Intimacy is the fiber that binds us to the people we love, and is built on time, investment, and honest communication. In a healthy long-term relationship, intimacy increases with time and many men and women are fortunate to have a lover who is also their best friend. Sex and romance are crucial for long-term intimacy. The stronger the sexual connection, the stronger the emotional intimacy will be. It is important to nurture and feed your relationship both emotionally and sexually.

The sex and intimacy cycle
Sex and intimacy are closely linked in our brains, but men and women respond differently to intimacy. Many men can't feel intimate with their partner unless their sex life is satisfying, but many women can't enjoy sex without intimacy. For men, sex feeds intimacy, and for women, intimacy feeds sex. These sexual differences can be disruptive to your relationship, so it is important to nourish your sex life with intimacy.

First love to familiarity
When you first met your lover, chances are you were overwhelmed with sensations of excitement, bliss, and smoldering desire. When you fall in love, your brain releases chemicals such as serotonin, adrenaline, and oxytocin. These chemicals create feelings of excitement and passion. As time goes by, and you become more comfortable together, your desire wanes and you stop having as much sex. This phase also tends to involve a loss of spark.

This happens because, over time, your brain becomes accustomed to these chemicals and requires more hormone to create the initial high. In other words, ongoing intense sexual excitement in a loving relationship goes against our biological instincts. This means you have to work at keeping the intimacy and attraction between you.

Obstacles to intimacy
When you or your partner are having a hard time—for example, at work—your poor mood will affect you both. Similarly, if your sex life is floundering, you will both feel the effects in all parts of your relationship. To keep intimacy in your relationship, you need to have a fulfilling sex life, and vice versa. Nourish your intimacy levels by making sure that you keep a physical connection alive—touching, kissing, and even talking will enhance your bond and intimacy.

The deepest and most fulfilling intimacy springs from the closeness of a long-term relationship and time spent keeping passion in your relationship. But if you have been with your partner for a long time, you may discover that you no longer have a high sex drive or get that little "zing" every time you kiss him or he touches you. There are many ways to reignite this spark and keep your sex life intimate and passionate. So get comfortable and keep reading.
Excerpt from Real Sex for Real Women by Laura Berman, PhD. Copyright © All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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