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9 Questions to Ask Your Partner About Sex and Intimacy

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Deepen your connection with your partner with these questions about deepening intimacy.

We all want to keep our partnerships passionate. It’s important not to let sex become the last item on a long to-do list, the last obligation you turn to when you’re both exhausted. Still, there are ways to create (and destroy) your connection that take place outside the bedroom.

One of the most concrete ways to ensure you have a great sex life is by talking to each other about sex. This date is about discussing your sex life and creating your own rituals of connection.

Research shows that couples who can talk openly about sex have more of it, and women in such relationships have more orgasms. Talking about sex is a win-win for couples.

Still, even with the knowledge that these conversations create more (and more satisfying) physical intimacy, they can still be difficult. Talking about sex is awkward for the majority of couples, though it gets easier and more comfortable over time and the more you do it. This date is set up to get you started on that path.

Preparation: Reflect on what you want sex and passion to look like in your relationship. What rituals for connection might you create? If talking about sex is difficult for you, be prepared to say so and explore why it’s difficult. There’s no right or wrong way to talk about sex. It starts with being brave enough to say whatever is on your mind.

Location: For this date, plan a candlelit dinner somewhere. This could be at home or in a hidden corner of a public garden. The theme is sex, romance, and intimacy, so if you can, choose a place that’s especially romantic for the two of you. You might do something physical before the date to get you into your body, such as an online dance or yoga class, or a session of stretching together.

Open-ended questions to ask your partner:

  1. Think about all the times we’ve had sex. What are some of your favorites? What made those times special?
  2. What turns you on?
  3. How can I enhance our passion?
  4. What’s your favorite way for me to let you know I want to have sex?
  5. Where and how do you like to be touched?
  6. What’s your favorite time to make love and why? What’s your favorite position?
  7. What is something you’ve always wanted to try?
  8. How often would you like to have sex?
  9. What can I do to make our sex life better?

This article originally appeared in “5 Essential Conversations for Any Couple” in the December 2020 issue of Experience Life.


John Gottman, PhD, and Julie Schwartz Gottman, PhD
are cofounders of the Gottman Institute in Seattle, where they conduct research and clinical training for marriage therapists. This article is adapted from Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Workman Publishing, 2019, coauthored with Doug Abrams and Rachel Carson Abrams, MD.

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Health & Fitness

STRONG BODY, STRONG MIND: Let’s Go Streaking

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I completed my 96th consecutive day of running today. In the past three months, I’ve logged about 185 miles.

This may or may not sound impressive to you. But for me, the part of this story that is the most bewildering is that for 96 days straight — no matter the weather (it’s been a hot and steamy summer; it’s August as I write) and no matter my mood (overwhelmingly anxious) — I have run at least one mile every day.

As someone who doesn’t identify as a “runner,” this is just wild.

The idea came to me last May. I’d spent the previous two months going on long daily walks, which was one way I coped with the early days of the pandemic. Turning one mile out of my four-mile loop into a run seemed like a good way to pick up the pace while increasing the difficulty.

This commitment lasted a couple of weeks, until a stormy day gave me an excuse to skip running and walking altogether. After 16 days of running, I patted myself on the back, lay back on the couch, and opened Instagram.

That’s when I saw one of a series of articles by my friend (and Experience Life contributor) Elizabeth Millard about the Runner’s World Run Streak, for which she profiled people who ran daily for weeks, months, even years! I was blown away. It turned out my little running experiment was nothing novel — and it even had a name.

A “run streak,” I discovered, refers to the number of consecutive days you go for a run. According to the United States Running Streak Association, all it takes is one mile per calendar day. As I dug deeper, I was inspired by seasoned streakers, including one woman who was working toward a 1,000-day streak.

On May 18, after my single day off, I recommenced with Day 1.

In doing so, I didn’t have a plan. I still just wanted to aim for a mile a day, at whatever pace felt right. I didn’t have an end date in mind: I figured my body would let me know when it was done. I promised myself that I’d listen.

Through the rest of May, June, and July, I ran my mile. At the beginning of August, on a whim, I signed up for the Twin Cities in Motion’s Looniacs Challenge to run 100 miles that month.

Now I was upping the ante by committing to increasing my daily distance from one mile to about three. It seemed like a big jump, but I was tempted — and still committed to listening to my body and stopping when it said enough.

Recovery — through proper nutrition, sleep, stress management, mobility work, and true rest — is always critical, no matter my activity. But over the years I’ve learned that recovering from runs is more challenging for me than recovering from other workouts. Although my mind loves running, my body isn’t always a fan.

So I doubled down on my recovery routine and focused on varying my running routes, distances, and intensity as much as I could.

I continued to cross-train, strength-training three times a week and doing brief yoga sessions almost daily. I’m convinced that my long history of strength, conditioning, and mobility work has supported me in my run-streak experience.

As occasional discomfort cropped up, I paid attention and took action. I invested in new running shoes and professional bodywork that I could maintain on my own. I listened to my body, yes, but I heeded my mind, too. My mind wanted to run. It wanted to know how far and how long I could go.

To date, the answer is 96 days and 185 miles. A part of me hopes that when you read this, I’ll still be streaking and feeling amazing. Perhaps I’ll be running my miles through snowdrifts, perhaps on a treadmill. Or perhaps my mind and body will have agreed to stop well before the season turned.

Either way, I’m grateful for the consistency that streaking has given me these last few months.

Each day, I’m guaranteed a workout, even if it’s just a 12-minute jog around my neighborhood. Each day, I find success by completing something hard, no matter how small or insignificant a mile might seem in the grand scheme.

And each day has been a reminder that small, hard things done consistently can amount to something huge — something that once might have been impossible.

This originally appeared as “Let’s Go Streaking” in the January/February 2021 print issue of Experience Life.

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