Love, sex & your mental health
In this podcast (episode #474) and blog, I talk about ways to improve your relationship, develop sexual intimacy, and increase your health and longevity. This is part 2 of my series on love, sex, relationships and wellbeing.
As mentioned in part 1, safe, consensual sex in a loving relationship can help improve our health and wellbeing and even increase our longevity.
But this is not just about sex. How well we interact with and relate to our partner will lay the foundation for a fulfilling and intimate relationship. Of course, this is easier said than done—as I am sure you know, relationships can be complicated! This is why I recommend creating rituals and routines in a relationship to improve sexual intimacy and overall health.
Routines are things you have or need to do, such as cleaning the dishes after dinner or going to work at a certain time. Rituals are intentional practices/acts/events that you can create with your partner to build connection and enhance intimacy. They help create meaning and purpose in a relationship.
Routines in relationships can minimize uncertainty and lead to less anxiety about the nature of the relationship. They help you direct the neuroplasticity of the brain in the right direction (that is, the brain’s ability to change), giving you a sense of accomplishment, especially when you do them together with your partner.
Routines can also help reduce stress and the likelihood of everyday tasks turning into an argument. If you and your partner take the time to talk about your routines and help each other with daily tasks when possible, or support your partner while they have to complete an urgent task, you help build up trust in a relationship and improve communication, which are integral to better intimacy.
However, routines can also hinder a relationship if they start becoming mundane. This is where rituals can help. A ritual is a special “thing” partners participate in together, and can help re-establish a sense of purpose in a relationship that feels more like a habit. They are a great way to encourage you and your partner to intentionally spend time with each other!
Some examples of rituals are:
- Spending a certain amount of time every day exercising together, such as going to the gym, walking or doing yoga together.
- Planning a weekly date night.
- Going out for coffee during the week.
- Planning an annual vacation for just the two of you.
- Scheduling in a day for yourself, which can help you both to learn to honor each other's space.
For more on relationships, sex and the mind, listen to my podcast (episode #474). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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1:00 The relationship between sexual intimacy & wellbeing
1:40 How routines & rituals can help improve relationships
2:50, 4:56 The difference between routines & rituals
6:20 The brain science behind connection in a relationship
7:50, 13:57, 17:35 Ways to create routines & rituals in relationships to enhance intimacy and wellbeing
This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.