The first few weeks of a relationship are often a whirlwind of positive emotion, in which it’s tempting to ride the wave rather than think about it. As a result, couples often don’t give enough thought to certain aspects of what make relationships work – like intimacy. This can have serious consequences – according to research which finds that intimacy is a top 5 breakup cause in couples.
The fact is, everyone has their own preferences and quirks. Making sure that you take account of these early, and explore what makes you tick as a couple, is important for a long-lasting and healthy relationship. There are plenty of ways to achieve an intimate understanding.

Feeling comfortable with experimentation

Far apart from just being a way to find out what you like, developing intimacy and experimenting around is is crucial to a happy relationship. Psychology Today report that experimentation has a deeper psychological basis, by allowing partners to present themselves as open and trusting. Essentially, being open to new ideas helps your relationship, and with intimacy playing such a big role, it’s a notable stage. In terms of what you can actually do, it’s important to not feel constrained. Try out what might seem silly, and approach everything with an open mind. Consider bringing male and female sex toys into the bedroom; it’s no insult to anyone and can provide a way to enhance the sexual experience for both partners. If you want to try something, be vocal about it, and try it out together. The worst that could happen is it’s “a no”.

Understanding sex isn’t everything

On the same note, it’s crucial to understand that sex isn’t everything. In fact, the act itself is a tiny, tiny fraction of intimacy. Learning about your partner and developing closeness is just a crucial. Be comfortable with understanding that sex isn’t absolutely necessary. Moments of closeness contribute to intimacy – things as simple as cuddling during a movie, or giving a soothing massage. Try even building intimacy without resorting to any overt sexual contact – that way, you can learn how you and your partner like to interact.
Staying flexible with changes

When you go into a relationship, you do it for the person you know – not who you think they might become. Angry reactions to suggestions for change are one of the reasons for breakup, according to Professor Manning of the Brigham Young University. However, change is inevitable – and that includes with intimate preferences. It’s important that, as your relationship develops and you feel a deeper connection, that you’re honest and forthright about changes and what you’d like to do. Being open-minded to new ideas is important to, no matter how alien. Approach your relationship without an ego; be open minded and receptive to ideas that will make your loved one happier.

The intimacy of a relationship is one of its cornerstones. It’s little surprise, then, that it’s so often brought up during a breakup. Get it right first time, and establish what makes you and your significant other tick. You’ll be happier for it – now and in the long run.

James Preece
Dating Coach and Dating Expert at The Dating Guru
James Preece is the Dating Guru.

He is the UK's leading Dating Coach and Relationship Expert, helping 1000s find love each year.