No doubt about it: Fast, hot, rip-your-clothes-off sex can add plenty of excitement to a relationship. But when it comes to overall coupled-up bliss, slow, sweet, sensual nights in bed have the biggest impact. These sexperiences capitalize on the power of bonding hormones to make you both feel more physically and emotionally intertwined. So try the following (scientifically proven!) moves to max out on lovey-dovey feelings.
Have a tantric kiss
During positions in which you’re face-to-face, bring your lips in super close so that you’re almost (but not quite) kissing, then inhale when your partner exhales. “The sensation that you’re almost breathing for each other is extremely potent and quite erotic,” says Tantra educator Xanet Pailet, author of Living an Orgasmic Life.
Use your words
Speaking up as the action intensifies can boost the happy chemicals serotonin and -dopamine in your brain, says sex and relationship therapist and board-certified psychiatrist Dion Metzger, MD. Here are three intimate AF ways to express yourself.
Whisper sweet things
Murmuring to bae prompts an automatic bodily response that can feel like arousing -tingling down their neck. Use the word you (as in, “You turn me on so much”) to let your S.O. know you’re zoned in on them, says relationship expert Dori Gatter, PsyD. Bonus: Research suggests they’re likely to follow your steamy instructions if you whisper in their right ear.
Draw out the details
As you’re making love, go out of your way to express your reaction audibly to every good touch and sight. “It doesn’t even have to be a sexual reference,” says Gatter, who suggests trying flattering phrases like “I love the way your skin feels” or “I like how you curve right here.”
“When you let your partner know what you see as special about them, it builds your bond,” she explains.
Make moans meaningful
People love hearing their own names. “It lets us know that we matter, which may seem silly, but the subconscious thrives on recognition,” says hypnotherapist Kimberly Friedmutter, author of Subconscious Power. Moan your lover’s name whenever the sex feels amaze. Or as you’re about to orgasm, call out their name (“Oh, yes, Dave...”)
to experience a powerful emotional connection as you climax.
Close to the heart
Fun fact: Having your boo gently suck on your nipples releases -oxytocin, aka the cuddle hormone, which triggers your brain’s reward center and can make you feel more in love. For super-intense foreplay, have your mate roll your nips around with their tongue, then slowly lick or blow on them, suggests Elle Chase.
Another sultry option: Have them lightly trace each of your headlights with their fingers and a drop of warming lube, then -return the favor (nipple stim has a -similar arousing effect on about half of men, according to a study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine).
Keep your eyes up
As you’re going down on your partner, look into their eyes with a sexy, steady gaze. “Eye contact with a lusty grin can communicate volumes in one look,” says clinical sex educator Elle Chase, author of Curvy Girl Sex.
Try a tender touch
Gentle strokes... “Often when we’re having sex, it’s passionate grasping, which is delightful,” says sex therapist Stefani Shaffer-Pond, “but switching up the intensity of our touch can create new sensations that enhance the romantic bond.” During intercourse, try caressing your mate softly, running your hands and fingertips over their skin to stimulate nerve cells that respond to light touch.
...in surprising spots Roaming over unexpected areas of each other’s bodies—your faces, jawlines, collarbones, inner thighs, or legs—signals that you’re enjoying every inch of one another, not just the sex. “Use your hand as a magic wand of exploration,” says Tantric-embodiment coach Maisha Aza. “If it wants to go somewhere it typically wouldn’t,
go there anyway.”
Be open to receiving
All too often, people—and especially women—enter sex with the expectation that they need to be the giver throughout the session. But allowing yourself to receive pleasure can help you feel more love and attention from your mate, says Aza. “By being vulnerable and letting go of what you think you should be doing, you can accept the full breadth of what your partner is offering you.”
Bask in the Afterglow
Post-sex, a bunch of pleasure chemicals host an after-party in your brain, making you feel relaxed, sated, and—mmm—swoony for up to two full days. A University of Toronto study found that experiencing this yummy effect is actually more important than having break-the-bed sex when it comes to relationship satisfaction. Here’s how to get it.
Cuddle your hearts out
This ups oxytocin, which can make you both happier in your bond (yup, even more than sex can). Whether it’s for one minute or 15, snuggle up and try to sync your breathing, says Jessica O’Reilly, PhD, host of the Sex With Jess podcast. “As your breath becomes one, you’ll likely feel more connected.”
Have some pillow talk
While you’re still recovering from the physical, hormonal, and emotional sex high, open up and be vulnerable with each other, O’Reilly suggests. Kick off a convo by asking, “What would constitute a perfect day for you?” (That’s one of psychologist Arthur Aron’s 36 questions that may make you fall in love with someone.)
Send a flashback text
Sentiments like “Missing our bed,” “We were so amazing the other night,” or “The look in your eyes completely wrecked me” let your partner know you’re still basking in a warm sex glow and thinking about them—triggering a dopamine rush for bae that’s similar to winning a prize. Which they kinda did, duh: It’s you.
Three positions for making sweet lurve
The Sugar Spoon
As the little spoon, hook your upper leg back over your man. Have him rub your clitoris with one hand.
Why it’s romantic
Maximum body contact signals “You. More, please.”
The Couch Rocker
Have your guy sit on the edge of a sofa, then sit on his lap. Rock gently while holding him tight.
Why it’s romantic
It’s basically a hug with orgasm potential. And it’s easy
to make out face-to-face.
The Figure 8
Lie on your back with your knees raised and bent and a pillow under your butt. He can grind against you in slow circles.
Why it’s romantic
The friction gives you both time to build up to an intense climax.
This story was originally published in the December 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan.