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Love, intimacy, sex ...how to make your relationship thrive

It was a Saturday morning and one of those perfect blue sky and sunshine mornings when my husband announced that he was taking me off for a surprise day out. The destination: a picturesque seaside village about an hours drive away. He had already packed a picnic with loads of yummy treats.

We walked on the beach hand in hand, enjoyed the picnic and browsed little shops in the village. Conversation flowed …and the sex that night was wonderful.

In the early days of a new relationship and, or in a marriage we spend so much of our time thinking about our partner, talking about everything under the sun, sending love texts, gifts and more. Our love grows, we feel close and the sex is often really good.

So why is it that after a while many people say they have fallen out of love’, like it just happens and it’s out of our control?

After 35 years of marriage, with times where we felt close and times when we have seriously struggled, I’ve learned that love is not out of our control and a good relationship takes time, energy and effort. We may not realise it but those things we did so naturally in the early days nurtured the relationship. We can try to recapture the way we used to do things but we can also learn valuable new relationship skills and grow our relationship even more.

Toucan Together’s Pulse’ is a short, research based quiz that gives you a map of the health of your relationship across 7 key indicators, with personalised recommendations and next steps to strengthen and grow your relationship.

Here are some more ways you can help your love, intimacy and sex thrive.

1. Love

Many people think that love is a feeling, which is partly true. Our feelings are driven by our biological chemistry, our hormones, and levels are constantly changing with circumstances we face, age and other health related issues.

But we all know that love is more than feelings. Love is more like a verb, it’s active, responding to the needs of your partner. World renowned relationship expert John Gottman studied thousands of couples in his Love Lab’ and concluded that in successful relationships, couples constantly make and accept bids’ to connect. Simply put these bids are relationship signals for attention and in a healthy relationship a partner actively responds, rather than ignoring or rejecting their partner’s needs. 

Toucan Together’s Loving Module helps you to explore how your growing up experiences influence the ways you give and receive love, understand any barriers you may have and learn to speak each other’s Love Languages®️ so you can actively express love in the way he or she needs and can receive it.

2. Sex

These days sex is used to sell everything from cars to shampoo. We’re also sold’ a lot of lies about sex: that the act itself is always easy and pleasurable; you’ll both have simultaneous, earth shattering orgasms whenever you have intercourse and you’ll always feel like having sex with your partner, to name a few. Therapists and researchers agree that couples who work on nurturing their relationship tend to have more satisfying sex. Those who don’t put in the effort into their relationship can experience less satisfying sex.

For some couples it’s a straightforward and easy subject to talk about, and that’s great because you’ll be able to express your likes and dislikes and changing needs. It’s good to talk about your sex life and Part 2 of Toucan Together’s Loving Module helps set up a conversation between you and your partner about sex and romance in your relationship so that you can improve your sexual relationship. Sex therapist Emma Waring also gives her top 3 tips for improving sex.

3. Intimacy

We may think of intimacy as just another way of saying sex. But it’s more than that. Emotional intimacy is about a close and trusting connection, where we feel safe to share our feelings, even difficult ones such as our fears and insecurities. Growing a deep emotional intimacy is something that requires open and honest communication and a willingness to be vulnerable. It takes time to build the trust levels to talk deep like that and it’s worth learning to communicate on that level, beyond the daily needs of what must get done’.

Love, sex and intimacy are all linked. If we make the time and effort to attend to our partner’s love needs and communicate more openly we will grow intimacy and trust, which can feed into a more satisfying sex life.

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Toucan Together’s Loving Module gets beyond the cliches about love. Learn to speak each other’s Love Languages ®; explore how your experiences growing up influence the ways you give and receive love; and understand any barriers you may have. Part 2 helps create a conversation around intimacy, romance and passion to help you grow a thriving sex life.


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