21 Simple Steps to Deepen Intimacy in Your Relationship

By David Small •  Updated: 01/16/17 •  14 min read

How can I deepen intimacy in my relationship is the million-dollar question been asked by thousands of individuals. Intimacy in a relationship should not be that hard to achieve.

In her landmark study of marriage, in which she followed 373 couples since 1986, Dr. Terri Orbuch suggests that couples in happy intimate relationships can keep at it. They can even make it better by behaving slightly differently and introducing small changes in the relationship.

21 Simple Steps to Deepen Intimacy in Your Relationship - relationshiptips4u

While many experts’ advice to couples is to try and fix what’s wrong, Dr.Terri Orbuch has a different view. According to her research, adding positive behaviors to the relationship has a much greater impact on the couple’s intimacy and happiness.

Intimacy in a relationship doesn’t just mean having sex. It is much more than that! Connecting with your partner on the same emotional and psychological level is as important as being sexually intimate with your partner.

It is not just what happens between the sheets that matters, closeness with your partner is intimacy at its most basic.

These 21 suggestions are likely to deepen intimacy and improve your relationship and build a bond of happiness as a couple:

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In relationships, you sometimes wish your partner was someone else. You might wish for your partner to be thinner, wealthier, more romantic, taller, and so on. Realistically,  your partner cannot be everything you wish for.

Re-looking your expectations and asking yourself how realistic they are is enough to jolt you to the cruel reality. You have the best partner you can have! Unrealistic expectations can cause chronic frustration, which, according to Dr.Terri Orbuch, is a major reason why relationships have no intimacy.

They may seem like small gestures, but doing things that say “I’m thinking about you” is guaranteed to keep the intimacy levels in your relationship at the highest level ever. Things such as the man filling up her car’s gas tank or the woman serving him a hot cup of coffee in bed are all you need to do.

It doesn’t have to be something that will have you break the bank. As suggested by Michael Webb in his book: 500 Intimate Questions for Couples, a midday love email, hand-holding or touching are all small ways to show affection and way of deepening your intimacy.

According to research findings, small gestures have a cumulative bigger impact than grand and less frequent deeds. So why not do that gesture and shore up your intimacy.

You will be mistaken to think that you talk to your partner enough. If you were to be asked how often you talk to your partner about things that really deepen your understanding of each other, what would be your answer? In Dr. Terri Orbuch’s study, couples who reported high levels of intimacy talked to each other frequently – not just about their relationship, but also about other things – and felt they knew a lot about their spouse.

This is echoed in David Schnarch and Dr.David Schnarch P.h.D book, Intimacy & Desire: Awaken the Passion in Your Relationship, where it is suggested that intimate couples are those who know their partner’s friends, life dreams, and values.

It, therefore, follows that if you hope to up your intimacy game, set aside 10 minutes a day to talk to your partner about anything that’s not about work, the relationship, family or the household. This simple change will infuse and deepen intimacy in your relationship with a new spirit and life.


Like all living things, your love relationship needs constant nourishment to grow and develop. Nurture your relationship by infusing it with change. Introducing change is to a relationship what fertilizer is to a plant.

It is surely a key ingredient to improved and deepen intimacy.

It doesn’t matter if the changes are small; the key thing is that they have to upset routine so much so that he or she can sit up and take notice. Let her make the dinner reservation if it’s he who always does it.

Try something new like joining a gym together. Whatever you do, avoid routine living if you hope to improve your intimacy.

In her study, Dr. Orbuch found that the man is happiest when the woman has a good relationship with his family. Also, when couples accept – not of necessity love – each other’s friend and make an effort to know them, have higher levels of intimacy. This is unlike couples with separate friends and family lives.

Like most people in relationships, you can attest to the fact that you have a very busy life. You may not have time for that date. If you ever go out, then it is out of spontaneity meaning it can take a long time before you ask your partner out on a date.

If your aim is to fan the fire of intimacy in your relationship, then you should consider a once-a-week date. It could be dinner out, a movie, dancing, couple’s yoga or an art show, whatever. Take turns planning for it.

