That one time we did it for six hours (no, it’s not what you think!)

July 23,2019

How often do you and your partner touch each other? 

Not as foreplay or during sex. I’m talking touch just for the sake of touch. 

This month I’m sharing 13 specific, research-backed things that sexually satisfied couples do that unsatisfied ones don’t, plus specific suggestions of how you can incorporate each tip into your relationship. (Missed the last two weeks of tips? You can find them here and here!)

I’ve divided the 13 tips into categories, and our theme this week is affection!

Sexual Satisfaction Secret #8: Kiss passionately for no reason

When was the last time you and your partner had a good ol’ makeout session? 

The sad truth is that most couples just don’t make out that much anymore, even though they’ll also say that kissing is the thing they miss the most from the early days of their relationship!

Here’s another bit of evidence-based wisdom: you have to kiss for at least six seconds in order for your body to fully register the kiss, and start releasing feel-good hormones like oxytocin. 

This is an area where Xander and I struggle a bit. The night that we met, we spent six full hours just making out with each other. SIX! It was insanity! 

But at this point in our relationship, I like making out a lot more than Xander does. (Anecdotally, I’ve seen that men in relationships with women tend to like kissing less than their female partners. Is this true in your relationship?) I’m not looking for a repeat of our marathon session, but I’d like to make out with my man more often.

I take matters into my own hands by initiating make-out sessions with Xander. Or if he gives me a little peck, I’ll playfully tell him, “Give me a real kiss.”

I also remind him that I like to make out just for the sake of making out sometimes, so he doesn’t think that making out always leads straight to sex!

Sexual Satisfaction Secret #9: Be physically affectionate, even in public

OK, confession time: I don’t love PDA.

I’m no Miss Manners, but I’ve always felt awkward about canoodling in front of other people, especially people I know. I’ve never wanted anyone to feel like I was rubbing it in their face that I have a hot relationship, or to feel like their personal space was getting invaded by my horny vibes! 

But at the same time, I appreciate that so many of these research findings involve touch. I know how incredibly powerful touch can be, and how little touch most couples actually exchange on a daily basis.

So here’s what I do: I focus on activities that I feel more comfortable with in public, like holding hands or giving little caresses. And when I think that nobody’s around or looking, I get a little more daring with a butt squeeze or a quick makeout sesh.

If you love PDA, by all means, go for it! You have the seal of approval from science itself! 

If you’re like me, keep in mind that connecting with each other outside of the bedroom can feel super exciting and novel! But if slipping your hand onto your partner’s thigh under the table at your favorite restaurant feels too risqué for you, try doing it at home. 

The bottom line: get that physical affection in wherever you can!

Sexual Satisfaction Secret #10: Cuddle

OK, now I’m really spilling all of my dirt in this blog post. When I first met Xander, I was not a cuddler. Xander often jokes that he had to “teach me how to cuddle”. Kinda like that urban legend of the boy who was raised by wolves and had to learn how to be touched!

I always loved touching and caressing as foreplay, but cuddling felt a little uncomfortable to me. I would get too hot, or my arm would fall asleep, or Xander would accidentally pull my hair. I dunno, I guess I’m just weird! 

Xander likes to say that he brought me around to the joys of cuddling. But the real change happened because I learned to give myself permission to have cuddle preferences. I make sure I’m in a comfortable position from the get-go. I don’t hesitate to ask to switch positions or move a limb. I break away from the cuddle when I feel “full.” 

And now, I love cuddling almost as much as Xander does. (Not as much. No one loves cuddling as much as Xander does. That man is a cuddle maniac.)

Here’s another evidence-based tidbit for any other non-cuddlers out there: try a 20 second hug! That’s how long it takes for your body to fully relax and start bonding with your partner.

I think what strikes me the most about today’s tips is how focused they are on simple touch. Not on crazy foreplay techniques or wild sex positions. Just touch. A little bit of touch goes a really long way in a relationship. 

Are you looking for a way to make these tips even more actionable? I’m going to be back next week with the last three tips, plus a special invitation for couples who are serious about prioritizing their sex life!


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!