Five new activities you can do to connect with your partner by Sexologist Niki Davis Fainbloom
Developing sexual patterns with your partner is easy. This makes sense because you figure out what both partners enjoy and stick with that. However, exploring new ways of connecting helps to maintain a deep and enduring erotic connection. These five activities are designed to bring you closer to your partner. They offer a blend of fun, intimacy, and exploration, ensuring that you connect on a deeper level and enjoy discovering each other anew. Let's dive in.
I’m just going to say it - eye gazing can be HOT. Or, to put it more eloquently, it can foster trust, intimacy, and attraction through the magical language of the eyes. This is rooted in the release of bonding and attraction hormones. A phenomenon observed in a Clark University study where even strangers felt increased mutual affection after prolonged eye contact - and a couple of strangers famously fell in love after engaging in eye gazing during an experiment.
The impact of eye-gazing extends beyond strangers, as another study showed that just two minutes of eye-gazing notably boosted attraction and passion among partners. Interestingly, couples deeply in love are found to maintain eye contact 75% of the time during conversations, much higher than the average 30-60%. Let’s give it a go.
Eye Gazing Activity
- Set the Scene: Sit facing each other, creating a cozy, intimate space.
- Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths independently to relax and center yourselves.
- Gradually open your eyes and take a moment to observe your partner’s breathing pattern.
- Synchronize Your Breath: Slowly adjust your breathing to sync up with your partner’s, creating a harmonious rhythm together.
- Shift Focus to Eyes: While maintaining your seated positions, smoothly transition your focus from breathing to eye contact.
- Gaze and Connect: Gently gaze into each other’s eyes for the duration of one song – let the music set the tempo of this intimate moment (I recommend something slow and instrumental, although metal or hip hop could take eye gazing to a whole other level)
- Embrace All Responses: Remember, any and all reactions are perfectly okay. You might giggle, you might cry, you might get turned on.
- Debrief: Discuss how that felt for you.
To amp it up, explore eye gazing and synchronizing breathing during sex or orgasm. Trust me, you might accidentally become one for a second.
Fantasies are a near-universal aspect of human sexuality, with an overwhelming 97-98% of people reporting that they experience them. However, fantasies are not often a topic of conversation in relationships, despite their prevalence, about two-thirds of folks have not disclosed their sexual fantasies to their partners. This reticence is often rooted in the fear of how their partner might react OR simply not being in a situation where these conversations happen. Welcome to activity Two.
Fantasy Discussion Activity
- Partners agree to listen openly and non-judgmentally to their partner's desires.
- One partner starts by openly talking about their sexual desires and fantasies for two minutes, while the other partner actively listens. Remember, fantasies can range from wanting to make out more during sex to specific kinks, fetishes, or dynamics.
- Switch and have the other partner share their fantasies.
- Take a couple of minutes to debrief. This doesn’t have to be the time to discuss your willingness to explore fantasies with your partner, just an initial foray into the world of fantasies to get the conversation going.
Remember, this should be the first of many conversations. To take conversations around fantasies to the next level, partners can fill out a Yes, No, Maybe List, go on a date night where they discuss their sexual bucket list or follow up on some of the fantasies discussed during the activity.
Erogenous Zones Exploration
Erogenous zones, often referred to as the body's pleasure points, are distinct regions that hold the key to heightened sexual arousal and pleasure. These areas are characterized by a heightened sensitivity to touch, often hosting a dense network of nerve endings. Any area of the body that an individual finds pleasurable to touch can be considered an erogenous zone - although, in relationships, we often stick with only a few of the most well-known erogenous zones. A comprehensive 2016 study involving 704 participants revealed that according to individual preferences, the entire body could be classified as an erogenous zone. It seems worthy of exploration!
Erogenous Zone Exploration Activity
- Determine who will receive touch in this exercise.
- Set Boundaries: Before beginning, ask your partner if there are any areas or types of touch they are uncomfortable with. Respect these boundaries throughout the exercise.
- Spend three minutes (or five or fifty-five minutes) having one partner explore the other's erogenous zones.
- Reflect: After completing the activity, discuss the experience. What did each partner enjoy? Was it hard for the person giving the touch to know what their partner enjoyed? What could be improved for next time?
- If you would like, you can switch and have the other partner be the receiver.
