6 Ways to have Radically Intimate Sex.

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“Sometimes I get real lonely sleeping with you.” ~ Haruki Murakami, A Wild Sheep Chase


We want intimacy and avoid sex. Or we fear intimacy and crave sex.

There is a pervasive confusion about sex and intimacy. We use the words interchangeably, but purely physical intimacy stops way short of a meaningful experience or a sustainable connection. The more we focus on the physicality of sex—how we look, what we wear, toys and techniques—the further we get from true intimacy.

Here are my six suggestions for having radically intimate sex.

1. Shhhhh: No Talking

Often when we think of intimacy, we think about the sharing of secrets. There is something intimate about verbalizing our innermost thoughts and desires—especially when it comes to sex. However, as alluring as fantasy can be, by its very definition, it’s a way of escaping reality. And we tend to hide behind our words, using conversation as a means of avoiding vulnerability. We tell people who we are instead of showing them.

True intimacy with a lover happens in the silent moments of presence and connectedness between words.

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Practice #1: Set a specific time to meet in the bedroom without speaking a single word. Spend an hour together, not talking, before any physical intimacy begins. Show up clean—physically and emotionally. This is an opportunity to let our stories fall away—as individuals and as a couple—making room for a deep, non-verbal, energetic connection.

2. Make It Anti-Climactic: No Orgasm

When Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination” he meant that when we focus on getting to a particular goal, we miss value in the moments along the way. And so it is with sex. There are reports that women can have 11 different kinds of orgasms. From the time men are boys, they are fascinated with ejaculating (it’s a built-in, biological preoccupation on which the survival of the species depends!). We have misunderstood the destination of sex to be orgasm, and by doing so, robbed ourselves of some potentially powerful opportunities for both pleasure and intimacy.

Practice #2: Agree upfront to forgo reaching orgasm. Take the possibility completely off the table, for both of you. By doing so, you provide space to be present and find appreciation of each moment for the pleasure and connection it brings, without distraction. Take turns bringing each other close and backing off. Notice the powerful bond created as you hold each other on the brink of ecstasy.

3. Like a Lava Lamp: Slow It Way Down

We live in a fast-paced, over-stimulating, 140-character-status-update kind of world. As a culture, we are usually focused on “doing” rather than “being.” Because we juggle so many responsibilities, sex tends to become just another thing on the “To Do List.”

Rushing through the “doing of sex” does not encourage the “being” of intimacy.

Practice #3: Create a bubble of time and space to climb into together. Do whatever it takes to enable getting lost in your own world together. Make a conscious decision not to rush. Let energy flow between  you like a lava lamp. Moving verrrrry slowly, savor each moment of sensation and allow intimacy to rise.

4. Sealed with a Kiss: Undress Each Other

Whether it’s your first time together, or you’ve been having sex for 30 years, giving your body to your lover is a gift. To receive your partner’s body is a privilege. Don’t let modesty or habit stop you from honoring this generous exchange.

Practice #4: This practice is most comfortable done with the lights dimmed or by candlelight. Undress each other by taking turns removing one article of clothing at a time. As each piece comes off, gently kiss the part of the body revealed in gratitude.

5. In and Out: Breathe Life Into It

It is a technique in meditation to turn the focus from thoughts to the breath. In Tantra, partners will “match breath” as a way of forming an energetic connection that is not based on the giving and receiving of physical pleasure.

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Practice #5: Begin in a simple embrace. Spend a few minutes slowing and synchronizing your breath. Silently negotiate a rhythm that is comfortable for both of you. Pause at the top of each inhale and at the bottom of each exhale, creating a moment of mutual stillness. Breathing together is facilitated by cooperation and consideration for each other. Try to maintain this collaboration as sex unfolds.

6. Windows to the Soul: Eye Gazing

Eye contact is a distinct point of connection. Yet, it is common to keep one’s eyes closed during sex. Extended eye contact reveals vulnerability, and so it can be a powerful facilitator of intimacy.

Practice #6: Sit on the floor facing each other and gaze into each other’s eyes without looking away for 20 minutes. Shifting from eye to eye helps sustain the gaze. Maintain eye contact as much as possible as sex unfolds. Play with looking into each other’s eyes all the way through orgasm. It is nearly impossible to climax with open eyes (like sneezing).

Gazing into your lover’s eyes at the moment of release just might be the very definition of intimacy.

