At the big, earth-shattering climax of sex, it can feel like everything's right in the world; like you never, ever want to come down from that high. Then, the waves recede and it's you and your partner hanging out in bed (or wherever you were when the mood struck). For a lot of couples, the post-coital cuddle is just as important to the sexual experience as the sex itself. But for others, this element of comfortable intimacy might be lacking, both inside and outside the bedroom. If you're in the second category, there's no need to be ashamed! There are plenty of ways that you and your partner can strengthen your emotional intimacy — and create a deeper sexual connection than ever before.
What is Emotional Intimacy?
There's a tendency to think of intimacy in relationships as physical contact that you wouldn't want from anyone but your partner: kisses, touching certain body parts and, of course, sexual intercourse. But intimacy can describe all sorts of connections! For example, you might feel intellectual intimacy with a person you're not in a romantic relationship with because you both have a wealth of knowledge about a subject most others don't, so you can connect in a unique way by discussing those topics.
Emotional intimacy is all about mutual feelings of trust and comfort. You have strong emotional intimacy with a person when you feel like you can talk to them about anything, whether it's big news or uncomfortable secrets, and still be accepted for who you are — and that the feeling is reciprocal! It's a form of intimacy that's gained over time as you and your partner learn about each other through consistent, honest conversation. However, these deep conversations can make emotional intimacy difficult for some people to achieve.
Why is Emotional Intimacy So Hard?
Opening up to new people is challenging; you can never be completely certain of how they'll react to the things you choose to share with them. This uncertainty is a major hangup for a lot of people, and it can stem from negative experiences in previous relationships, an abusive past, or parents that were either too prying or not involved enough, along with other factors.
Definitions of emotional intimacy also vary from person to person — just like sexual preferences! What feels good for one person might not be satisfying to another. So, while you might feel emotionally fulfilled in the relationship, the other person might not. They could even be feeling neglected. That's why open and honest communication about how you and your partner are feeling about your relationship is so important.
How Can I Improve Emotional Intimacy with My Partner?
There are a lot of ways you can improve emotional intimacy, from taking time to reflect on your own hangups to talking about sex with your partner. Check out some of the most important ones and try them out!
1. Identify Your Emotional Needs and/or Points of Discomfort
Before diving into a deep conversation with your partner, take a moment to figure out what your definition of emotional intimacy is. This is also a good opportunity to pinpoint topics that are uncomfortable for you to talk about, and to reflect on why they're uncomfortable: is it because of past experiences? Are you scared that your partner will judge you? When you do talk with your partner, be sure to preface these difficult subjects with the reasons you're sensitive about them. If you're with a good partner, they'll be respectful of your needs and feelings throughout the process.
2. Talk with Your Partner
This doesn't have to be a big dramatic production — and it shouldn't be. Having regular talks with your partner about the state of your relationship is a normal and healthy thing to do. It allows you both to address any problems before they balloon into a fight, but also to step back and appreciate the things that are going well: is your partner being more helpful around the house? Have they been more mindful of your needs during sex? Did they bring home your favorite candy from the grocery store just because? Acknowledge those good things! You'll be amazed at the closeness that can come from you and your partner expressing gratitude for each other.
3. Be Honest
As scary as it can be, emotional intimacy won't blossom if you and your partner aren't honest with each other. Clearly communicate your needs, values, beliefs and any other relevant preferences to your partner, and listen when they tell you theirs. It's also important to address breakdowns in the relationship as soon as they happen so you can work together to fix the problem. Honest conversations will help you and your partner form realistic expectations of one another and ultimately lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation that could potentially last a lifetime.
Why Does Emotional Intimacy Improve Sexual Connection?
There are several reasons! For one, being with a partner who has a deep understanding of your preferences means they'll know exactly how to push all your buttons — in just the right way. Secondly, trust is a key factor in having a safe and enjoyable sexual experience. Since emotional intimacy also requires a high level of trust, it's easy to transfer that comfort into the bedroom. Finally, being emotionally intimate with someone is a great way to kindle the flames of attraction; being verbal about your dreams, desires and love for each other often leads to sensual touches, which just might get you into the bedroom for some luxurious lovemaking.
Getting Intimate in the Bedroom
As hot and fun as a quickie can be, it's much easier to create an intimate experience when you and your partner take your time. There's a whole lot of pleasure waiting to be tapped into when you explore each other's bodies slowly and thoroughly! Our Sensual Love category has all sorts of goodies to enhance your sexual connection — might we suggest a few?
Not sure exactly what you want? Our Romance Basics section is sure to give you plenty of ideas for new, sensual bedroom experiences. From bath bombs to gift bags full of sexy games and gear, you'll find just the thing for a memorable night — or many to come.
We don't think there's such a thing as a bad massage — especially when it's coming from a partner who knows how to work out all your kinks. In our massage category, you can check out flavored, body safe massage oils, textured massage gloves, and flirtatious finger vibes for when it's time to take the party down south.
Another sensual standby, candles never fail to set the mood. But you know what's better than a regular scented candle? A scented candle that can also be used as a warm, luscious massage oil. Some of them are even edible and come in tons of flavors! It's a surefire way to create an intimate, unforgettable experience.
Shop for More Instruments of Intimacy at PinkCherry
Our Sensual Love category is just the tip...of the iceberg. With PinkCherry, you can take you and your partner's sexual connection even further with vibrators, dildos, lingerie, bondage gear and much, much more. Now go forth, spend some quality time with your partner and get down to business!