How To Increase Physical Intimacy: Foreplay Is Everything

how to increase physical intimacy

How To Increase Physical Intimacy: Foreplay Is Everything
And Not Just In The Bedroom

Having great sex in a long-term relationship takes something totally different than what is needed for great sex during a short relationship or a one-night stand. During a one-night stand, you don’t even have to know your partner’s name to have a great time. In contrast, in a long-term relationship, it’s essential to make conscious and sustainable choices that deepen your emotional connection, because that is what leads to more physical intimacy. 

In a long-lasting relationship, enjoying a satisfying physical connection is rarely about new positions or unusual adventures. It is, however, dependent upon your willingness to increase your vulnerability and be fully honest. Any interaction can pave the way for connecting under the sheets (or how you treat one another will make it very unlikely). In other words, everything that isn’t sex functions as foreplay!

A Brief Disclaimer

As you read this, please know that I appreciate your willingness to look at your relationship and consider ways to improve it. Whatever your current situation, it’s not good or bad, or right or wrong. It is just how it has been, which is your starting place for improvement.

That’s true whether your sex is beautiful but way too infrequent, or it’s dissatisfying, and/or you can’t remember the last time you made love. Or perhaps you remember exactly when it was and are counting the days, weeks, and now months until it happens again. Either way, I invite you to let go of any self-criticism or judgment and any kind of comparison with other couples. Instead, as you read this post, notice your thoughts and proceed with openness, compassion, and curiosity.

Remember Why You Are Together

When couples are on a downswing in their relationship, they tend to focus on what isn’t working. You put your attention on your partner’s shortcomings and obsess about the ways you’ve been hurt. Of course, you may occasionally focus on good times too, but most people, when they feel dissatisfied, tend to focus on the negative parts of their relationship.

It makes sense. When you’re in a challenging phase, it’s natural to look at your partner and see them as the source of your misery and disappointment. Once things are better, you still may not focus on the improvement and instead put your attention on what bothers you and the ways you wish they would change.

If this sounds familiar, I invite you and your partner to think about what originally drew you together. Then share it with one another, and enjoy recounting what you found attractive in each other. I have assigned this to hundreds of couples, and, typically, you’ll find yourself hearing things, and sharing things, that have never been spoken aloud. 

Sharing in this way is immediately healing; it will open your hearts to hear such sentiments, to feel seen, admired, and appreciated. Moreover, it will help you reconnect to the mutual commitment you both have to your relationship and to one another’s well-being.

Cultivate Curiosity

Do you remember wanting to know everything about your partner when you first got together? Were you curious about all kinds of things? What’s their favorite food? Do they like to travel? Who is their secret celebrity crush? How did they get that scar? The list goes on… All these details are fresh and new, and the answers are fascinating.

But then, life gets in the way. You have responsibilities at work and at home, and you already know how your partner will respond when you ask a question. So you stop asking. Your attention shifts somewhere else, and your innate desire to learn about your partner falls away. You slip into a state of routine and familiarity. 

The safety and security that come with familiarity are wonderful. It’s comforting…but it comes at the expense of curiosity. You stop asking and assume you know enough about your partner. You no longer ask questions because you think you already have all the answers. And while you do have a lot of them, you can never know everything. 

People are constantly evolving, and many things are different today than they were one, five, and twenty years ago. Your partner is not the same person you married. So take the time to get to know them again.


7 Deep Questions You Can Ask Your Partner

  1. What is your earliest memory of being successful? 
  2. Which was your all-time favorite birthday celebration?
  3. What are you daydreaming about these days? 
  4. What is the most challenging part of your work?
  5. What was the most satisfying aspect of the past week?
  6. What music do you listen to as you commute to work? 
  7. Where do you see us in 5 years? 

Open-ended questions are one of the best ways to continue learning about your partner, and there is always something new to learn! After you ask relatively straightforward questions, start asking questions that may feel a bit scary.

Do you want to know if your partner uses porn? Do you want to ask about sexual fantasies? 

Don’t ask unless you are open to hearing the truth…and whether or not you like the answer, be sure to respond by thanking your partner for telling you. Don’t respond with judgment, or it will shut them down immediately, which will make it that much harder when you want to ask the next time.

Be Willing To Be Vulnerable

We could all stand to be a little more polite in how we interact with each other, especially when discussing politics and other contentious matters. However, too much politeness and adjusting for your partner’s comfort can prove damaging in intimate relationships. It disrupts your connection when you hold back from saying something that matters to you, and can contribute to forming an invisible wall between you. 

