There’s one common scene in cinema and TV that never fails to make us cringe:
You know that moment when the two main characters finally give in to their lust for each other…?
Where he pushes her against a wall (or a desk, or the kitchen bench)… hitches up her skirt… and just…
Sticks it right in 😫
Eugh. Even just writing that makes us recoil.
Yet we see this same kind of wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am on our screens over and over again.
Because apparently it’s “passionate”.
Now, don’t get us wrong – we’re all for passionate sex. We LOVE passionate sex.
But in our not-so-humble opinion, Hollywood gets it very, very wrong.
This leaves most couples lost and confused about what passionate sex really looks like. And confused about how to keep the passion in a relationship for the long term.
So if you want to learn the secrets to passionate sex – including what it actually looks like, how to have it, and the mistakes to watch out for – then keep reading.
Let’s start with the basics:
What Is Passionate Sex?
Passionate sex is sex where you feel deeply wanted and chosen by your partner. It involves an intense feeling of longing and is characterized by passion, intensity, and desire. It can include sex that is fast and energetic, or slow, mindful, and tender.
In other words, passionate sex is sex where you really freakin’ want each other.
Passionate sex gets to the core of what we crave in romantic relationships:
We want to feel loved and desired. We want to feel attractive and chosen. And we want to see that desire reflected in our sexual relationship.
Unfortunately, our culture is full of unhelpful messages around passionate sex. So here’s what passionate sex isn’t:
- It’s not performative
- It’s not rushing
- It’s not what you see in the movies
- It’s not what you see in porn
- It’s not goal-oriented
- It’s not about orgasms
What Does Passionate Sex Look Like?
There’s a wide range of styles when it comes to passionate sex. Examples include:
- Slow sex. Tenderly removing each other’s clothes, covering each other with kisses, and savoring every moment of contact – without rushing to penetration.
- Intimate sex. Looking deeply into each other’s eyes while whispering declarations of love and desire to one another.
- Romantic sex. Setting the scene with romantic music, rose petals on the bed, and scented candles around the room.
- Hard, fast, and eager sex. Tearing each other’s clothes off, grabbing at each other’s bodies, and racing towards intercourse that’s intense, deep, and fast. (OK, so Hollywood doesn’t have it completely wrong – but you’ll notice this isn’t the only way to have passionate sex.)
- Tantric sex. Intentionally moving sexual energy around the body and embracing sex as a spiritual practice and union with the divine.
- Dominant and submissive sex. One person takes control with the other surrendering and submitting. Including getting pinned down, tied up, or told what to do. (This is why 50 Shades of Grey was so popular – it depicted one specific version of ‘passionate sex’. While the writing may have been terrible, the sex itself captured an image of passion that’s highly erotic)
- Teasing and playful sex. Building anticipation by emphasizing ‘foreplay’ activities, and exploring a banquet of pleasure and play together.
- A mix of all the above.
The key takeaway is that passionate sex has many different expressions. The common factor is feeling enthusiastically wanted. And depending on your personal preferences, what that means will be unique to you.
It’s helpful to think of passionate sex as having lots of different flavors:
It might be spicy, it might be sweet, it might be dark and intense. And just like ice cream, you get to mix and match your favorite flavors however you like.
But why is passion so commonly associated with a fast pace and rough play?
Because it suggests that “I want you so much that it needs to happen right now! I can’t wait, I can’t slow down, I need you.”
And in theory, being wanted like that sounds sexy AF.
But here’s what’s also true:
Our minds and bodies need time to warm up and build arousal. Rushing to penetration – or any sexual activity – before you’re truly ready doesn’t feel good.
And for a lot of people, fast, hard, and intense sex isn’t all that pleasurable. Or at best it’s a ‘sometimes’ flavor, not an everyday staple.
Why Passionate Sex is Important For Your Relationship
Passionate sex is important because:
- It makes you feel loved and wanted by each other
- It feeds the spark and excitement in your relationship
- It keeps you interested in your sex life
- It improves confidence and self-esteem
- It helps to increase your own sexual desire
- It increases love and commitment in your relationship
- It makes you happier with your relationship – and life – overall
Like we said – we’re BIG fans of passionate sex.
So how do you have more passionate sex… even if you’ve been together for years? Let’s take a look:
How To Have Passionate Sex
1. Build Anticipation By Slowing Down
As much as we’re making the case that passionate sex doesn’t have to be fast, we totally get the imperative to hurry things along:
When you hunger for each other so intensely, you want to satisfy that urge. Right. Freakin’. Now.
But if you’re looking for an easy way to build passion in sex, try doing the opposite:
By slowing down, you prolong anticipation and build more want, hunger, and desire for each other.
It’s a similar concept to edging* (where you increase pleasure by delaying how long it takes to reach orgasm). While orgasm isn’t the goal here, slow sex can be far more passionate than the typical ‘hard and fast sex’ we’ve been sold by the porn industry and mainstream media.
And, the more time you spend getting turned on and aroused – whatever that looks like for you – the more enjoyable sex becomes.
Try it, and tell us we’re wrong 😉
2. Practice Being Present
Passionate sex happens when you’re right there in the moment with each other.
