Benefits of a Healthy Love Life

February 6, 2015 at 8:50 am  •  0 Comments

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A recent article in the New York Times displayed some grim statistics about sex and marriage. According the author’s analysis of Google searches, “sexless marriage” is at the top of the list for searches on the topic of marriage. Anyone who has been married, especially with children, knows that we can so easily forgot how great sex, and particularly intimacy, can be for every part of our being. Have you ever thought after sex with your partner, “Wow, we should do that more often”?

Even the simple act of holding hands has been shown to decrease stress levels and cortisone in the body. Touch can increase oxytocin in the body, leading to feelings of contentment and euphoria. Laughter, too, can make our worries go away. So why don’t we have sex more often when it has so many benefits? The answer is that we are so busy with our lives that it gets de-prioritized.

In thinking about how I can get my patients to re-prioritize such an important part of their relationship, I came up with the 2 week Intimacy Challenge. The idea is to set aside 10-30 minutes each day engaging in intimate acts. Intimate acts do not need to include sex or the expectation of sex. Intimacy means different things to different people and discussing what intimacy means to each of you is probably a good place to start when taking on this challenge.

Here are five ideas to get you started:

  1. Go for a walk and hold hands the whole time. Don’t let go!
  2. Get out some massage lotion- even olive oil from your kitchen cabinet would work- and take turns massaging each other. Set the timer if necessary.
  3. Write down five statements of positive affirmation for your partner and read them to each other.
  4. Set a date night and carve out that quality time!
  5. Try this breathing exercise:

Circular Breathing Exercise:

In Chinese Medicine we say, “Where the mind goes, the Qi follows”. We can use our mind and our breath to direct our energy where we want it to go. In this exercise, you are physically wrapped around your partner while doing a breathing exercise that creates a breathing loop in your body and a breathing loop in your partner’s body, ultimately creating a figure 8, or two linked circles, between the two of you.

Step 1: While dressed or undressed, sit facing each other and wrap your legs around each other. If you are not that flexible, it is OK to have your legs a little open. Place your hand over your partner’s heart and begin breathing in and out. Feel your belly rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. Do this for a good minute. Don’t worry about coordinating breaths. And if you laugh, that is OK!

Step 2: Remove your hand from the heart and wrap your arms around each other. Close your eyes. You each begin by quickly contracting your pelvic muscles. Then, on the inhale, imagine your breath beginning at the bottom of your spine, moving up your spine to the very top of your head. On your exhale, use your mind’s eye to direct your breath slowly down the front of your body past your chest and belly back down and around to the bottom of your spine (your tailbone). Don’t worry about coordinating your breath here – you can breathe in while your partner breathes out. Continue this for as long as it feels comfortable. End with a kiss, thanking your significant other for trying something new and cool!

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Liz Richards
About the Author

Liz is a licensed acupuncturist and clinical herbalist with over a decade experience treating fertility patients with natural medicine. She is the clinic director and owner of Blossom Clinic. Author of Nourishing Fertility: An A-to-Z Guide, a patient-centered e-book filled with her best fertility tips and advice.

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