A wall built of all the important things that were left unsaid.

Early in my coaching career, I learned that the best way to improve a couple’s sex life was to help them improve their communication. Once the communication is good, the sensuality and erotic intimacy often follow. In my personal experience, approximately 8 out of 10 couples seamlessly translate emotional intimacy directly into sensual and sexual connection. (And for those that don’t, having strong communication and emotional intimacy, makes improving the physical intimacy much smoother.)

Do Things That Make You Giddy

In addition to remembering why you are together, cultivating curiosity in order to get to know your partner more, and sharing vulnerably about yourself, it’s essential to have more fun!

What are some of the activities you enjoy doing together? Is there anything you’d both like to learn–perhaps you can read a book together or take a class together?

It’s important to engage in activities that make you smile, engage your hearts, and create a context for unusual conversations and joy.

Not sure where to start? Begin by having a conversation and remembering what you’ve done together in the past that was enjoyable. Also, choose some things you’re each willing to try in order to find out if you like them. Then put some activities in your calendar!

Create A Safe Space For Communication

Communication is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and it plays a massive role in maintaining physical intimacy. It’s not just about expressing your needs and desires, but also listening to your partner and understanding their perspective. Creating a safe space for open and honest communication can help you both feel more comfortable discussing intimate topics. This requires patience, understanding, and respect. Avoid interrupting or criticizing your partner when they’re sharing their feelings. Instead, listen attentively and respond with empathy. Remember, it’s not about winning an argument; it’s about understanding each other better and finding a solution that works for both of you.

Explore Each Other’s Love Languages

Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” offers a valuable framework for understanding how different people express and receive love. The five languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.

Understanding your partner’s love language can significantly enhance your relationship. If your partner’s primary love language is Physical Touch, for example, they may feel most loved and appreciated through hugs, kisses, and other forms of physical contact. On the other hand, if their love language is Words of Affirmation, they might prefer compliments, words of appreciation, or verbal expressions of love. By discovering and speaking each other’s love languages, you can deepen your emotional connection and increase physical intimacy.

Keep The Romance Alive

Just because you’ve been together for a while doesn’t mean the romance has to fade. Small gestures like leaving love notes, planning surprise dates, or even cooking their favorite meal can keep the spark alive in your relationship. Remember, romance isn’t just about grand gestures. It’s also about showing appreciation and making your partner feel loved every day. These little acts of love can go a long way in keeping the passion alive and increasing physical intimacy.

Practice Mindfulness Together

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment, without judgment. Practicing mindfulness together can help you connect on a deeper level and enhance your physical intimacy.You can start by doing simple activities together, like meditation, yoga, or even just going for a walk. The goal is to be fully present, aware of your surroundings, and attentive to each other. This can help you both feel more connected and in tune with each other’s bodies, which can lead to more satisfying physical intimacy.

Wrap Up

When I work with clients struggling with physical intimacy, I find that the solution always begins somewhere other than the bedroom… When we focus on remembering why you are together, being curious, communicating with vulnerability and honesty, and doing fun things together, you’ll feel sexier and more attracted to one another. Ride that wave and see where it takes you.

I hope you try some of these ideas. See which ones you enjoy the most, and please send me a message and tell me how it goes. If you want to know more about how to build a deep and more intimate relationship, why not check out my book? 

Uncompromising Intimacy: Turn your unfulfilling marriage into a deeply satisfying, passionate partnership is now available on Amazon and Audible.

Discover what's really blocking emotional and sensual intimacy.

Read the first chapter of Uncompromising Intimacy


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About Dr. Alexandra

Alexandra Stockwell, MD, aka “The Intimacy Doctor,” is widely known for her ability to catalyze immediate and profound shifts in high achieving couples who want it all–genuine emotional connection, sensual passion, and erotic intimacy.

A physician coach and Intimate Marriage Expert, Alexandra is the best-selling author of “Uncompromising Intimacy,” host of The Intimate Marriage Podcast, as well as a wife of 28 years and a mother of 4. Couples who work with her discover the key to passion, fulfillment, intimacy, and success isn’t compromise–it’s being unwilling to compromise–because when both people feel free to be themselves, the relationship is juicy, erotically alive, and deeply nourishing.


Get the roadmap for the intimacy you desire by reading the first chapter of my book “Uncompromising Intimacy.”

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