“Couples who schedule a time to connect with each other have healthier, happier relationships.” – Chris Kraft, Ph.D.
Sex is an integral part of life and overall well-being. Aside from reproduction, sex can be about intimacy and pleasure. It has many health benefits and strengthens the bond between couples. Sex helps initiate a romantic relationship but it is not everything to look forward to in a long-term commitment. What’s important is that you and your partner can discuss what you expect from your sex lives, and find ways to make sure both people’s needs are being addressed. Relationships require a lot of work—you need to understand the art of giving and receiving to achieve deeper connections within.
As a a society, we have come to understand intimacy as sex. Sex is part of intimacy and a very important part of a long term relationship; however, not the only element of intimacy. As such, it is important to know the different ways we can connect, and feed each aspect. They are all impressed in order to achieve the feeling of closeness we all seek in healthy relationships.
THERE ARE DIFFERENT WAYS THAT ENABLE PARTNERS TO CONNECT WITHIN THE RELATIONSHIP MORE THAN JUST HAVING SEX:
A bid for attention – These are greetings, a smile down walking down the corridors of your house, and good-bye’s.
Simple requests – For example: “While you’re up, get me the butter.”
A bid for help, teamwork, or coordination – For example: help with an errand)
A bid for the partner’s interest or active excitement. In all relationships, each partner may have interests that are not shared with their partner. This becomes far more noticeable when the couple has children, and leisure time is limited. It is important to keep supporting each other’s interests, either by doing the activity or interest or supporting it by allowing the partner to feel free to do it.
Questions or requests for information – For example: information about finances, information on time spent with others, etc.
A bid for conversation – This are the conversations about simple and easy topics you might have with friends: the weather, sports, art, news, etc.
A bid for just venting – When a partner vents, it is different from problem solving/giving advice. Notice that problem solving is a different point of connection (#10). When a partner vents, he/she is looking for the partner that will validate his/her feelings.
Sharing events of the day – Telling each other about their day.
Stress reduction – This is a kind of conversation when one partner went through an emotionally difficult situation and he/she is seeking for support from the partner.
Problem solving – As mentioned in post #7, problem solving or giving advice is not always what a partner is seeking when talking about a problem. A person needs to be open to hear advice, otherwise it will be rejected and possibly cause more harm than good.
Humor, laughter – Laughing together is a great way to bond. It can also relieve tension in moments of angst.
Affection – Notice that sex is in a different category (#20). This refers to moments of physical thought that do not lead to sex, or at least, were not given with the expectation of sex. This can be hugs, spooning, holding hands, sitting next to each other, caressing hair or other body parts.
Playfulness – It is a great bonding strategy to goof around as a couple. This can be a silly dance, tickles, and much more.
Adventure – For example: doing new things together, as well as things that bring excitement.
Exploration – Exploring new places and things.
Learning something together – This is a great strategy to build a bond when we have lost our ways as a couple. Many couples benefit from this when becoming an empty nester.
Intimate conversation – These are conversations where we discuss as needs, wishes, and desires.
Emotional support – These are conversations when one partner needs the other partner to be emotionally present.
Understanding, compassion, empathy – This speaks about having the mindset to try to understand our partner in a way that is compassionate and empathetic. In other words, to look at our partner like he/she is trying their best.
Sexual intimacy – And of course, sex is a bonding activity as a couple, but this also means we can talk about sex and work at it together when/if we lose the spark.
An intimate relationship includes having sex as seen above, however, a relationship is having a strong bond that results in emotional and physical connection.
Even though having sex is great and fulfilling, you don’t have to totally focus on your sex life, because when things get tough and sex is all that you got – the relationship may fall apart.
Successful couples keep their relationship strong by building trust, respect, and love for one another, and the 20 items discussed above are ways to develop and maintain these feelings in the relationship.