Powerful 5-Minute Intimacy Exercise

Powerful 5-Minute Intimacy Exercise Looking to build more intimacy in your relationship? This powerful 5-minute intimacy exercise can help you build your connection to your partner, decrease the effects of daily strain, and increase your ability to respond objectively during conflict. Intimacy, or the feeling of connected-ness and understanding, is a key ingredient in successful, long-term relationships. It enables you to see the world through your partner’s eyes; understand their desires, feelings, dreams, fears, and fantasies; and create a bubble of safety and connectivity around your relationship.  The more you are able to establish a sense of togetherness, through emotional intimacy, the better able you are to manage conflict and repair your relationships after disconnections.

This article outlines the simple steps involved in this powerful 5-minute intimacy exercise and discusses why it is so effective.


Powerful 5-Minute Intimacy Exercise: Instructions

  • Find a quiet time with minimum distractions. Turn off the TV, cell phones, or any other potentially distracting electronics.
  • Find a comfortable position that will allow you to look into your partner’s eyes and touch some part of their body.
    • Examples include:
      • Facing each other, snuggling on the couch;
      • Cuddling in bed, looking at each other in the eyes with legs entwined;
      • Sitting at the kitchen table, looking at each other in the eyes, and holding hands.
    • The possibilities are endless, but the two key elements that will enhance the intimacy experience are: eye contact & physical contact.
  • One person will act as the “speaker” and express three loving sentiments to the “listener.”
    • There are two approaches you can use to help guide you with what to say.
      • You can express your general love and appreciation for your partner.
        • For example, if your partner has made a lot of compromises to support you and your relationship, you could include some loving sentiments that highlights those efforts.
        • If your partner has motivated you to become a better person, you could include some loving sentiments that highlights those personal changes.
        • If your partner has supported you in your times of need, you could include some loving sentiments that highlights their supports.
      • Or you can tailor the message to meet the needs of your partner. If you are aware of a specific area that your partner could benefit from having more verbal recognition, then you can use this more focused approach.
        • For example, if your partner is struggling with feeling appreciated for all the ways they support the family, you can focus your loving sentiments to express how much you recognize and appreciate their efforts to making the family a priority.
        • If your partner is struggling with feeling attractive or desirable, you can focus your loving sentiments to express how much you find them attractive and sexy.
        • If your partner is struggling with feeling important or influential within the relationship, you can focus your loving sentiments to express how they impact your life and influence your choices or perspective.
      • Regardless of which approach you use, the speaker will express three loving sentiments about the listener, including how it impacts and makes the speaker feel. The sentiment should contain enough details to allow the other person to see the world through the speaker’s eyes. This sharing of inner meaning and connection is the foundation of intimacy. Consider the difference between the following two examples (one with minimum detail and one with more detail and inclusion of impact and feelings):
        • “I appreciate how you make time to support our family.”
        • “I appreciate how you take time off work to give a musical demonstration at our daughter’s school every year. Not only does she beam with pride and excitement to have her daddy perform his stand-up bass in front of all her friends and teachers, but I find you very attractive when you are in your musical element. I know it’s not always easy to find time, but you find ways to show that our family is a priority.”
      • The listener will receive the verbal gifts of their partner without interrupting or challenging the statements. For those folks that struggle with verbal praise, this can be a hard task. The goal of the exercise is to enhance emotional intimacy. When we challenge our partner’s loving sentiments, we are challenging their positive feelings towards us, which is the antithesis of emotional closeness. As hard as it may be, try to take their loving sentiments at face value. Remember, how you feel about yourself may not match with how your partner views you.
      • Ideally you will both maintain eye contact and physical contact throughout the entire exercise.
      • After the speaker has finished expressing their loving sentiments, they will conclude with the following statement: “I love you” and [insert specific focus of intimacy activity]. For example:
        • “I love you and appreciate all that you do to support me and our family.”
        • “I love you and find you sexy and desirable.”
        • “I love you and I am a better person because of your influence in my life.”
      • Then the first speaker will initiate a hug and/or kiss based on whatever feels most comfortable and appropriate in the moment to conclude their part of the 5-minute powerful intimacy exercise.
      • Then, the listener will become the speaker and will repeat the process of expressing three loving sentiments; concluding with “I love you” and [insert specific focus of intimacy activity], and initiating a hug and/or kiss.
      • This 5-minute powerful intimacy exercise can be completed several times a week or could even become part of your daily routine as a way to connect to your partner and grow your relationship.