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author: Zoe Kors

Image: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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anonymous Jun 20, 2015 2:53pm

This should be required reading for every high school sex education class. Compassion should not be left only to cover the nuts and bolts of medical issues.

anonymous Apr 5, 2015 10:58am

Thanks for your article, I found myself agreeing to much of what I read. I too appreciate the pure, unadulterated bliss that we share in moments of intimacy. My inner being knows that these are the most sublime of experience of love making and all the encompassing feelings of love, mutual affection and tenderness are worth waiting for.

anonymous Mar 15, 2015 7:53am

That’s what I want every time but sex!! Thanks for sharing this subject by literature way!!

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 11:38am

This is wonderful. I am wondering what you intend by 1 hour together without talking before physical intimacy begins. I am certain you do not mean to both be reading the newspaper together! but you mention the looking into your partner's eyes for 20 minutes as a separate practice, so that's not it. Please explain what you envision partners doing during this time.

    anonymous Feb 10, 2015 11:11am

    Thanks for the question, seekingintimacy, it's a great one and I'm happy to clarify. The idea of spending an hour together without talking is to simply break the patterns of communication and interaction that happen in the course of daily life. In our very full and often hurried lives, we tend to discuss our jobs, our families, deep existential issues or complex logistical challenges of getting through the days, weeks, or months. No matter if you meditate, do yoga, get ready for intimacy, eye gaze or engage in the practice of yab yum (see my article, "Tantra 101"), taking our words and stories out of the space builds a clean foundation for a pure energetic connection. So in other words, it's not so much about what you choose to DO in that time of being in the same room without words, but how you choose to BE with each other in that time. It's almost a deprogramming, an unwinding into a place where radical intimacy can begin.

anonymous Feb 4, 2015 9:33am

This was lovely. I will definitely be sharing with my partner. What an inspiration!

anonymous Jan 30, 2015 6:31pm

I am fortunate to have this kind of intimacy. A very good friend of mine and I were having the most amazing sex, during which, he told me that we were having Tantra sex. I had never heard of that and I asked him what it is. When he explained it to me, I realized that this was something I had wanted my entire life. To experience this level of intimacy was only possible if I wasn't trying for it. I'm not the best at articulating this. I just know that was some out of this world shit! I am now in a relationship with the love of my life. This man is everything I ever dreamed of and more. I love making love to him, everything about it, about him, every time. But for some reason, we have not reached Tantra. I am insecure about my body with him. Nothing he does, it's me. I want so badly to let myself go with him the way I did with my friend. I guess my friend just had a way about him that naturally set me free of all my inhibitions. Anyway, I am totally satisfied with what I once had, and with what I have now.

anonymous Jul 10, 2014 6:27am

Had a no talking first date. It was absolutely amazing. It became obvious how words can get in the way.

There is a time for words, which seems to be usually when we don't want to speak. And a time for no words, when we think that we must speak.

On the "silent" date we discovered not only that our bodies knew what to do but that silence is not only golden but hot too.

    anonymous Jan 10, 2015 12:37pm

    What did you do on your no talking first date?

anonymous Jun 29, 2014 12:49pm

"why-oh-why can sex be so utterly magical while other times it leaves me incomplete?"
The answer I see is… Intimacy Without Story.
Intimacy is simply letting resistance and the need for control slide away.
No Story means not having any concept about each other in the way.
That includes not having any expectations, not having ANY judgement and not making assumptions (I get way better results by whispering a naughty question in my partners ear :-))
That also includes not being owned by any limiting belief I have about my own sexuality.
I am infinitely grateful for having experienced these few utterly magical encounters
with women that were truly caring, open, sensual, free, courageous, giving and
available in their hearts, allowing me to be exactly the same : caring, open,
sensual, free, courageous, giving, available and ravishing.
And I see that these encounters could be this way because I was committed enough
to set that context beforehand. And the beauty is that I/we did not even have to
be totally committed from the start. It is simply by opening up and starting to
give that the flower of the erotic melting can blossom.

anonymous Jun 10, 2014 1:14pm

Look, i'm all for experimenting boundaries within love and sex with my wife…but do you really think the average person has an hour to devote just to sit in a bedroom, not talking, breathing in each others faces, BEFORE we even get to sex?
Taking each other to the brink is great, and yes, I think it helps to build awareness of each others sexual sensations…but to take orgasms off the table, means while you're sleeping the night aware, your poor husband is suffering from blue balls.
Existential detective and vortex surfer??? Really? Zoe…..really?
I love yoga, and I am a fan of eastern philosophy and religions…but this makes you sound like you did a LOT of LSD in college.

    anonymous Jun 14, 2014 7:42am

    I agree with Craig alot here.

    As a guy, this article aweful and I'm sure that my gf would agree.

    We have mind boggling sex and yet are extremely intimate. We don't need all the above, just to share a good hug, a joke or a laugh togeather and just be extremely open to communicate everything about our experience.

    Looking into each others eyes for 20mins is just plain corny and great if your into tantic sex but won't replace great, honest and open communication with each other to talk about what really works and what doesn't.

anonymous May 24, 2014 5:31pm

Shakti…Thank you so much for your comment. I am not suggesting that you never reach orgasm or that you cannot have intimacy with orgasm. In our culture, we are so focused on orgasm as a goal, that many people miss the opportunity in the journey to get there. The very moment of orgasm is a point of disconnection between lovers as one merges into the infinite and divine realm of all that is. Playing on the edge of these worlds—holding back on the release—is some amazing territory to explore…together. Believe me…I love orgasms!

    anonymous May 24, 2014 7:57pm

    Zoe thanks for responding. I understand our culture's obsession with orgasm and your point about missing the journey. I still don't agree. Female orgasms, by their very nature, are all about the journey and not the destination, and the merging into the infinite is the closest two people can get together. The 'release' never happens at one point in the lovemaking but throughout (granted with some mighty epic peaks :)) so why hold off when each orgasm will only bring you closer to the beloved, make you want him more, love him more, feel him penetrate every cell of your being as if he's coming home to you?

      anonymous May 26, 2014 11:07pm

      Well…some women have a very hard time reaching orgasm. And the one of the great gifts to give oneself and our partner is to take if off the table completely. When it is not even an option, it can open new doorways that were previously shut tight, or invisible. I have never had trouble reaching orgasm, but holding back and playing with that energy from time to time (even in masturbation) afforded me so much expansiveness in the playing with the energy (shakti) that rises. Think about the building and the holding of that energy as you approach the edge and hold off…approach and hold. It's delicious and ecstatic. To carry that with you and move through your day living and breathing in that energy is amazing. Very beautiful. And very tantric. Orgasm creates intimacy (I do talk about that in #6) and I holding each other on the brink of orgasm creates orgasm—think about what incredible cooperation it takes to read and communicate through that process. Yum!

      Anyway…thank you again for the great conversation. Many blessings for a loving and intimate life—in bed and in general. 🙂

        anonymous Jun 1, 2014 10:16pm

        Zoe I love that we have such different experiences and perspectives to share on this wonderful subject. I agree that for women who don't orgasm easily it helps to take the pressure off completely. I didn't mean to take away from your beautiful piece, just add something to it and make the conversation richer. Thanks for sharing these tips.

          anonymous Nov 22, 2014 7:37am

          Great points and discussion. I do like the teasing as an exchange of energy as well. I see this both ways. Making love is an extraordinary gift from the universe. It is so fun to use this powerful energy in so many different forms.

anonymous May 24, 2014 12:51pm

Loved this article except #2. Which of my 7 orgasms should I forego during this radically intimate sex? I'm sorry but this proposal seems to come from someone who looks at female orgasm as something that ends pleasure and intimacy. I disagree with that. Orgasms in women, although climatic each time, are completely integrated into the experience of sexual oneness with the other. They come and go without disrupting the flow of love, passion and intimacy. Infact each one creates the space for my lover to move closer into me, both in the body and in the heart.

    anonymous Nov 22, 2014 7:33am

    I agree. I have many as well, and I feel each one brings me closer to the partner I am with. After two, my whole body feels completely open and melded with him. And then each one opens and connects me spiritually. It is like opening a vortex… completely cosmic.

anonymous May 5, 2014 12:45am

i shared with my girlfirend and she didn't understand it she only said: i feel a bit uncomfortable… :/

    anonymous Sep 3, 2014 10:29am

    I'm very sorry. Sex should be an open discussion. Hopefully one day she'll feel comfortably open about it.

anonymous May 2, 2014 1:14pm

Thanks so much, Finn. I am working on a book right now as an expanded and nuanced version of this article. Also read my article on Yab Yum partner meditation. That might be an even gentler way of allowing you partner to open up.

