When considering ways to increase your sexual intimacy together, it is important to understand that sexual encounters don’t just begin with foreplay…it can begin hours or even DAYS earlier!
As you consider ways to connect with your partner, first take a moment to evaluate the ways you know she feels most loved and connected. Does she seem to melt into you when you sit next to her on the couch and let her warm her feet under your legs? Does he keep each note you’ve sent him since you first began dating? Does she relish in the big and little moments you get to spend together just the two of you? Does he seem to beam when you tell him how proud of him you are? Notice these things. Take a formal online test if you need to but work toward becoming more aware of the ways your partner experiences love and connection.
Dr Gary Chapman’s work on the 5 Love Languages include the following:
1. Physical Touch
2. Words of Affirmation
3. Acts of Service
5. Quality Time
EDITOR’S NOTE: The 5 Love Languages model is a couples therapist’s dream and nightmare. It includes great strategies to get to know your partner better, better understand your own needs, and create opportunities within your relationship to cultivate love and understanding. Some of the limitations in the model are the stereotypes it can tend to foster as well as the limited evidence-based longitudinal research outside of basic antidotal responses (which I have to say are oftentimes very supportive of the efficacy in this approach. That being said, find value in the process of getting to know yourself, your partner, and your relationship better - don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, and enjoy getting to know your partner’s 1-3 of foreplay!There are many different types of online tools to assess your own and your partner’s love language from the common five identified in Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages model.
P R A C T I C E
Once you notice which love languages your partner hears best, begin to incorporate these in big and little ways throughout your day. Identifying connecting points will make it so that the moment you two begin to segue into sexual intimacy, you have already laid the groundwork, and foreplay will become the middle rather than the beginning of your sexual encounters, having a more significant affect on your relationship as a whole and the duration of the immediate benefit will last much longer than the brevity of a simple in-and-out event.