Practical Application Tip:

Although this activity can be completed in 5-minutes or less, you want to set yourself up for success and schedule it when you can get the most out of the interaction. Things to avoid would be when you are too tired, hungry or not able to focus due to external and internal distractions.  Additionally, for those individuals that struggle with being verbal on the spot, they might benefit from keeping a small note pad of things they notice throughout the day that they could use as a foundation for their loving sentiments. Some individuals have even set a daily alarm to remind them to jot down their thoughts. Finally, for those couples that complete this exercise frequently, there can be an expectation to only verbalize novel or unique loving sentiments. Some sentiments may get repeated, but highlighting the impact it has had on you can be very valuable.


Powerful 5-Minute Intimacy Exercise: Why It Works

Although this exercise seems simplistic, it is very powerful. It seamlessly incorporates the following elements known to help facilitate connection and intimacy:

  • Physical touch. When we physically connect to a loved one, it can trigger certain hormones, such as oxytocin, that are associated with attachment and bonding. Additionally, through touch we can sync up our biorhythm (e.g., breathing, posture, temperature) patterns. In neonatal units, kangaroo care or skin-to-skin contact between a caregiver and newborn are encouraged due to the significant health benefits for the baby. This subconscious synergy can help regulate or enhance our emotional and physical well-being.
  • Eye contact. Humans eyes are designed to attract and communicate. Compared to other primates, our colored irises are highlighted on a white backdrop. Newborn eye sight appears to be preprogrammed to focus on their caregivers’ eyes (e.g., 12 inch depth perception; high contrast color). As such, we learn very early to read other people’s non-verbal communication through eye contact. Sustained eye contact is associated with heightened intimacy for many people.
  • Communication exercise. It incorporates both verbal expression and active listening which are key elements in effective communication. By verbalizing our thoughts, feelings and interests to our partner, we are inviting them into our mental world which can enhance our emotional bond. Active listening, or listening with our entire body and mind, helps communicate that our partner is a priority and helps us to focus on what they are saying instead of trying to interject our own opinions and thoughts prematurely.
  • Focusing on the positive. When we focus on the positive aspects of our partner it can impact our individual outlook and relationship interaction. Positive thoughts can decrease cortisol levels and elevate serotonin levels, which can create a sense of well-being. Positive feelings can increase cognition by improving our ability to problem solve, concentration and creativity. Additionally, positive feelings generate more positive thoughts and feelings which can help fight off depression and anxiety. When we focus on our partner’s strengths and positive qualities and feel like they are doing the same towards us, it can create what is known as a positive sentiment override or a positive perspective. This means that we are viewing our relationship and each other through a positive lens, which can dramatically impact couples during conflict by improving our ability to resolve the problem, deescalate the conflict and reconnect or repair the relationship.


This powerful 5-minbute intimacy exercise can be used to support specific needs in the relationship or as a tool for general intimacy enhancement. Regardless of the approach, this activity incorporates several powerful elements that can enhance the relationship bond and minimize the negative impact of daily conflicts and can be completed in less than the time it takes to brew a pot of coffee. If you would like more guidance on how to complete this intimacy exercise or identify additional ways to enhance your relationship, call and schedule an appointment with one of our therapists.


*This article uses traditionally plural pronouns (e.g., “they, them, their, theirs”) as singular pronouns for purposes of gender inclusion and neutrality.