Tips for fostering more intimacy and passion in gay relationships
This is the second installment in a 2-part article series on creating more intimacy and passion in your relationship. In Part 1, you learned about the developmental stages that gay couples go through in their relationships and how declining passion is a normal phenomenon and indication that your partnership is growing and maturing. You also had the opportunity to complete a self-assessment to uncover any blocks that could stand in the way of your having more passion in your relationship. Part 2 will now offer some practical tips and suggestions for enhancing intimacy in your relationship to bring more life and spice to what you and your partner already share.
An important first-step in bringing more novelty and excitement into your relationship is to lay the foundation for intimacy. Gay men can often confuse sex with intimacy. While sex certainly is important and has its place in fostering connection with your partner, there is much more that goes into cementing a sense of closeness with each other. Sex is just part of the recipe for intimacy; there are deeper, core ingredients that must be present for a relationship to be maintained in the long-term. Intimacy is a process that develops over time. It's the ability to risk being vulnerable with your lover, to share yourself openly and to reciprocally meet each other's needs while respecting each other's differences. It's about making your relationship a private haven from the world for comfort and security, a place where you can be uninhibited and free to be yourself.
Here are some tips for promoting more intimacy in your relationship and creating a foundation from which all your interactions and inner-feelings can grow.
1. Create the Backdrop:Trust. Respect. Acceptance. Honesty. Friendship. These traits are crucial for relationship success; nothing else matters without these. The ability to feel passionate can only come from an atmosphere where the two partners feel a sense of safety with each other.
2. Communication Is Key: Learn how to talk to each other "the right way", fine-tune your listening skills, appreciate the differences between the two of you and become adept at validating each other. Become pros at the art of negotiation and conflict management.
3. Squash the Anger: Nothing contaminates a relationship faster than bitterness and resentment. Learn how to identify and express your needs and feelings directly and don't stuff anything. Create a tone in your relationship where you each can feel comfortable approaching each other and talk about your needs, wishes, opinions, dreams, and feelings.
4. Be Fully Present: Make your relationship a priority and recognize the fact that effort is required to keep it growing and satisfying. Look at your relationship with conscious intent and be attentive to it and each other. Never take each other for granted.
It cannot be emphasized enough that these characteristics are essential for allowing your partnership to progress in a positive direction. While the behavioral strategies for increasing passion to be discussed next can help to "keep the flame burning" between you and your lover, there is no substitute for the above-mentioned qualities. The passion-building tips will be superficial and meaningless unless you have the foundation set to incorporate them into your stable relationship.
The following is a list of possible ideas to "try on for size" in maximizing "the heat" in your relationship. Take these suggestions at face value and don't underestimate the fact that nothing is hotter than having a man in your life who loves you unconditionally for who you are and who is there for you physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Pick and choose the ones you like the best and make up your own. The only rule is to be creative and fun!
·Make a " Pleasings List". Each of you write down what you can imagine your partner doing that would be pleasing to you and then compare notes. Make it a practice to tackle the items on each other's lists.
·Be playful. Tickle and wrestle with your partner, crack jokes, make each other laugh. Counter the seriousness with silliness.
·Have a regular "Date Night". Avoid getting caught up in the hectic hustle-bustle of life at the expense and neglect of your boyfriend. Plan at least one night out a week for a date, just the two of you, where you have fun and don't discuss any serious issues. Really look deeply at your partner and recognize what attracts you to him. Mix it up with some adventure dates (eg. road trips, skiing, etc.).
·Surprise your partner. Do the unexpected. Take sexy photos of yourself and stick them in his work briefcase. Let him come home to find you naked on the kitchen table. Write him love notes, give him little gifts and cards, sing to him on his voicemail, anything! Keep him on his toes!
·Spice up your sex life with more novelty and creativity. Try new places to make love, try new positions, and share your fantasies. Let loose with ideas that you're both comfortable with.
·Show more demonstrations of nonsexual affection: hugging, kissing, touching, cuddling, massaging, and verbal declarations of adoration.
·Volunteer for a cause that you both care about and do it together.
·Balance individual vs. couple time. It's important that you each have your own lives separate from the relationship as well. Having your own interests helps bring more freshness and vitality into the relationship.
·Create rituals to celebrate special occasions and make them a regular tradition. These become relationship milestones that are unique to the two of you as a couple.
Reconnecting with the man you first fell in love with will go a long way toward enriching your relationship. Keep the courtship dance going in your partnership, no matter how long you've been together--it is possible! By taking responsibility for your part in the relationship and making sure that you feed it will improve the intimacy and passion in your relationship for the long-haul. It takes work, but by balancing novelty with predictability and incorporating more spontaneity and playfulness, your relationship will flourish. And remember that sex alone will not sustain a completely fulfilling long-term relationship; it can enhance it, but creating an intimate framework is what's most crucial. Sex alone is nice, but blend it with intimacy and it'll soar you to even greater heights of climax imaginable. Besides, sexual passion is a whole other article! Enjoy!
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach