7 Steps to Next-Level Emotional Intimacy
Reconnect with your partner and build emotional intimacy with my suggestions below.
There are lots of different ways to feel connected to our partners.
While some of those are physical and sensual, others have more to do with our experiences of vulnerability, familiarity, and use of love languages. Fortunately, intimacy is so much more than just sex, and our relationships—sexual and platonic—can always be evolving and growing!
Since intimacy can be nurtured both in-person and when apart (even when social distancing), most suggestions that require in-person interaction have a technology option just below it. So, whether you’re seeking emotional intimacy or general connection with your significant other, the tips below will help you grow in those relationships (and really, with any loved ones in your life).
Whatever you’re doing, do together.
- We all need to eat, right? Look up a new recipe and go at it. If you’ve cooked together before, find something challenging to try. If it’s your first time sharing a kitchen, you’ll quickly learn new things about one another: Who is more experimental? More comfortable with taking directions? A dancing chef?
Pro-tip: If you can’t share the same kitchen, share the kitchen time. You can choose to work on the same recipe and compare how each comes out (visually and through description) or simply video chat and keep one another company while you work).
- Write a bucket list! This can include things you can do during quarantine and things for when it’s over. First write your lists separately so you get an opportunity to think about what you want to do as individuals. Then swap and see which items you can and want to do together. Seeing each other’s lists can inspire you to create even more items together. If you have multiple partners, be aware that multiple people may want to fulfill the same items on your list. Think about whether it means you turn it into a group activity, you do the item multiple times, or you only show to one of your partners.
Acts of Care/Service
Create opportunities to show the people you love that you’re paying attention by doing the little things, especially right now when there’s plenty of stress and anxiety to go around. They’ll feel seen, heard, and understood, which will benefit your connection.
- Pick up the slack: If your loved one needs a break, take care of things they normally do whether it’s cooking, cleaning, childcare, groceries, etc.
Quarantine-tip: If far apart, you can have meals/food delivered to their home, offer to have a playdate with kids via video-chat so they can get alone time, or have their laundry taken care of.
- Joyful reminders: Discover a new beer your loved one would like? Send them a picture so they know you’re thinking about them. See a pair of earrings someone would adore? Get them and surprise them next time you’re together. Vacation might be paused right now, but you can still collect ideas and make plans that fulfill your mutual lists!
Sometimes we talk and talk for hours without saying anything personal. Consider and ask yourself, “How much do I know about my loved one and who they are, right now in this moment?”
- Interview one another: Search Google for questions meant for falling in love and answer ones that you’re all interested in. Think about qualities and values that are important to you. Where do you overlap? See where the stories take you and use the responses as recipes for getting closer.
- Share memories: Think about times you have spent together. Reflect on what makes those memories meaningful, good or bad. We learn from both.
- Fill out a yes/no/maybe sheet together and see what new sexual experiences you’re both interested in trying, and what to avoid, for whenever you’re next together. You could also try playing a couples game with sexy suggestions you can explore together.
This is the second part of a two-part series exploring intimacy. Click here to read my tips for boosting physical intimacy. Got more ideas? Wanna share how these tips worked or didn’t work for you? Feel free to reach out! [email protected]
Yael R. Rosenstock GonzalezSex Educator, Researcher, Author, Speaker
Yael has been engaged in workshop development and facilitation since she joined the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) as a teen peer reproductive rights educator at 15 years old. Since then, she has served as an educator with children ranging from 10 months old to adults in their 70s with different organizations and communities. In her work as first Program Coordinator, then Director of Programming, and finally Associate Director of the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding, Yael developed and led events, workshops, and programs with an intersectionality lens.