emotional connections through these new pathways. You can also come up with new sexual activities that promote closeness. Possible ways to try this may include:

  • Discussing your experiences with a new toy or position
  • “Dirty” talking or words of affirmation during sex
  • Sensual touching
  • Giving each other a massage before sex
  • Longer foreplay
  • Trying sexual positions that increase physical closeness
  • Breathing together
  • Prolonged eye contact

4. Take Things Slow When You Need To

You may feel the desire to slow things down. Slowing down might mean taking time when talking about your sexual wants and needs. Some people may require more time and patience in a conversation about sex. Several discussions over time may feel more comfortable.

You may also take things more slowly when you are in the act of sexual intercourse. Consider focusing on the present moment and not on the end goal of achieving an orgasm or doing everything “right.”

Sex is often pleasurable for both parties, so if an area feels stressful or scary, it may be time to take a break and converse. If you’re having difficulty bringing this up, a couples therapist may be beneficial.

5. Build An Erotic “Love Map” Together

An “erotic love map” is an exercise to explore your partner’s preferences and desires. As you build this love map, try to ask specific questions about their needs and wants in bed. You can draw your love map on paper or write it down in a journal.

Start with these questions as you build a comprehensive list tailored to your unique relationship.

  • What felt good last time?
  • What are your greatest turn-ons?
  • What feels fulfilling to you?
  • Are there any areas we should come back to at a later date?
  • What do you need to make sex more intimate?
  • What didn’t feel good last time?

Sex and intimacy do not always go hand in hand. Allowing yourself to become vulnerable when talking intimately about sex may effectively bridge the gap between the two terms.

6. Eliminate Distractions

With so much going on in the world around us, it may feel tempting to become distracted during sex. Putting your phone away, silencing your notifications, and putting your pets in another room may help you and your partner focus on each other.

Allowing yourself to become distracted may delay sexual pleasure and frustrate your partner—focus instead on eye contact, your partner’s needs, and how you feel during the moment.

If you’re struggling with focus or find that you do not want to have sex at all, let your partner know that you’re ready to stop. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during a sexual encounter.

7. Be Vulnerable As Much As Possible

Showing vulnerability can be done in a variety of ways. Expressing your sexual desire for your partner sometimes requires you to be vulnerable. Vulnerability may look different for each person. For one person, it might mean being fully unclothed or having the lights on, while for another, it may mean saying “I love you” during sex.

Being vulnerable may feel scary. However, doing so can allow partners to build trust and prevent themselves from shutting down or becoming distant from each other. If you have trauma or body concerns that make it hard for you to be vulnerable, you may benefit from sex therapy.

Sex and Intimacy 101: Why The Two Don’t Always Go Hand-In-Hand

Intimate sex may strengthen your emotional connection with your partner. Part of achieving this entails knowing how sex and intimacy can connect. Often, sex and intimacy do not go together. One-night stands are one example of potentially non-intimate sex.

Couples can also show intimacy toward each other without having sex. An act of love, such as asking how someone feels when they arrive home from work or greeting them with a kiss, may also be a form of intimacy.

Different Types Of Intimacy

Intimacy can be expressed in different manners, allowing you to have various opportunities for connection. Increasing intimacy in non-sexual areas may also increase intimacy in your sex life.

  • Physically: Taking a walk, cooking dinner together, and going to a movie are several examples of physical intimacy.
  • Sensually: Hugging, kissing, and massages can be sensual forms of intimacy.
  • Sexually: Sexual intimacy can involve forms of sex such as oral sex, penetration, or laying unclothed together.
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Non-Sexual Methods For Intimacy

To help focus your energy on the intimate and emotional aspects of your relationship, it can be helpful to practice intimate acts that aren’t sex-related. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • Discuss the things that matter the most to you
  • Give each other a non-sexual massage
  • Kiss each other each morning
  • Try something new together, such as a cooking class or dancing lesson
  • Help each other with tasks
  • Learn each other’s love language
  • Spend time cuddling
  • Give a thoughtful gift

Partners don’t necessarily have to practice non-sexual methods to improve their emotional connection. However, these methods may complement sexual intimacy in the bedroom. Think about the impression you want to make on your partner and act accordingly to make that impact.

The Pillars Of An Emotionally-Intimate Relationship

If you don’t feel emotionally connected with your partner, improving the intimacy in your sex life may be difficult. Building an emotionally intimate relationship could involve several factors, including:

  • Knowing Yourself: By understanding your feelings and needs, you may be able to better articulate them to other people
  • Practicing Honesty: Being honest but tactful can help your partner make informed choices that will improve your sexual experience
  • Learning To Communicate Clearly: Clear communication can involve both an open ear and direct honesty to get your feelings across to your partner
  • Showing Love: Partners in a healthy relationship may express love in many ways, not just sexually

As you build your relationship with your partner, try to have fun. Not every encounter or conversation has to be serious, and laughing can be beneficial to your mental health.

Health Benefits Of Intimate Sex

The mental and physical health benefits of a strong sexual and emotional relationship may include the following:

Seeking Treatment Or Counseling

Some couples may face roadblocks to intimate sex that are challenging to work through alone. For example, someone with sexual trauma or body image issues may not feel comfortable partaking in close intimate sex without working through the underlying concerns. In this case, couples or individual counseling may be beneficial. However, couples can see a therapist for any concern or reason. Sex therapy is another option available.

Studies suggest that couples therapy is effective for 70% of all couples who use it. For those who feel more comfortable working through intimacy concerns at home, teletherapy is another method that has been proven to be just as effective as traditional in-person counseling. Online therapy allows you to meet with a counselor on your own schedule without needing to get ready or drive long distances.

Licensed mental health professionals, including the staff at BetterHelp for individuals or ReGain for couples, may be able to help you and your partner work through sex and intimacy issues together.

Here are some counselor reviews from those who have sought help through the BetterHelp platform in the past for similar concerns.

Counselor Reviews

“Gave great advice and tools for both my husband and myself even on our first session. Asked a lot of questions on what we were getting from her tools and the session in general, really listened and made sure we were getting something out of it.”

“Lori has changed my life for the better. She has given me the tools and confidence to properly cope with my anxiety, depression and past traumas. She is a GREAT listener and always empowers me to help myself. Lori has taught me to put myself first. I’m so thankful she is my therapist.”

Takeaway

Consider the tips above if you’re dealing with sexual intimacy concerns or want to increase love and intimacy in your relationship. Speaking with a licensed counselor may be beneficial if you’re hoping to get further professional insight. Take the first step and reach out.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

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