How important is intimacy for a quality, satisfying relationship? Most people would say very. Even science confirms so.
According to a 2017 study, having intimacy with a partner often enough is important for personal wellbeing. In addition, enough intimacy is a predictor of more affection and attention to each other.
Obviously, there are asexual couples and people who have a low libido. These individuals can be in happy, fulfilling relationships that involve very little intimacy or none at all. In most cases, however, enough intimacy and affection will be needed.
Having enough intimacy isn’t just about the physical release. It serves as a bonding experience that can have a positive effect on relationship dynamics in more than one way.
There’s actually a scientific explanation of how intimacy helps people in a relationship work. A couple of components work together on a neurological and psychological level.
First of all, intimacy contributes to the production of oxytocin. This hormone has been recognized for strengthening trust, feelings of love and sexual desire. It’s interesting to point out that while oxytocin increases the bond with a partner, it also reduces the likelihood of establishing a similar connection with somebody else.
In addition, experiencing sexual desire and being in love will trigger activity in the same parts of the brain. The thalamus, anterior cingulate cortex and hippocampus will be activated whenever people are in love and they also feel sexual desire.
These common neural pathways suggest that love can grow out of passionate thoughts and vice versa. They strengthen each other, contributing to hormonal activity and making the bond between two partners even more difficult to break.
Now, that scientific explanation is way too sterile and impartial to explain exactly what’s going on. Let’s check out a few more commonplace explanations of how intimacy forges a stronger bond between two people who are in love.
Intimacy gets people communicating. Communication leads to the accumulation of knowledge about a significant other, which in turn can result in stronger feelings of love and attachment.
While it may seem like intimacy happens naturally (thank you, Hollywood movies), it actually necessitates some work.
Many people who are not on the exact same sexual wavelength can enjoy amazing intimacy by talking about it.
Good communication brings on more pleasure. Talking about what one likes and dislikes can also be applied to other aspects of the relationship. It’s essential to discuss things and find common grounds in just about every aspect of togetherness.
Things get even more intimate when the communication focuses on innermost desires and fantasies. It takes trust and patience to talk about things like the use of more unusual adult toys like ejaculating strap ons, for example. When people feel comfortable introducing adult toys, chances are that they have a good foundation and a bond that can potentially continue growing stronger.
In light of the afterglow, small issues and mundane annoyances become less important. Individuals who enjoy great passion in their relationship are less likely to sweat the small stuff and let it build up in magnitude.
This effect continues working even when people have been in a relationship for years. The trick here would be to continue seeking ways to diversify intimacy and keep it exciting. Long-term partnerships can continue being highly passionate if both people involved are willing to put in the effort. And if this happens, coexistence becomes much more harmonious and less stressful.
An interesting study on the topic was published in the Journals of Gerontology in 2014. Researchers worked with 732 marriages involving individuals aged 57 to 85. Obviously, these individuals have been married for quite some time and they’re over the honeymoon phase. The researchers found out that study participants who had the most sex were happier and enjoyed much more positive marriages than their peers.
So here’s the conclusion – good sex has no age. It can be as fun and exciting at 60 as it has been at 30. What matters the most is investing time, attention and desire into spicing things up and keeping a partner happy.
Better Self-Image and Self-Perception
The effect of intimacy on the individual also plays a role in establishing relationship happiness.
Having more sex and being with a partner who finds you beautiful, arousing and exciting impacts your sexual self-esteem and your confidence in general.
People who feel confident, desired and loved are happier than people who are dealing with self-esteem issues.
In a sense, intimacy and passion act as forms of affirmation. And while it may seem that feeling sexy is a mundane thing in the grand scheme of things, it’s actually quite important.
Confidence improves communication, the desire to bond with others and experience meaningful relationships. It doesn’t just impact one’s romantic connections, it has an impact on every kind of social interaction.
Needless to say, nobody should look at another human being and wait for validation from them. Confidence needs to come from the inside and it should be the result of a self-discovery journey. Still, feeling loved and desired can have a nice uplifting effect that strengthens the confidence building work even further.
Having intimacy and feeling attracted to someone can serve as a reminder about how you fell in love and what does early experiences brought to both of you.
Intimacy creates some special time for the couple.
Many people lose the sense of love and togetherness because of their job, everyday responsibilities and financial worries. Taking care of the kids, being responsible adults and navigating all of life’s challenges can take a toll on a relationship.
Fortunately, intimacy brings the important things in focus. During those special moments, the everyday worries and hindrances are forgotten. The commitment and bond get re-established, which is obviously an essential for long-lived romance.
Intimacy doesn’t just feel good, it’s also the glue that brings many people closer. It’s an integral part of the human experience and while the routine can put intimacy on the back burner, trying to focus on it is always a good idea.
If you feel like you’re currently stuck in a sexual rut, try making a bit more time for intimacy (the decision has to be conscious). Once you start rediscovering the passion you had for your partner, you’ll gradually bring all of the important benefits into the relationship.