If Valentine’s Day is no more than a Hallmark holiday to you, perhaps it could serve another purpose. Any time is a good time to reconnect with your significant other, but we’re especially reminded of the importance of rekindling the flame as February 14 stares us down. We spoke with Dr. Kat Van Kirk, resident sex expert at Adam and Eve and licensed marriage/sex therapist, for some insight on the matter. According to Van Kirk, here are four tips to help you and your partner increase intimacy.
1. Prioritize sex
Sure, you might think that this one’s pretty obvious. Of course you probably want to have sex with your partner, but desire and reality are two very different things. Van Kirk says, “Become an opportunist, whether you have kids, roommates or a crazy work schedule.” Be sure to make time for yourself and the needs of your relationship. Seize the moment and indulge when possible, even if it’s just for a quickie before running out the door to work.
2. Squeeze in some sort of physical contact
Let’s face it, in a world where often overly-committed schedules rule the roost, a relationship can leave much to be desired. But you’d be surprised at how far a little affection, even the simplest of touches, can really go. “Long-term couples need physical contact,” Van Kirk said. “If you can’t have sex then focus on a little PDA or foot massages. It releases the bonding hormone oxytocin and will help to keep you together for the long haul.”
3. Re-evaluate your expectations
While it’s nice to expect an all-out, mind-blowing orgasm every time, we all know the reality of reaching the ultimate O for both partners is not always the case. If you check your exceedingly high hopes at the door before getting busy in the sheets, maybe you’ll be surprised … or at least not disappointed the next time your expectations fall short. Van Kirk says, “Don’t be orgasm driven. Orgasms can be the cherry on top, but really the purpose of sex is to connect you to your partner.”
4. Sex as a tool is OK, in certain cases
While it’s not advisable to use sex as a coping mechanism for things such as seeking personal approval, boosting self-confidence, or dealing with any underlying, deep-seeded issues that should be otherwise addressed, it is OK to use sex in an appropriate manner that’s beneficial to both you and your partner. “It’s okay to use sex as a tool to de-stress, connect to your partner or support your overall health,” Van Kirk said. Knocking boots can certainly help you get through some pretty rough times in life, releasing a bevy of endorphins and helping to reconnect with your partner when times might be tough.
Now, what about those folks who experience a lack of sex drive? No one wants to be left out on what’s considered by many to be one of the most romantic days of the year. As mentioned by fitness expert and nutritionist Brad Davidson, author of The Stark Naked 21-Day Metabolic Reset, there are many factors that can contribute to a person’s lack of sexual desire, including stress, lack of rest, and a poor diet. At the age of 33, his doctor told Davidson he was actually going through male menopause, and according to Davidson and his own research on the matter, these five tips could help heat things up both in and out of the bedroom.
- Keep refined sugar to a minimum
- Maximize protein and vegetable intake
- Don’t over-exercise and keep high intensity workouts to a minimum
- Commit to daily acts of relaxation
- Sleep seven to nine hours each night
While no two relationships look exactly the same, intimacy is a vital part of most, so it’s important to be on the same page as your partner. If you think something is lacking, talk to your partner and see what can be done to improve things, or see a professional if some added help is needed.