Studies show that women are more passionate and have a stronger libido when out of the home setting – away from chores and kids. Book a night at the local hotel and watch your intimacy spike to levels you never imagined.

So, ask a friend or relative to watch the kids and go out for that date.


Of the things, couples need for a happy relationship, support, reassurance, and intimacy rank at the very top. In Dr. Orbuch’s study, couples who were happy and more intimate said that having a supportive partner was a very important aspect of their relationship.

By their very nature, men like to give instrumental support. They fix or solve problems. Most women, on the other hand, like to give emotional support.

They offer empathetic listening and constructive feedback. Find out the type of help your partner really needs and give it to him or her.

Laughter in marriage is medicine for happiness. Keep your intimacy from slipping into a rut by balancing your partnership’s rational aspects with the fun part. Of course, there are things that need to be done to keep your life orderly and your relationship more secure.

Do not just forget to play! Work to rediscover the pure delight of watching a silly movie, playing a game or dragging her onto the dance floor.

In previous studies, it has been shown that over 83 percent of couples divorce because of a lack of communication. It has been argued that the hallmark of any great relationship is communication.

Couples who want a lifetime of sizzling sex have to talk about intimate matters. There is no other way about it. So, what’s the secret to the deepest intimacy and hottest sex?

Communication! It doesn’t matter the number of times you have been intimate, whether it is the first, five hundredth or thousandth time, you must talk to make the best of your intimacy.

Studies have also shown that a majority of recently divorced men and women say that sex was a major deciding factor leading to their break up.

So, having great communication about intimacy issues with your partner is central to having a close, exciting, loving, and intimate relationship.

In a relationship, your presence really matters. Being completely present in your conversations with your partner, shows them you value the relationship and your time together.

To be present, keep focused on your interactions; avoid letting your thoughts wander off the conversation.

Remember, intimacy is a single-tasking exercise, not a multitasking coincidence. So, deliberately bring yourself into the conversation for a greater level that will deepen intimacy.

21 Simple Steps to Deepen Intimacy in Your Relationship

When engaged in a conversation with your partner, avoid the usual distractions of cell phone calls, alerts, and texts by turning off your mobile devices. This ensures you give the conversation undivided attention and full presence for better and deepen intimacy.

Interruptions and distractions in your interactions break the flow of the connection and intimacy you could have experienced.  Michael Webb said that, with undivided attention, you can build on feelings of deeper intimacy to your relationships, and relay your ability to prioritize the important things in your relationship.

In all your interactions with your partner, be as truthful and honest as possible. By sharing the truth with your partner, you move into a closer relationship, full of intimacy.

While every relationship has its own share of truth, gradually building shared truth over time develops even deeper levels of intimacy in your relationship.

In any relationship, deeper understanding starts with listening to your partner. Allow him or her to speak uninterrupted so that you can freely share ideas between the two of you. Listen without projecting your responses or what you think your partner might feel or experience.

Kelsey Huntington in her book, The Fear of Intimacy: How to Overcome the Emotional or Psychological Intimacy Issues in Your Relationship or Marriage, says, “listening to your partner allows you to come closer to a deeper understanding of what is being said and strengthens the intimacy and connection between the two of you”.

Just like all other human beings, you might notice the tendency to be dismissive and defensive. Being defensive and dismissive communicates to your partner that you are more dissatisfied with the relationship than anything else.

Defensiveness also erodes your ability to listen to your partner and understand what they are saying. When you feel paralyzed by shame, you just cannot listen well.

Learn to do your best to hear what your partner is saying without going into a shame-free if you want to deepen intimacy in your relationship.

 Deepen Intimacy

To have greater intimacy with your partner, just be your authentic self. Do not try to please your partner when it goes against who you are or what you believe. This only comes back to hurt you in your relationship. When you speak and behave according to your authentic self, your partner gets to know who you are and what you care about.

Your partner, then, can choose how to interact with you, accordingly. It is much better if you are disliked for who you are than to pretend to be someone else. For sure, authenticity makes greater intimacy.