    anonymous May 9, 2014 1:08am

    Thank you for the Yab Yum pointer. It absolutely sounds like something worth looking into. Unfortunately, during sex with an adhd partner it's hard enough to keep their attention already. So I fear that even if I can get her to agree to try (which is highly unlikely, because it already "sounds boring") she will most likely interrupt because her mind wandered and other things are more interesting now.
    Maybe you should look into writing an article on sex for partners of adhd adults 🙂
    And good luck on your book!

anonymous May 2, 2014 11:45am

I absolutely loved the article. I've been trying to get my partner to get over her inhibitions when it comes to vulnerability and intimacy. Maybe getting her to read about those suggestions will have more impact than my failed attempts to get her to try some of these things. Thanks for writing them down!

anonymous Feb 24, 2014 11:17am

Wonderful – I am sharing with my husband and grown sons – no excuse rushing.

    anonymous Feb 27, 2014 1:37pm

    Fantastic. I love to hear that. 🙂

anonymous Jan 27, 2014 12:17pm

Loved the article. Going to fine tune some things but a lot of this is how my boyfriend and I already interact. Thanks for the information. 🙂

anonymous Jan 27, 2014 12:34am

Vulnerability maybe the most challenging of all human experiences. To admit to ourselves how deeply we can love, much less to another, takes a significant amount of courage. I've found that intimacy comes from an established trust and an opening of one's soul to another, while great sex can simply spark from chemistry. I agree, they often get confused and as much as we hope the two come in the same package, that's not always the case. I like how you've set a boundary between sex and intimacy to help couples experiences for themselves these differences. It takes commitment in a relationship to have sex, then move into making love, then finally brave f*#cking, then gloriously toggling between the three. May we all find true love and intimacy.

    anonymous Jan 27, 2014 11:55am

    Yes, Aquila, there is room for all of it! Amen!

anonymous Jan 26, 2014 11:27pm

Ugh!!! This…is natural, common sense. The fact that is almost instructional fares poor on humankind.

    anonymous Jan 27, 2014 11:54am

    Thanks for commenting, Charlie. Meditation is also common sense, and yet many of us need to be reminded to connect in a meaningful "natural" way…with ourselves and with each other.

anonymous Jan 20, 2014 12:26am

This. This is the best article I've read in months.

    anonymous Jan 20, 2014 12:11pm

    This makes my day, Kat. Thank you for commenting. It was written with love.

anonymous Jan 14, 2014 7:24am

…..phew… think I need a cigarette (and I don't smoke…lol….)

anonymous Jan 14, 2014 6:21am

As i was reading this i kept thinking this is what happened when i was last with my love. For days after we were kind of in a daze so connected and needing to be together we could not understand but we knew something was different. It was the most intimate sexual encounter we have ever had ,and we have I think a great sex life but this was just different.

anonymous Jan 13, 2014 8:55pm

This article rocks!! Holy cow someone has it down!! No words.

    anonymous Jan 13, 2014 11:17pm

    <3 Marime…Glad you enjoyed it.

anonymous Jan 13, 2014 6:58pm

Look at the etymology of INTIMACY:
Might have something to do why we enjoy a class we attend regularly, with no outside distractions/ attachments/expectations.
That's yoga.
ANd when does yoga happen? When does laughter happen? Orgasm? Breathing? NOW. ONLY NOW.

    anonymous Jun 12, 2014 7:38am



    IN + TO + ME + SEE


    anonymous Dec 3, 2015 4:04am

    I break down Intimacy as:
    acy = the ability to be
    in = in 🙂
    tim = time
    therefore, the ability to be in time (together in this present moment)

anonymous Jan 13, 2014 2:51pm

Beautifully written and so true on all points, Zoe. Nothing better than two being one, eyes locked, breath shared, the rest of the world melted away. Well done!!!

anonymous Jan 13, 2014 8:28am

As someone who operates under a model of explicit consent even with my most trusted and beloved partners, the "no talking" section of this piece is troubling to me. While silent love making may be ideal for some people, it can be terrifying for someone recovering from sexual trauma. Sadly, I do not think that people talk enough about what it is that they want during sex, and, at least for me, removing explicit verbal consent from sex has the potential to undo the work I have been doing to heal. I am not taking this piece as a universal instruction manual or anything. I just wanted to offer another perspective on intimacy.

