How to Increase Intimacy in a Long-Term Relationship


How connected are sex and emotional intimacy? What needs to be improved in order to feel closer to your partner?

There are a lot of conflicting opinions on the roles of sex and intimacy within a relationship, and in a constantly changing society, it’s hard to define the connection between the two.

Intimacy is feeling connected to someone. It’s about knowing someone deeply and being able to feel comfortable in that person’s presence.

Sex and intimacy are interconnected and one can help flourish the other. In a healthy relationship, sex is the physical manifestation of intimacy. It’s a mix of love and connection. Ideally, intimacy builds sex and sex builds intimacy.

Being open to your partner and laying all the cards on the table is the first step to build trust and create a safe emotional environment.

If you’re looking to increase intimacy with your partner, start with small steps:

•    Start having deeply emotional conversations

Feeling that you are with someone who accepts you for who you are and knows your deepest thoughts without judging you provides a sense of huge emotional comfort. Have the patience to learn more about your partner and provide an idea about your core beliefs.

•    Snap out of routine

Doing things for the first time together gives you the opportunity to experience something new together. That openness can lead to a feeling of closeness, therefore increased  intimacy. Put a break on the daily chores and set up a specific time of the week when no matter what happens, you both plan to do pause your day to day responsibilities and create great memories together.

•    Increase touch

Touch is crucial in feeling close to your partner. Physical affection is highly correlated with an overall relationship and partner satisfaction. Studies have shown conflicts are resolved more easily with physical touch e.g hugging, kissing on the lips or simply touching. (Gulledge, A. K., Gulledge, M. H. & Stahmannn, R. F. (2003) Romantic physical affection types and relationship satisfaction, The American Journal of Family Therapy, 31, 233-242.). Touching your partner randomly through the day also increases the sexual tension between you.

Keep in mind that intimacy can have different meanings for men and a women, so stay open to your partner’s needs . While women usually have the desire for emotional intimacy, men are portrayed as only having a desire for sexual intimacy. However, intimacy can take many forms, including the following:

Emotional intimacy is the closeness created through feeling emotionally conntected to your partner.

Emotional intimacy can start when people see the environment created as secure and when they feel understood. 

Mental intimacy involves a mutual understanding about all the important issues or goals in your relationship. Setting goals together is a great way to feel intellectual connected to your partner.

Recreational intimacy is doing things together that you both enjoy. From playing a game together, watching a movie or having a walk, these are all ways that improve the level of intimacy and lead to an overall satisfying sexual intimacy.

Would you and your partner benefit from help in finding greater intimacy? Get in touch to start therapy and counseling at our Charlotte, NC location today by calling (704)774-3058


John Clarke