Science Supports Using Physical Intimacy to Strengthen Relationships
Most couples understand the importance of cultivating a healthy sex life. In fact, maintaining a good sex life reduces your risk of relationship problems and divorce. One study examined over 1,000 couples for six years, asking them about their relationship satisfaction and sex life. The researchers found that couples who reported the highest levels of sexual satisfaction were up to 80 percent less likely to divorce than those with the lowest levels of sexual satisfaction. Just as the data shows, prioritizing sex can make or break a relationship.
Physical Intimacy Isn't Just About Sex
Sex is not the only form of physical intimacy. Other physical ways of expressing love are just as important, if not more important. One study involving 335 people, as well as 101 couples, discovered that couples who engage in non-sexual physical intimacy like kissing and cuddling after having sex were happier with their relationship and their sex life. This was true regardless of how often they actually had sex.
Expressing affection in physical ways is important. It makes both parties in a relationship feel loved, wanted and appreciated. Fortunately, the steps you can take to increase physical intimacy in your relationship are very simple. As couples get older, the frequency of sex often decreases, but making sure to maintain other forms of physical intimacy usually more than makes up for a relative lack of sex.
Practical Tips to Cultivate Physical Intimacy
Hold hands more often.
Although it may not be socially acceptable to cuddle or make out in public, holding hands is a way that you can be intimate when walking or sitting together in public. Whether you're taking a walk, grocery shopping, or attending your child's school event, holding hands can help you feel more connected throughout the day.
Kiss more often.
Try incorporating a kiss every time you say hello, goodbye, thank you, and I love you. Simply making the effort to remember to kiss your partner more often can go a long way.
Give each other massages.
A massage with lotion or oil feels very relaxing and intimate. You can use massage as a way to help each other relax, or as a form of foreplay.
Although communication is not directly physical, maintaining good communication will help you very much on your quest to increase physical intimacy.
Go to bed at the same time.
Making sure to spend some time together in bed every night is the perfect way to ensure time for heart-to-heart talks as well as cuddling, kissing and sex. Spending the last moments of the day with your significant other can help you feel more close to them.
This is another one that is not quite physical but will help you become more physical. When both of you feel very appreciated, expressing affection physically will come more naturally.
Sit closer to each other.
As with holding hands, this is a more socially-acceptable way of expressing physical affection in public. If you normally sit a few inches or feet apart, you can sit a little closer whenever you're watching a movie, spending time at the park, or in the dentist waiting room. This can create lots of time for physical intimacy that you may not have had otherwise.
Try new sex positions that feel intimate to you.
This might include woman-on-top, the spooning position, and the coital alignment technique. Having the woman on top can make sex feel more vulnerable, as well as being ideal for kissing and caressing. The spooning position is intimate because the receiving partner feels cradled. The coital alignment technique is great because not only does it improve a woman's chances of having an orgasm, but she will also feel very protected and safe with her man's legs around her. Incorporating other forms of physical intimacy into sex also helps; for example, try kissing and caressing each other more during sex.