It’s a fact of life that sex doesn’t stay the same. Many people assume that it has to get worse with age, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Sexual satisfaction is a function of emotional connection, so if you’re looking to amp up your sex life, there is a good chance the answer will be found out of the bedroom. If you want to experience mind-blowing sex and an intimate connection with your spouse, here are five things you can do.
1. Empathize with your partner
If you see your partner as a vulnerable person who is responding to emotional needs, he or she will be warm to your eyes no matter what words or tone of voices he or she uses. If you can see that your partner only wants to connect with you, then you create an even foundation for an emotional connection.
2. Express your feelings and needs, then request what you need
If you don’t take the time to examine the feelings behind your reactions, you can’t possibly know what your needs are. And if you don’t know what your needs are, you will never get what you want. So connect with your emotions and identify the needs that created them.
Once you know how you feel and what you need, you can guide your partner closer to you through vulnerability. When we don’t know our feelings and needs, we become scared, and that is when we attack. When that happens, we create cycles that diminish connection and interrupt our sex lives.
So express yourself in ways that draw attention to your feelings and needs without criticizing or attacking your partner. Invite connection through your emotions.
Try saying, “I feel [blank] when this happens because I need [blank] with you. Can you talk about how you are feeling?”
3. Practice forgiveness
Becoming acquainted with your feelings and needs will give you the opportunity to see how your partner has hurt you and how you have hurt your partner. Because our primary need in a relationship is to be connected, the biggest wounds we harbor are those that make us feel abandoned, cut-off, and unimportant to our partners.
Being able to empathize with those wounds and understand the feelings and needs behind them will help you heal old wounds and create a new level of vulnerability and intimacy with your partner.
When your partner opens up, let he or she know you understand the way your actions made your partner feel; empathize. Once people know you are connected to their needs, forgiveness happens. When you forgive each other, you build a new level of trust and security that invites intimacy.
4. Practice non-sexual touching
Physical connection (touching) is another primary need in relationships. Touching is another way to show that we are cared for, and it opens the door for emotional connection. Think of the last hug where you felt truly connected with another person. You can’t beat that feeling because the unspoken message is this: “I’m here for you and I care.”
If you’ve noticed a decline in sexual satisfaction, practice being present with your partner using hugs, handholding, foot rubs, deep eye-contact, massages, and other affectionate touches throughout the day. Get playful, wrestle, play grab-ass, and be spontaneous with your touch.
Practice “push hands” together. Push hands is part of the internal martial arts known as Tai Chi, where sensitivity and receptivity is built. In push hands you focus on channeling energy to and from your partner in perfect harmony, and it can be highly erotic if you want it to be.
5. Take a break from sex
Dr. Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, recommends a two- to three-week sexual fast for couples who want to increase intimacy and connection. If sexual pressure is a cause of decreased connection, then making a mutual agreement to abstain from sex will release the pressure and invite connection.
If you choose a similar strategy, focus on spending time together and getting to know more about the ways you each like to be touched. You’ll be surprised at what you learn, and when you resume having sex, you’ll have heightened sensitivity to your partner’s physical and emotional needs.
Bonus tip: Take a break from porn
Since sexual satisfaction and emotional connection are often intrinsic, it’s important to practice emotional connection in all walks of life.
Pornography conditions men to view partners as separate from emotions, feelings and inner truth (and vise-versa), and this study details the correlation between porn consumption and violence intervention. Porn use has been linked to erectile dysfunction, and has also proven to alter a man’s perception in ways that make his partner seem less attractive.
Women need to feel cherished to open up emotionally and share the gift of intimacy with their partners. Of all the couples and spouses I’ve personally spoken with, every one of them felt hurt or betrayed by a husband’s porn usage.
If you want to experience a more profound emotional connection and more erotic sexual life with your partner, quit porn. When you feel the urge to watch it, try writing love letters to your spouse (or future spouse). Talk about the importance of this person’s connection with you and what you’re doing to relate better to him or her.
Pick up a book. Scientific studies have proven that reading literary fiction increases empathy. Relating to your partner on a deep emotional level will help you relate to your partner sexually. Watching porn works against that goal and inhibits your ability to empathize and establish deep emotional connection.
If you practice emotional bonding with your partner, you will improve every aspect of your relationship to include sexual connection. Practicing attentiveness to your partner’s emotional needs will increase the sensitivity and vulnerability that can contribute to a smoking hot sex life.