    anonymous Jan 13, 2014 10:29am

    Thank you so much for your feedback, Iva. I appreciate the perspective. Yes, this is definitely not a manual for healing from sexual trauma. The practice of not talking comes from my work with couples who get caught in patterns and stories that are largely expressed through words. Many people don't even realize they are hiding behind words. For couple's who have a lot of history, or who tend to bring the details of their day into the bedroom, this can be a wonderful way to connect from the heart instead of the head. I fully support using these practices as they feel good and safe. Thank you again for sharing your concern. —Zoe

    anonymous Jan 14, 2014 3:31am

    I agree Iva, being a survivor myself. However, could a conversation maybe be had before hand that would help you feel more comfortable with that one? There would have to be in order to come to the agreements in the first place, right? Just my thoughts on that piece…
    I've never had the levels of intimacy described here and they sound rather delicious to me, but I do think it might take some time to get there, personally. Darn. 😉

    anonymous Jan 14, 2014 6:48pm

    i have been lucky to experience this type of connection with someone i loved and trusted completely, so for the first time in years since i suffered a sexual assault i was able to fully feel my sexuality and vulnerability. It was very frightening at times, but gazing into each others eyes was what anchored me back into reality and love. It was when we stopped looking into each others eyes that my mind would go off into horrible memories. Speaking openly about my history beforehand, and making an agreement with my partner to stay present and not judge no matter what came up made it easier for me to stay open and vulnerable. Love pierced through the pain, and i discovered that it went way beyond it, it reached ME.

      anonymous Jan 15, 2014 12:40pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Ali. What a beautiful healing. Brava to you for finding the courage to allow your partner in so deeply. And bravo to him (or her…) for being present to you in that tender space. Love!

    anonymous Jan 27, 2014 10:24am

    I had an incredible trigger with the idea of not speaking with my partner ~ especially durning intimacy ~
    I will feel into that experience a little more to see if there’s some flexibility :: maybe something to learn here, for me

    This was an excellent article none the less!

      anonymous Jan 27, 2014 12:28pm

      Above all…honor yourself. <3

anonymous Jan 12, 2014 8:20pm

Pure, innocent, bliss.. some words that came to mind. This article was divine, and to have experienced to understand this type of intimacy even more so..

In observation, over this past year I have found #3 to be the most difficult. Many are so hyper-focused on 'doing' that there's "no time" for being. Our 140-character society has people so over-stimulated they don't even know how to slow down, let alone how to begin building the bridge of trust to experience the level of intimacy you've described. With the embellishment of sitcoms, pop culture interpretations, and 'reality tv' it makes my heart ache for those who have lived their lives never having experienced the beauty you've articulated.. and I believe it's more common than we realize, especially among the very intimacy-confused younger generations..

Thank you for sharing!

    anonymous Jan 13, 2014 5:45pm

    Thank you for commenting. Yes…slowing down is a muscle that can be developed with practice. We have have such a limited version of sex in the media. It's can be wonderful and exciting, AND it can be smokin' hot to move slowly and be present to every nuance. Thank you for reading! —Zoe

anonymous Jan 12, 2014 7:56pm

That was beautiful. Thank you.

Marina Liebmann Oct 31, 2017 6:36pm

Excellent, article... My partner is my husband.. during.. the biggining..we clicked,.. and liked it. so much that I was always starting..and my husband would. contribute.. the same measure.. because of profound, deep lfeelings.. we expose, to each other, with our own personality.. that clicked.. in reality.. we were into it so much, that each one forgot about our ego.. his is very strong.. and ambitious.to be first.. that we will fight all the time.. I was so yound that I didn't know, how to react. in the first place.. but to let that go..all our Marriage.. we had arguments and Jealoscy , fights.. but we always.. come back to each other, and all finished with sex.. but ..was not aleays when I wanted.. and I aways was very sexual..!....but latter , a lot to do chores..and and responsibilities; what I like at my husbant.. is that lets go.. of his ego that is very strong. , completely ..thank you!.

Robert-Ted Elliott Jun 17, 2016 7:14pm

Like this article. However, in my relationship there is never enough time to slow down, it's always get it done, hope it doesn't take long, got to get moving, get the shopping done, laundry to do, is that kids I hear, our live in nanny might hear us, I don't feel like it, okay just a quickie (all the time). Perhaps the conneciton and desire is not there. Is this type of intimacy even possible outside of the first little whilie people are together, I doubt it very much. I give up,

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Zoë Kors

Zoë Kors is a writer, speaker, coach, and founder of The Big Libido, and other programs for women. She is committed to shifting the way we hold our sexuality, both individually and culturally, and to cultivating a sisterhood of wildly-expressed women. She lives in Los Angeles with her daughter, son, and dog. She can be found at ZoeKors.com, on Facebook and Twitter