Intimacy is a loaded word that has three different definitions — close familiarity or friendship, a private cozy atmosphere, and an intimate act. All three are pretty important for a relationship, right? Unfortunately, intimacy is not always so easy to come by, no matter how in love you are with your partner. But creating intimacy doesn't have to be full of exercises and a lot of work. Instead, there are questions you can ask your partner to make your love life better. (And they aren't scary either.)
Intimacy is the foundation of any relationship, as it includes both physical and emotional connections. Think about all of the necessary qualities you need to make it work with your partner. Trust, communication, physical desire — all of these traits fall under intimacy. And when your relationship is suffering, for whatever reason, that emotional and physical connection is affected. To make sex better, communication better, and your love life in general as good as it can possibly be, you have to start asking questions. A 1997 study conducted by Arthur Aron actually compiled 36 questions that could create intimacy between two complete strangers when asked. But because nobody's got time for 36 questions and because your partner isn't a stranger, I've got nine different questions you should ask your SO. They will start an intimate conversation about fears, satisfactions, desires, and love to bring the two of you closer together. (And not require a notepad to write down all of the answers.)
1. What Are You Most Insecure About?
Whether it's a physical insecurity or a psychological one, this is such an important question to ask your partner, and it benefits your own well-being as well. A 2008 study found that when people revealed their own insecurities in a relationship, they found themselves feeling more insecure afterwards. Thoughts that their partner now saw them as an insecure person, made even the most confident people, with just a few shared complaints, feel inadequate. That's why asking your partner gives them the opportunity to talk about their insecurities without fear of judgment. And for you, it can shed some light on your own insecurities. Hearing that your partner is insecure about their laugh or their body, things you love about them, you may realize that the insecurities you have are also loved by your partner.
2. What Is Your Love Language?
No matter how much love and affection you bestow on your partner, it's all for naught if you're not speaking your partner's love language. Maybe they love when you give them gifts, but their real attraction lies in you offering words of appreciation or quality time with them. Finding out what makes them tick will make it that much easier for you to feel intimate and connected with them.
3. What Do You Love Most About Our Sex Life?
A 2014 study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy found that sexual satisfaction predicted emotional intimacy in married couples, but emotional intimacy did not necessarily mean sexual satisfaction. No matter how connected you feel, if you or your partner are not satisfied during sex, it could affect your emotional intimacy.
4. Do You Feel Connected To Me When We Aren't Together?
Intimacy and a healthy sex life extend beyond a physical connection and shouldn't happen only when you're together. If your partner isn't feeling as connected to you as they should when you're apart, it may leave the two of you feeling like strangers until you're standing next to each other.
5. Do You Think We Have Enough Sex?
Often, sex can feel like something you have to do for your relationship to keep it afloat. You may realize that you're exhausted, but the two of you haven't slept together in two weeks, and you rally yourself to do the deed. That's why it's so important to talk to your partner and see how they feel about the subject. You two can hash out the importance of sex in your lives and make sure the times you are doing it, you're doing it out of genuine love and desire.
6. What's Your Favorite Way To Be Intimate With Me?
It sounds like a spin off of the love languages question, and it is a bit. Your partner may have very different ideas than you do about intimacy and togetherness. When you're on the same page, like learning that you both love reading in bed together, you can make those moments a more frequent part of your time together.
7. What Do I Contribute To Your Life?
Do you bring joy to your partner's life? Strength? Inspiration? This is a loaded question and it's lovely to hear just what you're bringing to your partner's life. It's also a delicate and easy way to start a conversation about bad behaviors or ways you may not realize you're hurting your partner.
8. Do You Have Any Intimacy Fears?
Whether it involves sex, commitment, or being open about their feelings, your partner may not be incredibly comfortable with intimacy. It's easy to assume that those in a dedicated, committed relationship know how to handle intimacy, but it's not always that easy.
9. Do You Trust Me?
Big question here, and it can be totally complex, but it's important. Trust in the bedroom, trust with emotions, trust in your life together -- all of it is included. And trust can be broken down into so many things. Your partner may trust that you're always faithful in your relationship, but they have reservations about sharing their heart with you without judgment.