5 Ways to Bolster the Bond With Your Partner Beyond the Bedroom

Updated on January 8, 2020
letstalkabouteduc profile image

After occupying the dating world for a dozen years, Ms. Meyers is now happily married and eager to share what she's learned about love.

Today, it's common for people to have sex without intimacy. Yet, we still have a deep yearning to be close: seen, vulnerable, accepted, and loved.
Today, it's common for people to have sex without intimacy. Yet, we still have a deep yearning to be close: seen, vulnerable, accepted, and loved. | Source

Intimacy and Sex Are Not Synonymous

Today, many people use intimacy and sex interchangeably. Yet, these two words have never been more different. In this jaded climate of hook-ups, friends with benefits, and virtual dating, everything now is inside-out, topsy-turvy, and completely cockeyed.

Some young adults have sex (often fueled by alcohol and drugs) with partners they've just met. It's a physical release, an escape from stress, and an avoidance from revealing their true and vulnerable selves. It's sex without intimacy.

Lonely and socially awkward older adults, on the other end of the spectrum, engage on-line where they develop intense, meaningful relationships. For many of them, the honest and real connection is what matters and they may never want to meet in person. It's intimacy without sex.

Intimacy Is Not a Chick Thing

With all these changes in our culture, though, one thing remains constant: the primal need to bond. Today, we live in a world where a person can boast of 6,000 so-called "friends" on Facebook but sits home alone on a Saturday night. Now, more than ever, we need ways to create intimacy with our partners. Contrary to popular belief, doing so isn't a “chick thing” that involves a lot of talking and doing touchy-feely exercises. Instead, building intimacy can be erotic, involving lots of sensual touch, and relaxing, involving quality uninterrupted time together.

5 Ways to Bolster the Bond With Your Partner

1. Make a meal together.

2. Take a bath or shower together.

3. Give each other massages.

4. Read the same book and discuss it.

5. Play "slave for the day."

1. Make a Meal Together

When preparing a meal, couples work as a team in a confined space and share an intimate experience. The smells, the sounds, and the tastes in a kitchen arouse the senses like few other places do. Cooking together becomes a kind of erotic dance as partners maneuver around the kitchen island, brushing against one another, reaching for pots and pans at the same time, and sampling the ingredients.

Following a basic recipe or using a food kit works best so couples can relax and talk without being overwhelmed with too many steps. Jaime Buerger, the author of "If You Want to Strengthen Your Relationship, Start in the Kitchen," says that cooking sparks intimate dialogue. She writes: "Cooking is fun, and the more fun you're having together, the more flirtatious and playful your banter will be."

2. Take a Bath or Shower Together

Taking a bath or shower together is another highly sensual experience for couples. It's a marvelously intimate activity as a prelude to sex or just unto itself. It's ideal after a long, hard day as a means to wash away the stresses from work and transition into relaxed domesticity.

It's a way for couples to enjoy their sexuality without having intercourse, touching and exploring each other's bodies. They can shampoo one another's hair, soap each other up, and scrub each other's backs. Xanet Pailet, a sex coach and author of Living An Orgasmic Life, recommends water time for her clients. She says: "Bathroom activities can be very intimate and by their nature can make couples feel more connected."

3. Give Each Other Massages

Today, many people pay professionals to massage them rather than ask their partners. As a result, they miss out on one of the most effective ways to build intimacy in their relationship. When my husband and I started dating, we attended weekly massage classes at our community center. It was a terrific way to explore one another's bodies, help one another release tension, and learn how to use oils to heighten sensation.

Twenty years later, I credit those classes for the success of our union. They set a sensual tone for our relationship and helped us appreciate the enormous value of touch. Findings presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference confirmed the benefits of partners massaging one another. After getting a massage from their partners, couples in the study reported having a greater sense of well-being, experiencing enhanced coping abilities, and feeling less stress.

Reading a book about relationships can help a couple become better communicators, lovers, and friends.
Reading a book about relationships can help a couple become better communicators, lovers, and friends. | Source

4. Read the Same Book and Discuss It

When my husband and I were dating, we read John Gray's bestseller, Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus. It was part of pop culture at the time (early 1990's) and proved a useful tool for us two introverts, sparking conversation about how men and women communicate differently. While I wouldn't recommend it today because its generalizations seem outdated, reading it back then was a non-threatening way to bring up issues that we were encountering. Couples, though, don't need to select self-help books about relationships. A collection of poetry or a classic work of fiction can have the same purpose, serving as a springboard for purposeful dialogue.

If I were to recommend a book for couples, it would be The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. It was written in 1992 by a long-time marriage counselor, Dr. Gary Chapman. Since that time, it's grown in popularity and has landed on the New York Times Best Seller list every year since 2009. Best of all, it was designed for couples to read together so they can determine their own love language as well as their partner's. The love languages include:

  • words of affirmation

  • quality time

  • receiving gifts

  • acts of service and

  • physical touch

When my husband and I read the book and answered the questions, we wound up being different love languages. I was quality time and he was words of affirmation. With that new knowledge, we understood why we had struggled in our marriage at times and knew precisely how to remedy it. I became more mindful about giving him compliments and thanking him for all he did to provide for our family. He became more conscientious about spending time alone with me, lining up a babysitter for a weekly date night.

5. Play “Slave for the Day"

My husband and I started this game when we were dating and still play it today when the kids are at their grandparents. It proved an effective way to get to know one another—our likes and dislikes, what turns us on, and how we like to spend our time. When my husband was my slave, I'd have him do the things that meant a lot to me: taking a walk together with our dog, going to the Farmer's Market, rubbing my feet, and making reservations at a trendy restaurant. When I was his slave, he'd like me to cut his hair, watch football, make him his favorite recipes, and play strip poker.

When we'd play Slave for the Day, we'd let it cross over into our sex lives as well. It was a fun and non-threatening way to let our partner know what gave us pleasure—what positions we liked, what fantasies we had, what music we enjoyed, what clothing turned us on, whether we liked lights on or off, and whether we preferred talking or no talking. It's often difficult for couples to talk about these things, but this game makes it a lot easier.

What do you think?

Which one of these activities do you believe would help create more intimacy in your relationship?

See results

© 2016 McKenna Meyers

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • letstalkabouteduc profile imageAUTHOR

      McKenna Meyers 

      3 years ago

      Thanks, Haider. As an introvert, intimate relationships are where it's at for me. I can barely tolerate the superficial chit-chat relationships that dominate most of our lives. The older I get the more willing I am to show vulnerability and that builds intimacy, too.

    • Haider Mama profile image

      Haider 

      3 years ago from Melbourne

      Such a beautiful hub! I couldn't agree with you more. I agree with every point you say. Especially the "Slave for the Day" is an amazing way to build intimacy.

      I don't know but in our culture couples find it embarrassing, awkward and weird to have a bath or shower together. I personally find it beautiful.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)