5 steps to better intimacy in your relationship

By: Jessica Padykula

Author: Canadian Living


5 steps to better intimacy in your relationship

By: Jessica Padykula
Make this the year to really turn your sex life around. It might seem like a daunting task, but increasing both the frequency and enjoyment of sex in your relationship can be easier than you think. Taking several simple steps can help you lead the way to more satisfaction in the bedroom and a renewed passion between you and your partner.

To learn more about improving and increasing intimacy, we turned to Dr. Renee Horowitz, an obstetrician, gynecologist, sex expert and founder of the Center for Sexual Wellness. She shared her five-step plan for having more sex -- and making it great.

1. Boost communication
You've likely heard this a million times before (for improving all aspects of a relationship), but there's a simple reason communication is the first step toward better, more frequent sex: It works. "Unless the other person knows what it is we like in bed, we aren't going to get it," says Horowitz.

The old adage that if he really loved you he'd just know doesn't hold true when it comes to sex (or many other things in life). It's also important to note that you need to be honest when communicating about sex with your partner. "There's no right or wrong answer when it comes to what you like in the sack. That's what makes it exciting," says Horowitz.

2. Introduce novelty
Anything can become routine, whether it's work, food or sex, so mixing in some surprising elements can really liven things up and increase desire. "Change in routine scientifically improves our sex life because of a chemical called dopamine," Horowitz explains.

"When we alter things, our brains release dopamine, an excitatory neurotransmitter that makes us want to have sex, become more aroused and get to that magic place." There's no need to go to extremes: Simply changing the environment (trade the bed for the floor), introducing new toys or wearing new lingerie can transform basic sex into exhilarating sex.

Page 1 of 2 -- Find three more ways to improve intimacy and stay better connected to your partner on page 2
3. Practise mindfulness
If you have ever tried to have sex when there are a million things on your mind, you know how hard it is to enjoy yourself when you're distracted. "You can't concentrate on the moment because your mind is being pulled in so many directions, and it is our minds that control our sex drive," Horowitz says.

Being mindful means focusing only on what is going on right now, this very second. "Try it next time when you are having sex. Just concentrate on the sensation, the touch, the smell, the taste," she advises. "It may take practice to empty your mind of all else, but practice makes perfect."

4. Think about timing
We all have our own rhythms, especially where libido is concerned. Some people like sex in the morning, some at night, some three times a week and some only once a month. "Talk to your partner to find out when they desire sex most," Horowitz advises.

"Knowing when sex works for your partner can help, especially if you're feeling like you're getting shot down over and over because you're initiating sex at the wrong time for your partner's libido." This goes both ways. If your partner is trying to initiate sex when you're tired or stressed out, discuss better options and come to a compromise.

5. Show your love

Increasing intimacy often comes down to feeling loved and appreciated. "When you feel romantically connected to your partner, your sex drive skyrockets," Horowitz explains.

Boost the romance in your relationship by doing something unexpected for your partner, whether it's making a surprise phone call to say "I love you" or taking on a chore that is normally your partner's responsibility. Romance can also include taking a walk together, holding hands in the car and talking (really talking -- not discussing to-do lists). The more you can show each other how much you care, the more likely you are to want to have sex.

Increasing your enjoyment in the bedroom comes down to a few key changes that can help get you and your partner on the same page when it comes to intimacy. Better, more frequent sex comes from understanding, communicating and being willing to compromise.

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5 steps to better intimacy in your relationship