- Start with light, feather-like touches to build anticipation. Use fingers for gentle stroking, massaging, or tickling. Knuckles can also provide a unique sensation.
- Vary Pressure: Experiment with different pressures to discover what your partner enjoys most, from gentle caresses to firmer massages.
- Combine Pleasures: Concurrently explore different erogenous zones for a heightened experience.
- Energy Play: Experiment with hovering your hands close to your partner’s sensitive spots without touching them, playing with the energy and anticipation.
- Incorporate Tools: Feel free to use sex toys or other tools to stimulate the area. This can include tickling with a feather or using vibrators or other toys for different sensations.
Capitalism thrives on us not feeling top-notch about our bodies. Why? Because when we don’t know how dope we are, industries like fashion and beauty cash in on our insecurities. It is a revolutionary act for us to feel comfortable and sexy in our skin. This is mostly a personal journey, but your partner can also have a role in helping you feel more confident. A simple, well-timed compliment from a loved one can be incredibly empowering.
- Prepare a timer for two minutes for each partner.
- When it's your turn, begin by complimenting your partner's personality traits. Choose aspects that you genuinely value and appreciate in them.
- Next, shift your focus to their physical attributes. Be specific about what you find attractive and appealing in them.
- Each partner should have their time to speak without interruption. Listen attentively while your partner is speaking.
- Reciprocal Appreciation: After both partners have shared, take a moment to acknowledge and thank each other for the kind words and insights shared.
Allow this activity to serve as the starting point for a practice where you openly share compliments with your partner when you have positive thoughts about them and how cute they are.
Understanding your desires and effectively communicating them to your partner can be HARD. Contrary to what is often shown in the media, where partners are expected to instinctively know each other's desires, real-life sexual encounters rely heavily on verbal and non-verbal communication. We rarely see realistic examples of this kind of open communication, leading to a common misconception that a perfect connection naturally equates to a perfect understanding of each other's sexual preferences. However, the truth is building a fulfilling sexual relationship often involves a journey of learning and expressing one's needs and preferences and a practice of working on being vocal and clear about what feels good and what doesn't. Let’s practice :)
- Decide which partner will give directions and who will follow them.
- Decide on a non-genital body part like the back or the neck.
- The directing partner chooses this starting point on their body and directs their partner exactly how they want to be touched for three minutes.
Intensity: The directing partner should specify their preferred touch intensity. Do they want a soft or hard touch?
Location Precision: Guide the touching partner to the exact spot. Is the current touch spot perfect, or would it be better slightly to the left or right?
Touch Type: Decide on the type of touch. Should the touching partner use knuckles, fingertips, or even their mouth?
- Then, switch roles, but no body parts are off-limits this time. Allow the director to tell their partner exactly where and how they want to be touched for a predetermined time.
- Reflect: After completing the activity, discuss the experience. What did each partner enjoy? What could be improved for next time? Was it difficult to check in with your body and tell your partner what feels good? Did you learn anything about your desires?
Allow this activity to help you to develop the skills to communicate more effectively during sex. Next time a type of stimulation could feel better, work on telling your partner. Sexual communication is a skill like any other, with practice, it will become easier.
In conclusion, these five activities – Eye Gazing, Fantasy Exploration, Erogenous Zones Exploration, Compliments, and Direction Giving – can serve as an initial foray into a deeper realm of sexual exploration with your partner. Think of them as just dipping your toes into an exploration that can go much deeper. For example, if you enjoy eye gazing, you may want to learn more about tantra and other somatic practices. If you enjoy complimenting your partner and want to eroticize it, take a dirty talk class to learn more about how compliments can be used during sex. If you enjoyed the erogenous zones exploration, perhaps consider finding a sex toy to enhance the pleasure that you can experience in your whole body (can penises vibrate? I didn’t think so!) or learn more about giving an erotic massage. If you are interested in having curated erotic nights of play with your partner but want expert sex educators like myself to create scenes and sexy items for you, consider joining Arya. Happy Exploring
Want to watch this live? You can rewatch this live workshop here.
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|ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Niki Davis Fainbloom is one of NYC's most adept sexuality and relationship experts. Using science backed research and techniques, Niki helps folks boost their sexual confidence and increase thier pleasure.
Well regarded and often features in popular publications and well respected in the sexual health industry.