An important piece of advice relationship experts often repeat is being fully present and engaged with your partner. One of the biggest obstacles to intimacy is not giving our partner the proper attention and respect. It gets to a point where, we feel so comfortable in our relationship that we begin taking each other for granted. We tend to focus on the things we worry about instead. But when we do, we fail to invest the time and energy it takes for a relationship to thrive. Besides, miscommunication drives a wedge between couples. If each person were really listening, they would get along better, which leads to feeling closer, more intimacy and better sex. When you find yourself distracted when your partner is talking, consciously refocus. Take a moment and get centered. If you can’t do that then explain why you are distracted. Giving them your full attention is not only investing in your partner but the relationship as well. But it goes beyond that.

Besides focusing on our lover during normal interactions, we need to “really” listen to our partner when they open up about their sexual needs and desires. Don’t just “hear” what they have to say. If you plan to be in a monogamous relationship then it is you they wish to help them fulfill such desires. Lots of people hear their partner’s desires but don’t internalize them. They don’t think about what it is their partner likes about it and what other nuances they can bring in to enhance the experience for them. A lot of people only focus on their own fantasies. But if you fulfill your partner’s, they will be so grateful that they will begin working on fulfilling yours. And having our desires fulfilled will make the relationship stronger and each individual happier, more confident, less stressed and healthier (think lower blood pressure for one).  It’s important that you build a safe space where each of you can discuss such desires. You do not have to go for the most intricate or in-depth first. In fact, sometimes it’s best to take baby steps and work up to the magnum opus.

For instance, there are many women who have a rape fantasy. They want their boyfriend or husband to pretend to break into the house, tie them down and have their way with them. But lots of men have been taught to respect women. So they feel uncomfortable as to how to get over their inhibitions and fulfill their partner’s fantasy. In this instance, the couple should break down the steps of the fantasy. How does she picture it unfolding? What does he say and do exactly? What props are used? Then work up to it. Perhaps he should start with calling her the bad, dirty names she desires in bed. Next, he could try spanking her or tying her up. Then he can purchase the items needed on the sly and when ready and feeling comfortable, fulfill her fantasy. Each person should talk about their inhibitions, likes and dislikes. But really absorb your partners and make sure they understand all of yours fully. Take a little time to think about their fantasy. Be positive and nonjudgmental. Show curiosity. Ask questions. What is it about it that turns them on? Usually through negotiation and taking baby steps a couple can work up to what each person desires.

Of course, couples should always engage in BDSM or other potentially dangerous activities using the rules of safe play. There are sometimes things in the bedroom one or both parties desire that the other doesn’t exactly but doesn’t mind doing. They do it to see their partner happy. When what you are doing is not your thing, but you are only doing it to please your partner, you don’t have to pretend you like it. But you need to be present and engaged. One of the best parts of being in a long-term sexual relationship is the ability to talk about your desires and make plans to fulfill them. Be sure to listen carefully and invest your energy in your partner’s desires. If they are worthwhile, they’ll do the same for you.