Sex is a major component of most intimate relationships. Although it's often thought of as something that we do with another person that we're already very bonded with, sex can also be used to build that bond.
There are plenty of reasons to invest time and effort in your sex life, rather than letting it fall by the wayside as you and your partner get older. Studies have shown withdrawal from sex can affect your overall health in surprising ways, from increased stress levels and feelings of depression to higher risk for erectile dysfunction and prostate cancer for men (yikes!). But maybe you're just feeling a bit disconnected from your partner and looking to end your dry spell. Strengthening your bond in the bedroom will help take your overall intimacy to the next level.
Whether you're rekindling the flame of a well-established love or fostering a connection in a new relationship, these five sex positions are guaranteed to make you even closer to your partner.
It's often seen as the most basic of sex positions, but that doesn't mean it's boring. And missionary is actually ideal for bonding, because the position makes it easy to connect with each other through sight, sound, and touch, says Sara Nasserzadeh, a psychosexual therapist. Whisper or breathe in your partner's ear, make eye contact, and feel your bodies connected from head to toe. That, Nasserzadeh says, is an irresistible way to facilitate bonding.
Having sex while wrapped in a constant embrace will raise your levels of oxytocin (sometimes known as the cuddle hormone) and PEA (a neurotransmitter that ups your mood and is associated with bonding), according to Debra Laino, MEd, a sex therapist based in Delaware. The partner lying behind can use his hands to caress his lover, and can whisper into her ear for added romance.
This position, where partners are facing away from each other and connecting from behind, may not seem the most intimate, but it facilitates one of the best ways to bond: shared orgasms. For women, this position gives deep penetration that can lead to immense pleasure, Nasserzadeh says. "This is a high-adrenaline-rush physical act, and having that shared experience will increase bonding," she says.
Standing in the shower
Sex in the shower allows you to take it long and slow, says Eric Marlowe Garrison, a sexologist and author of Mastering Multiple Position Sex. The warm water, ambient noise, and fresh scents will relax you and allow you to really connect with your partner, while the water provides extra lubrication that is great for mind-blowing sex.
Stand back to chest facing the long wall of the shower, so that both partners are in the warm water. Massage each other and enjoy your full bodies touching before the man enters from behind, reaching around for nipple or clitoral stimulation. Pro tip: Silly though it may sound, take steps to avoid slipping. A bath mat or even rubber-soled shoes like Crocs can go a long way in making your shower sex unforgettable for all the right reasons.
This position offers the face-to-face intensity of missionary with the excitement of a new position. One partner sits with legs loosely crossed, while the other is on top with legs wrapped around the partner's back. Here, your bodies are touching entirely, and your faces are close enough to kiss, whisper, or laugh together, says Rachel Needle, a sex therapist. For added intensity, the person on top can focus on slow, sensual movements, she says.
This article originally appeared on Prevention