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There are all kinds of debates about what exactly influences and shapes our behavior. From the fundamental idea of “nature versus nurture,” we know that there are usually competing forces at work. Most people may stress one aspect over the other but they also admit both are important.
Which leads us to the topic of intimacy. You may have given some much thought as to how you can improve intimacy in a romantic relationship. But you may also simply define intimacy as physical contact or sexual relations. Intimacy is actually more complex and begins with a willingness to be open about your thoughts and feelings. If open communication precedes physical touch or sexual relations, a perhaps surprising thing occurs: the intensity of the physical relationship is heightened.
So, what’s going on here? Writing for Psychology Today, Kari Rusnak says, “An important part of communication around intimacy is asking for your needs, expressing what you are comfortable with, and discussing what turns you on. There have to be conversations around sex and intimacy beforehand, during, and after. Being able to be open with your partner can help boost your connection and make it easier to find pleasure in your intimacy together. Before engaging in intimacy with a new partner it can be helpful to talk about your experience, needs, likes, and dislikes together. Setting expectations can make the experience much better. In a current relationship, ongoing discussions about your expectations and desires can help keep the flame burning.”
Which brings up a similar debate or discussion: which is more important to intimacy — Sexuality or Communication? As with nature & nurture, the answer is “both.” To improve the intensity and quality of your intimate relations, Rusnak proposes some ideas for openly and honestly communicating about your sexuality. A few of her ideas include:
- Sharing any trauma or bad experiences you’ve had that affect intimacy for you.
- Discussing your expectations for the intimacy you would like to have together (frequency, type).
- Telling your partner how you want to be touched during sex.
- Sharing a fantasy you have with each other.
Interested in some more ideas to increase the quality of your intimate relations? Read Rusnak’s entire article here.