5 Sex Tips That Are Especially Important For People In LTRs To Read

Photographed by Natalia Mantini.
When you’re in a long-term relationship, you might have sex for a variety of reasons: because you need to relax after a stressful day at work, because your partner did something inadvertently sexy while unloading the dishwasher, or — hey — because it’s Tuesday and you’re in the mood. There doesn’t always have to be a specific reason why you want to crawl into bed with bae, but experts agree that having a healthy sex life is an important factor within a happy, fulfilling relationship. And not just because of the potential of orgasms at the finish line: Turns out, getting physically intimate can boost emotional intimacy, too.

But all too often, people in LTRs stop prioritizing sex, which can affect other parts of the relationship as well. According to Esther Boykin, a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship coach, sex is a crucial ingredient in healthy relationships because it “has the power to truly bond you to each other,” and it can “nurture and maintain” emotional connection.

“Sex takes the power of touch as expression to a whole new level,” Boykin tells Refinery29. “Sex requires us to be vulnerable and attuned to our partners in ways that no other activity can.”

Plus, studies suggest that sexually satisfied couples tend to be happier in their relationships overall. If this is true, is there a way to harness the power of sex to get more emotional bang (so to speak) for your buck? As of now, there’s no scientific evidence that that’s the case, but we thought there might be a few specific sex positions that could potentially bring partners closer together than others. So we talked to sex experts to see which techniques they recommend to help make relationships happier and more connected.

Of course, each couple is different, so these aren’t one-size-fits-all, but at the very least, these positions provide a great start for couples looking to get out of their sexual comfort zones together. Ahead, five sex positions that just might make your relationship stronger.

(Need more sex-position inspiration? We've got you covered.)

The gap between what we learned in sex ed and what we're learning through sexual experience is big — way too big. So we're helping to connect those dots by talking about the realities of sex, from how it's done to how to make sure it's consensual, safe, healthy, and pleasurable all at once. Check out more here.

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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Cowgirl/Cowboy
This one is often known as “woman on top” or “cowgirl” (though those labels are a bit limiting in terms of who’s having sex with whom and how). While the receiver might enjoy being on top because of the deep penetration it provides, their partner can enjoy the fantastic view. Boykin says that, in addition to being physically ideal for both partners, this position also encourages people to really, really look at each other. This boosted intimacy can positively impact your relationship out of the bedroom, too, according to Boykin.

“[Cowgirl/cowboy] leaves both of your hands free to touch and caress other erogenous zones, and when [the person on top is] facing forward, you have good eye contact,” she explains. “Tuning into each other's pleasure through eye contact and mutual, though not necessarily simultaneous, climax can really heighten the intimacy of sex.”
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Side By Side
While sex involves movement, kissing, sweating, and all of that good stuff, what it really boils down to is actually pretty simple: skin-to-skin contact. Boykin says that one of the ways to make sex more personal and help you feel a stronger (and ahem, deeper) connection to your partner is by really thinking about the bare-bones basics of sex and focusing on simply touching one another more. Side-by-side sex, in which your bodies are totally linked with one another, is a great way to do that.

“Touch has long been shown to increase trust, security, and emotional connection: Just look at the positive benefits of holding a baby next to your bare chest,” Boykins explains. “Those same hormones continue to work through our adult lives, and the more skin-to-skin contact you have, the more those feelings of attachment to one another can grow.” (And as more research reveals how important touch is to bonding, communication, and health, studies suggest she’s right.)

If your relationship has seen happier days, Boykin recommends trying naked cuddling before you go into full-on side-by-side sex.

“The sensation of full-body skin contact is not only very pleasurable, it can be very emotionally bonding,” Boykin says.
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Cradle Position
This one has many of the same benefits of “cowgirl/cowboy,” but it adds an element of sweetness. In this position, the receiver is on top cradling their partner with their legs as both bodies touch, molding into one another. As Coleen Singer, the resident sexologist at Sssh.com (a porn site directed at women), explains, the thing that makes this position so intimate and great for your relationship is that you’ll feel protected, powerful, and safe in your partner’s arms.

“You can feel one another’s heartbeat and breath — that allows you to get even closer,” Singer tells Refinery29. “This is very intimate and stimulating, and gives you face to face interaction, allowing each partner to really look deep into each other’s eyes and work together to find what pace works for you.”
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Missionary Position
We’ll venture to say that the most tried-and-true sex position is missionary, and for good reason: It feels good and it allows you to take it slow. But when life gets busy, you might only stay in missionary for a hot second before moving on to another position that will get you and your partner off faster. While that’s effective for a quickie, if you want to take time to focus on being connected, slowing down the pace can help, says psychologist and therapist Dr. Nikki Martinez. She suggests that you think about when you first met your partner and you were just getting to know each other’s bodies while you linger in this position.

“Hold hands and put them over your partner’s head,” she says. “Stare into their eyes, rub your hands up and down their body, wrap your legs around your partner, and share lots of hugs and kisses throughout.”
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Your Favorite Position
While Martinez says that any position in which you are looking at one another and have plenty of skin-to-skin contact will help build connection, finding deeper bonds through sex is not always about a specific position or a magical sex solution that’ll help your relationship. Often, it’s about remembering the moves that are great for you and your partner simply because you both like them. Just like you might have your favorite restaurant for dates or a go-to karaoke duet, you may also have a mutual favorite position in bed.

“The key with sex that makes your relationship stronger is that you both find pleasure and joy in the process,” Boykin says. “Figuring out your ‘favorite’ position is good for your relationship, because it forces you to actually talk about what position you like the most, which is a crucial part of having a great sex life.”
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