by Marie-Claire Thauvette, author, sex educator, and relationship coach at Relationship Bliss.
Couples often spend a lot of time and money researching and booking their romantic getaway, but forget to invest the same effort in planning for intimacy. Whether it’s a honeymoon, an anniversary or a much-needed break together, we scour online reviews, make a list of restaurants to visit, and book an appointment at the travel clinic. We anticipate the vacation for months, making sure we have the right outfits and enough sunscreen.
However, when it comes to the trip, couples tend to revert to their habitual ways of relating at home. In their day-to-day, they’ve become accustomed to living more like room-mates, with little physical touch or eye-to-eye contact. This carries over into their vacation, meaning there’s no deep connection. When it comes down to it, real connection is the all-important ingredient. That’s what makes a trip memorable.
What if you referred to your trip for years to come, saying, “Remember that trip to the Bahamas — wasn’t the love-making great?”
Life is too beautiful to not connect with the person you love the most.
Now, that connection may happen spontaneously, but you don’t want to leave it to chance. All it takes is a little planning and it’s well worth the effort. Try any or all of these ten tips and I can guarantee you’ll have that dream vacation where the intimacy and connection are unforgettable.
1. Go cell phone-free
I know, I know, this is not a popular idea but you’ll thank yourself you did.
The two of you need to agree ahead of time that you’ll put your phones down for the week. Let your friends and family know you won’t be checking your phone. If you’re really brave, actually leave your cell phone at home! Set up auto-responders on your email. You can leave the name and contact details of the hotel with friends or family for emergencies.
2. Communicate face-to-face
Make an effort to look at each other’s eyes. This will be a lot easier without the distraction of a screen, yet another reason I suggest going cell phone free. Practice listening to your partner — really listening. Leave your ideas out of the conversation and concentrate on understanding what they’re saying. Use empathetic words and try reflective listening. Try phrases like:
“So, you feel …”
“You’re saying you need …”
“Am I getting this right?”
These are just suggestions. Your responses have to be genuine; your partner will see through you faking it. Make sure your words come from your heart.
3. Plan a surprise
Plan something you know your partner is passionate about. Think about what makes them comfortable and what’s fun for them. It could be:
- Messages or gifts on their pillow each night
- New lingerie
- A goodie bag of their favorite things. If your relationship is new, ask a good friend of theirs to suggest some things they love
- A poem
- A surprise adventure trip or activity.
I mean physically play with each other. Playfulness and fun are key components to an enjoyable and accepting relationship. Explore your inner child and go back to the kinds of games you liked to play as a kid. Was it wrestling or hide and go seek? Have a pillow fight, or better yet, play slippery wrestling involving oil or foam. Start a water fight in the swimming pool. Play hide and strip, or sneak off at a restaurant or during a party to find a small room or nook where you can kiss!
5. Play the appreciation game
Remind yourself of what you appreciate about your partner. You could prepare questions ahead of time, or you can play face-to-face. Questions like:
“What were your first impressions of me?“
“Which of my qualities do you like the most?“
“What’s your favorite outfit of mine?“
6. Make future plans together
Remembering what brought you together is just as important as thinking about the future. You need to get excited about what’s to come for your couple. You could do this over a drink, sharing dreams and ideas and asking each other questions about career, travel, lifestyle.
7. Try some hot conversation starters
We all know foreplay is a fun and crucial part of memorable lovemaking but research shows couples have a hard time talking about what they want physically. Simply asking for what you want is a great way to start foreplay. But if you’re not quite sure where to begin, try some hot conversation starters like:
“What are three foreplay moves you love?“
“What are your best three sexual memories of us together?“
“How would you like me to undress?“
8. Experiment with kissing
Kissing is like a romance barometer; it’s the first thing we drop when romance starts waning. If you’ve noticed you’re kissing less often or less passionately, take it as an early warning sign you need to spice up the romance. There are so many ways to kiss your partner and so often we stick with the same old style. Have you tried maintaining eye contact when you kiss, stopping mid-kiss to build anticipation, or sharing fruit as you kiss?
9. Try body massage
Massage is great foreplay and when you’re on vacation you can take your time with this. Think about music, lighting, scented candles and massage oil. You may need to purchase these ahead of time and bring them with you. You can do a massage with or without clothes, and you can focus on different parts of the body, getting more and more erotic as you go.
10. Get to know the pleasure anatomy
Pornography focuses on penetration and it’s easy to skip straight there, but we need to slow things down. Take time to explore all your erogenous zones and get to know what turns your partner on. Don’t ignore the mons veneris, the outer and inner lips, the clitoris and the perineum.
If you take a little time to plan for intimacy, you can be assured you and your partner will connect deeply and your romantic getaway will be unforgettable. I’ve listed ten ideas out of many. The important thing is to discuss it with your partner, bear in mind your needs and expectations and pick what suits both of you.
MC Thauvette is a certified relationship coach, sexual educator and bestselling author, on a mission to teach individuals and couples how to inject fun into their relationships and reignite intimacy. As a certified Gottman evaluator, she draws on nearly 40 years of research from one of the most influential therapists in the last quarter century who has identified the core elements for a long-lasting relationship.