Don’t risk betraying your intimacy by saying one thing but doing something completely different in your relationship. When you say you love your partner, and then speak negatively of him or her to others, you betray your intimacy.

Learn to keep your words aligned with your behavior to build and deepen intimacy and trust.

Your feelings tell more about you to your partner and build a deeper intimacy as compared to only say what you think. When you tell your partner how you feel just as much as what you think, he or she feels it, and you feel it too.

Together, you develop deeper, more intimate connections. In your relationship with your partner, take a risk to be vulnerable and be open to sharing from your heart.

Tell your partner what’s going on under the surface of your life and the veneer of your persona. If you are sad, afraid, hurt or emotional, tell it to your partner.

Learn to stay authentic and articulate about your emotional state. Ask your partner for tenderness, help or understanding.

In any relationship, the meeting of the two partners at their vulnerabilities is the sweet spot! Where you have the ability to truly see one another for who you are.

John Townsend (Author), Dr. Henry Cloud (Foreword) in their book, Beyond Boundaries: Learning to Trust Again in Relationships, said, “that at the meeting of your vulnerabilities, you and your partner get to mirror each other”.

Forging the bridge of intimacy and creating a strong bond of attachment is then inevitable. It is the knowledge that your partner accepts you and is ready to be there, even at your weakest moment it will deepen intimacy between the two of you.

You may not know it, but conflicts have the potential to build and deepen intimacy in your relationship. However, that is only if you and your partner are willing to resolve the misunderstanding amicably for the sake of keeping the relationship.

To resolve any conflicts you might be having, start with both of you taking personal responsibility for the part you played in it. Learn to apologize for any fault that might or might not be of your making and ensure you agree on the way forward.

In your relationship, you are bound to make and break commitments. Apologize to your partner whenever you fail to keep a commitment you made. Where possible make amends for any disruptions, disappointments or hurt feelings so as to repair and deepen intimacy in your relationship.

Don’t make it a habit. Learn from your mistakes and start to keep your commitments more than ever before. Repeating your failure to keep your commitments only leads to eroded trust and ultimately breaks down your intimacy while the effort to keep commitments builds trust and sustains your relationship.


Learn to cherish your relationship. Give your gratitude to your partner and be thankful for what they bring to your life. Don’t take for granted the gifts of love, care, support, and kindness that your partner brings to your life.

If you don’t nurture your partner’s gifts, then your relationship will not experience the level of intimacy that you desire. Using regular words and acts of gratitude goes to show how much you value and cherish your relationship.

Just like in any other relationship, you and your partner might come out as more after meeting your individual needs and not those of your partner. Learn to prioritize your partner’s needs, if only for a short while.

This is not the same as totally abandoning your own needs. Ask your partner what he or she needs. If you are going for a dinner date, let your partner suggest the venue.

Do you have any favorite vacation destinations? Your partner should suggest if there is something they would like to do over the weekend.

David Schnarch Ph.D. in his book, Passionate Marriage: Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in a Committed Relationship, said that “thinking of your partner’s needs as more important than yours breeds a closer relationship that is full of intimacy”.

Deepen Intimacy

Types of intimacy.

The first thing that comes to your mind when the word intimacy is mentioned is sex. What you may not realize is that there are many forms of intimacy, including the following:

Emotional intimacy. The closeness that exists between you and your partner for sharing thoughts, desires, and feelings is

Intellectual intimacy. This involves mutual understanding in important areas or issues in your relationship.

Spiritual intimacy. Sharing religious beliefs and practices, which includes praying together, going to church together or discussing spiritual issues.

Recreational intimacy. This is just being active together with your partner. If you find things you can do together with your partner, then you are having recreational intimacy.

Financial intimacy. This involves you and your partner sharing financial situations and involves budgeting. Being open and communicating honestly with your partner regarding money matters is vital.

Physical intimacy. This involves doing things such as holding hands, hugging, kissing or making love to your partner.

So, do you know the number one secret to the deepest intimacy & the hottest sex? Well, the fact that you are in a relationship is a perfect beginning. Work on all aspects of your relationship and you can be sure of closer and deeper intimacy!

Images courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


David Small

is the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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