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with Sam Garanzini, LMFT & Alapaki Yee, LMFT

Just How Do Long-Term Couples Keep the Flame of Intimacy Burning?

Just How Do Long-Term Couples Keep the Flame of Intimacy Burning?

Here’s a question for you ― is scheduling intimacy a good idea?

“I’ve got an opening on Wednesday at 9pm.”

No pun intended.

In all seriousness, it sounds strange, doesn’t it? 

I mean, what happens if Wednesday evening rolls around and you’re just not in the mood?

Common Mistakes Couples Make
The Normal Bar by Chrisanna Northrup points out common mistakes couples make when it comes to intimacy. Read on to find out which ones you’re making.

  • Obsessing over what intimacy should be.

A tunnel-vision view of what physical intimacy looks like is the enemy of spontaneity.

Research suggests that the internet and media are to blame. Many couples presume intimacy comes in pre-packaged form like they see in the movies.

“Let’s take a walk in the moonlight and kiss in the rain.”

The truth is, intimacy can be found in the simplest things like cuddling up and watching TV.

Just How Do Long-Term Couples Keep the Flame of Intimacy Burning?

Your perspective on intimacy ultimately impacts your feelings and actions.

  • Not talking about intimacy outside the bedroom.

Another common mistake couples make is thinking intimacy equals sex. 

Intimacy starts before you get anywhere near the boudoir. 

In fact, giving non-sexual intimacy the attention it needs lays vital groundwork for success between the sheets.

  • Not talking about intimacy at all.

That’s right ― most couples don’t talk about physical intimacy. Period. 

So, what’s holding you back?

Intimacy isn’t a subject most couples approach deliberately. Read on to find out how you and your partner can learn to be more intimate with one another.

How to Prioritize Physical Intimacy
Human beings are pack animals. We thrive when we connect with other people.

The simple trick to establishing an intimate connection is being present.

Enjoying the moment with your partner allows you to connect on a deeper level.

A study of 70,000 couples found that people who made the effort to be present with each other were more likely to maintain an intimate connection.

Whether it’s taking an afternoon nap on the sofa or just having a conversation, there can be intimacy in everything you do together.

Well, all this sounds great, but you don’t have the time right now. You can always come back to it tomorrow, right? 


What happens today directly impacts what will happen tomorrow. In other words, what you put into your relationship now determines what you get out of it in the future.

Putting it off will only drive a bigger wedge between you and your partner.

So, put your smartphone down and be in the moment.

Just How Do Long-Term Couples Keep the Flame of Intimacy Burning?

Physical Intimacy for Singles
We all need physical intimacy, whether we’re in a relationship or not, but navigating the dating pool can be complicated.

So, how can you ensure you get it right first time?

Well, why not take our Communication Style Quiz? Your unique results will provide you with valuable insight into who you are and how you come across to potential partners.

Here are some more tips to make sure you’re connecting with the right people.

  • Set proper boundaries.

When you’re dating, it’s essential that you set boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable to you. These limits exist to protect you and your potential partners.

  • Be open to change.

If you’ve been dating the same person for a while and think you might be in it for the long haul, you’ll need to throw out your single person’s rulebook and co-create new boundaries together ― guidelines that dictate how you operate and connect with one another.

Successful couples set these boundaries deliberately. 

Doing so opens the door for you and your partner to talk and connect openly and intimately.

  • Attract like-minded people.

If you find yourself repeatedly dating the wrong people, chances are you need to change who you associate with.

All you need to do is hang out with people you gel with. Surrounding yourself with like-minded folks can alter your dating experience significantly.

  • Be the person you want to meet.

The energy you put out into the universe is the energy you get back.

Just How Do Long-Term Couples Keep the Flame of Intimacy Burning?In other words, positivity attracts positivity. When you’re happy, you attract happy people.

Embody the characteristics you want in a partner, and that’s what you’ll attract.

Intimacy: To Schedule or Not to Schedule?
That is the question. 

We’d all love to get down to it at the drop of a hat like we see our favorite post-watershed TV characters doing week-in week-out, but it’s much easier said than done. 

Some couples struggle to be spontaneous, which can affect physical intimacy.

Considering where you are in your personal development impacts the level of physical intimacy in your relationship and helps you keep that flame burning hotter for longer.

If scheduling intimate alone time works for you, then by all means, keep slotting it in. 

On the other hand, if the two of you prefer spontaneity, make an effort to be more deliberate.

Remember, your success is determined by how much you invest.

If you would like to find out more about keeping the intimacy alive long-term, reach out to our team of friendly professionals at The Gay Couples Institute.

Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic. The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.

For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit:

Just How Do Long-Term Couples Keep the Flame of Intimacy Burning?

Sam Garanzini, LMFT

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APA Reference
Garanzini, S. (2019). Just How Do Long-Term Couples Keep the Flame of Intimacy Burning?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Oct 2019
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