Affection is one of three key components to having an intimate, exciting, and fulfilling sex life that lasts. While most people think of affection as something that builds over time, that isn’t always the case. Some people just click. Their physical and emotional connections, however long they last, runs deep.
For others, time is the enemy. The longer they’re together, the more intrigue and mystery wanes. They settle into a comfortable routine that’s deep and easy but lacks any oomph. There’s nothing wrong with this, but often couples want more—more passion, fireworks, and fun!
Furthermore, affection isn’t just a connection between two people. It’s also about one’s relationship with themselves. On the personal level, this looks like feeling comfortable and confident, trusting yourself and your body, and knowing your self-worth. Being connected with oneself in this way and experiencing self-love helps people heal, navigate stress, and be more present, vulnerable, and intimate with others.
If an instant connection isn’t there or the physical affection has diminished over time, there are so many ways to (re)establish it. Whether you want to feel vibrant and turned on for a first date or a 50th wedding anniversary, here are 14 easy ways to connect deeply with yourself and your lover(s) in five minutes or less. Commit to doing just one and see how your self-esteem, relationship, and sex life evolve.
Connect Deeply With Yourself Through Acts of Self Care
- Spend time naked every day. If this feels scary, start by sleeping naked. Work your way up by standing in front of a mirror, looking at your body and naming the parts you love.
- Notice your negative thoughts. When do they pop up? How can you push back against them? Often the key isn’t to go from negative to positive but from negative to neutral. For example, “I hate my body” doesn’t need to become “I’m a sexy MF” but rather, “I have this body.” Baby steps!
- Dance. It. Out.
- Create an end of the work, parenting, etc., day ritual to help you transition from DOING to BEING. Movement, meditation, breathwork, essential oils, and journaling are all great ideas to help you reset.
- Practice self-soothing in moments of anxiety, panic, self-doubt, fear, etc. This can look like taking deep breaths (count to five on the inhale and five on the exhale to activate your vagus nerve and put the brakes on the freakout), hugging yourself tightly, or stroking your arms from shoulder to hands.
- Massage your scalp, neck, and shoulders daily.
- Honor your yes and your no. Pause before responding to invitations and requests—in the bedroom, at work, and throughout every part of your life.
Connect Deeply with Your Lover by Prioritizing Acts of Intimacy
- Spend four minutes each day and/or before sex staring into each other’s eyes.
- Mark partings and reunions with affectionate gestures. Instead of a barely acknowledged “bye” or “hi,” hug it out, have a mini-makeout session, make eye contact and wish them a good day, or tell them how happy you are to see them. Make it count.
- Increase physical intimacy by making sure to always touch when you’re together on the couch or in bed.
- Hold hands during challenging conversations and arguments.
- Before sex sit facing each other. Hold hands and take turns sharing what you love and find sexy about each other.
- Google “weird thing to do in [your hometown]” and go do it. Leave the phones at home—literally, write down directions—and immerse yourself in the quirky tourist attraction near you.
- Give each other a sensual massage.
All Intimacy Requires is Dedication to its Practice
More often than not, achieving emotional intimacy happens when you navigate your relationships with yourself and your partner(s) with more intention and presence. These small changes can include appreciation of your body by buying organic, telling your partner “thank you,” or seeking efforts to increase your emotional connection with honest dialogue. Done regularly, these practices in self-care and partner intimacy give you a foundation for getting the spark back—or fanning the spark into a flame—no matter what life throws your way.