When you think about having sex, would you say "intimacy" is the first thing that comes to your mind? Do you think of sex as a place to feel truly seen, loved, and free to fully express yourself? If you're finding yourself answering "no" to any or most of these questions, you're not alone. There's often a huge gap between what most people truly long for in sex and what they actually experience in their day-to-day lives. Below are a few ways to deepen your experience of intimacy in the bedroom. With these essential keys in mind, you can begin to focus on radically clarifying your desires when it comes to sexual connection and intimacy:
1. Recognize the importance of cultivating an intimate friendship with your partner.
Many people who want to feel deeply connected during sex tend to focus too much on technique—the details of sex itself. In reality, however, the quality of your relationship with your partner is far more important for feeling intense intimacy in the bedroom.
For some people, emotional connection, mutual trust, and a sense of safety within the relationship can basically be thought of as a prerequisite to the fulfillment of your sexual desires. Intimacy also requires acceptance, understanding, and, of course, physical attraction. Ultimately, it's that feeling of being at home with someone that we crave so much, and that makes the actual act of sex so pleasurable.
One of the most underrated ways to increase trust and ditch fear in your relationship (which hinders intimacy during sex) is to really work on developing a solid, always-evolving friendship with your partner. When your relationship is a safe space to share, be, and express without being judged, your ability to offer more and surrender without reservations in the bedroom greatly increases.
2. Connect deeply to your own body.
The everyday stressors of life—from work to cleaning our houses to making dinner to paying bills—keep most of us from maintaining consistent and thorough self-care routines. A result of this is that most of us devote a minimal amount of time to exploring, embracing, and enjoying our own bodies. Unfortunately, these effects of stress trickle down into our sex lives. When we haven't developed a comfortable and intimate relationship with ourselves, it's nearly impossible to cultivate a comfortable and intimate sexual relationship with someone else.
When you create the space to feel, explore, and love your own body, you are better able to communicate what you want, what you crave, and what makes you feel fulfilled. (Here are a few ways to learn how to connect with your body.)
3. Speak up!
One of the most common reasons that sex starts to feel routine and far less passionate is the lack of communication. This is essential to keep in mind for intimacy in the bedroom but also outside of the bedroom. Ask yourself, Am I expressing my authentic truth in my relationship? Or are you hiding from yourself, and your partner, in order to keep the peace?
It might seem like overreacting if you want to voice how pissed you felt when your partner looked at your friend with flirty eyes. It may seem unnecessary to express how disappointed you were when your partner didn't really acknowledge your effort in planning the perfect date. But think about it this way: When you suppress your pain in one moment, it doesn't go away; it will simply come up again, in another form.
One of the ways this happens is through suppressed intimacy—emotionally, sexually, and beyond. The more you can practice shortening the time it takes between feeling hurt and letting the other person know, the lower your chances of developing resentment. Less resentment and other negativity in the relationship means a greater willingness to give and receive in other ways, especially when it comes to sex. So speak up!
4. Embrace the light, the dark, and the gradations in between.
Many couples fall into the trap of monotonous sex in long-term relationships. Unsurprisingly, this monotony often coexists with a sense of safety—and feeling safe with your partner is a good thing. Yet widening the range of expressiveness can be a doorway to the deepest spiritual connection between two humans, and that often involves stepping a bit outside the safety zone (in a variety of ways).
Maybe expressing your fears about something in your relationship strikes you as "bad," something to avoid. Well, stepping outside the safety zone and embracing your "dark" parts may be exactly what you and the relationship need in order to feel greater intimacy. In the bedroom this might take the form of trying a different technique, approach, or activity or simply expressing a deeper degree of hunger, sensuality, vulnerability, and openness in your desires.
If you allow yourself to explore your fantasies without shame and surrender more fully into your deepest desires, you can proactively add a depth of experience unlike anything you've ever felt.
5. Surrender to the outcome.
So much of the disconnection that arises during intimacy can be traced to a pressure to perform or achieve something. Whether that is having an orgasm, trying to look a certain way, or being perceived as a gifted lover, it distracts from the sacredness and beauty of the present moment.
What if the entire outcome was to experience your partner—in the moment—and offer something deeply yours to them? If you didn't feel pressured to reach a milestone during intimacy, how much deeper could you let go, enjoy, and surrender to your partner?
When we can use sex as an expression of love, service, and presence, we open the doorway to experiencing sex as a spiritual experience too.
Most human beings will use intimacy as a way to experience release or feel pleasure; few will have the courage to really get into someone's heart. But those who have the courage to do so will have a fulfilling depth in life unlike anything they might have imagined.
Bernardo Mendez is a writer and relationship coach from Austin, Texas. He has a degree in communication and business from St. Edward's University, and his work has been featured on NBC, CNN, Huff Post, Redbook, Yahoo, and others. With over 1 million views, his Youtube channel reaches over 80,000 individuals each month.