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Rekindle Intimacy in 4 Weeks With These Tips

Carol Queen, PhD, offers tips on how to reignite the spark in your love life.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Are you feeling like the fire is waning between you and your partner? It may be time to work on rekindling the fire between you. Carol Queen, PhD, Sexologist, is an award-winning author of over twenty books about sexuality and maintains that you can get your sex life back on track in less than four weeks. Here is everything you need to know about rekindling intimacy.

There Are Two Types of Intimacy: Physical and Emotional

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There are two kinds of intimacy to consider, according to Dr. Queen. Physical intimacy, aka sex (non-sexual physical connection like cuddling might count as part of this sort for some, not for others), and also emotional intimacy. "These are (often, or at least expected to be) connected in ongoing relationships; they are also potentially separate from each other when things get tough in a relationship, so that, for instance, in some, the emotional intimacy and love stays steady while sex wanes, or vice versa," she says.

You Don't Need Both for a Relationship

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"You don't absolutely have to have both for a relationship—asexuals might not, for instance—but if a relationship is based on lacking either thing, it should be agreed upon by the participants. This keeps the terms of the relationship consent-based," continues Dr. Queen. "And I should note that when people are engaged casually or in poly contexts, they might also be separate—or together to whatever degree a casual situation allows for intimacy."

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Examine Your Relationship and What You Want From It

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Before you go into a four-week process with your significant other, Dr. Queen recommends closely considering your relationship, what you expected from it and want from it, and what you have:

  • Has anything about your patterns of intimacy changed since the beginning? (That might be different than just realizing something seems lacking and realizing it is important to you to try to fix.)
  • Are you operating on assumptions about relationships or agreements you made together?
  • Has anything changed in your circumstances? (Common examples: had a child; ill health; stress from outside the relationship, such as work issues or a sick parent); menopause; erectile or arousal issues; an affair or some other sort of betrayal; etc.)
  • You'll want to do this so you can communicate with your partner about what you perceive to be going on, how it affects you, and how you hope you can pivot together to address it.

Next, Get Your Partner Involved

Young couple strolling in the park

The next step is getting your partner involved in thinking about where you are together.

  • Your partner should also consider the above questions, or you can talk it through with them.
  • When you talk, make sure you both are as unstressed as possible, agree that it's a good time to talk about Issues (if it's not, arrange a different time), and can focus on one another.
  • The next step is to share your perceptions and ask about theirs—the goal is to get on the same page regarding what you might work on together (or at least spell out what you agree might need to be fixed).
  • Note: While our relationships are certainly important to us, a conversation like this might raise red flags you shouldn't ignore. For example, your partner doesn't see a problem at all, is irritable, hostile, or minimizes your perceptions, or gets super-defensive, blames, or shames.
  • If red flags are present, your rekindling work would likely be more successful with a couple's therapist to guide you. (TBH it might even signal that this is a relationship that should be ended and not rekindled. Extreme responses might even signal a safety issue.)

Your Issues Might Be Communication Based

couple fighting

"If your issues are particularly emotion-based and seem to revolve around your communication, your ideas about romance or connection, and generally the health of the relationship outside the bedroom, here are some possibly relevant things to consider and/or change," she says.

  • the way you communicate (with love, care, respect—or not)
  • the way you deal with it if you're not on the same page about something
  • how do you let each other know you're important to each other
  • the amount of time you spend together
  • whether both feel supported by the other

You Might Need to Cultivate New Habits

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"You might want to cultivate new habits," she says.

  • around emotionally intimate time together
  • meaningful activities or rituals (quality time, together time)
  • You may need to work on your communication styles if they are out of alignment

Other Common Issues

Beautiful couple is having sex in bed at home

There are some other common issues, she adds:

  • for partners to assume they know what the other's POV is
  • to have gendered ideas about relationships, intimacy, and sex
  • to have the possibility of truly open communication cause anxiety (again—maybe therapy here!)

Don't Make Assumptions

Sentimental happy couple in love bonding

"Issues in a sexual relationship are often tangled up in the above. It's common for partners to assume things about their relationship," says Dr. Queen. These include:

  • when their partner wants sex (or not)
  • how they feel about sex in general
  • whether they are getting turned on and coming
  • mistakenly personalizing it when their partner is stressed about something that affects their sex life ("They don't find me attractive anymore")
  • love and "finding the one" equals good sex

Other Issues

hand of young woman having sex on bedroom

Other issues, according to Dr. Queen, can include:

  • resisting their partner's requests or suggestions
  • faking interest and orgasm
  • turning away from sex because they are ashamed to share about an issue (like ED, for instance, or sexual pain conditions)
  • the many stress-related life changes I mentioned above

Communication Is Key

Cheerful couple awaking and looking at each other in bed

"Partners in a sexual rut or drought need to open up about their beliefs, expectations, desires, experiences, and limits. (Again, maybe a therapy thing!)," says Dr. Queen. As well as:

  • listening non judgmentally
  • evaluating whether our beliefs/assumptions are on base
  • addressing shame and any past trauma
  • breaking down your sexual relationship and considering how you communicate about it, initiate, get turned on (kissing, "foreplay," etc.), and deal with orgasm.
  • learning more about sex, "especially the sex you and your partner have and/or want to have

Your Timeline May Vary

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It might take more or less than four weeks. "That's because partners have different needs and degrees of ease or difficulty with all this," says Dr. Queen.

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Books She Recommends

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Dr. Queen recommends the following books and workbooks.

💪🔥Body Booster: The first thing to examine if intimacy is waning is your communication skills.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more