Not when you’re a million miles away or thinking about your to-do list. And certainly not when you’re laying there self-consciously critiquing yourself or your ‘performance’.
As with any mindfulness-based activity, staying present during sex can be a challenge. But your body can help:
Focus on what you’re feeling and experiencing right there in the moment to help you come back to presence. Take a deep breath and tune in:
- What feels good in your body?
- What sights, sounds, and sensations are pleasurable?
- How might you move your body to enhance the good feelings?
You can also actively cultivate passion by focusing on your partner:
How much you love them, how much you want them, and how much you enjoy being there with them.
3. Schedule Sex
Contrary to popular belief, passionate sex doesn’t have to be spontaneous.
Yes, spontaneous sex happens a lot in the passionate early days of a relationship. But in long-term relationships, getting in the mood takes conscious effort and open communication.
In our marriage, we’ve completely normalized scheduling sex. Which includes putting it on our calendar, and even casually discussing our next sex date over breakfast.
By removing the expectation that passionate sex should ‘just happen’, you clear the way for more fun and play in your sex life.
4. Bring The Confidence
Yes, we realize that any kind of advice that tells you to, “Just be more confident!” is wildly unhelpful. But hear us out:
Passionate sex has a particular kind of presence and self-assuredness to it. Like, you want your partner so much that you’re not ‘umming’ or ‘ahhing’ about it. You’re not being shy or second-guessing yourself.
Instead, you’re giving yourself full permission to want them. To follow your sexual impulses and express your authentic sexuality with authority and intensity.
Having said that, you also need to be attuned to and respectful of what your partner wants. After all, passionate sex isn’t just about your pleasure and enjoyment – it’s a mutual experience.
Confidence then is striking a balance between taking charge while also being in sync with your partner.
5. Build Emotional Connection
Despite common misconceptions, both women and men value emotional intimacy. It’s an important part of what we desire from relationships, and from sex.
As mentioned, passionate sex is about feeling wanted and chosen for who you are. Yes, that includes physical attraction. But more than that, feeling desired is a result of your partner truly knowing and understanding you.
Prioritizing emotional connection outside of the bedroom looks like a variety of things. Whether it’s a relationship check-in, regular date nights, or specific intimacy-building exercises, nurturing your connection is crucial.
To bring that connection into your sexual play, focus less on what sex looks like and more on how it feels emotionally:
Do you and your partner feel close to each other? How might you express that connection through your words or the way you touch each other?
A great place to start is to…
6. Make Lots Of Eye Contact
If you’re not used to it, prolonged eye contact can feel awkward AF. But it’s a super-simple way to up the intensity for more passionate sex.
Now, don’t overdo it – it’s not a staring contest. But incidental moments of intentional eye contact can rekindle your connection and make you both feel deeply wanted and chosen.
And if you’re nervous to try it? Mention beforehand that you’d like to experiment with making more eye contact as a way to connect during sex. That way, you both know what you’re trying to do, and why.
7. Follow Your Flirtatious Impulses
Flirting is a great way to build desire, anticipation, and yes, passion. So that when you do finally make it to the bedroom, there’s plenty of attraction and spark to light the fire.
Feel an impulse to kiss your partner on the neck? Follow it. Think your partner looks sexy in that outfit? Tell them. Feel the urge to brush past them in an enticing way? Go for it.
Do your attempts at flirting get shut down or rejected?
This is a clear warning sign there are some serious underlying resentments in your sex life. The Reignite Your Love Life online course will help you clear the tension and get your sex life back.
8. Express Your Want For Each Other
Remember how passionate sex is ‘sex where you really want each other’? Well, make that want really obvious by using your words.
Now, we get that talking during sex can be kinda intimidating. We’ve been sold a lie about what ‘dirty talk’ is supposed to sound like. And that can feel way too performative or out of character.
But there are lots of different ways you can express your want for each other that also feel authentic. Here are some options (in a variety of intensities):
- I want you so much/so bad
- I love you
- Fuck I love you
- You’re so beautiful
- OMG you’re so hot
- I can’t get enough of you/your ____
- I can’t wait to devour you/your ____
- I want you inside of me
- I want to taste you/your ____
- Your ____ feels so good
There are other ways to express your want for each other too, without saying a single word. Like…
9. Make Noise
The way you express pleasure during sex matters.
Those breathy moans and groans of delight you both make?
They activate the part of the brain that turns you ON and gets you aroused.
And, they give your partner important feedback that you’re actually into it, and that you really want them.
So practice getting out of your comfort zone and be generous with your pleasure sounds. Experiment with everything from whispers, breaths, and sighs, right up to moans, groans, and screams.
10. Play With Breath
This one’s straight out of the neo-tantra playbook:
Use your breath to move sexual energy around your body and build sexual intensity. The ‘how’ is surprisingly simple:
Breathe deeply and imagine sexual pleasure and energy moving up from your genitals and out to different parts of your body. Up your spine, out to your fingertips, to the very top of your head.
Experimenting with different speeds can build sensation in a variety of ways too:
Fast breaths can create intense, energetic feelings. While a slower breath can create feelings of depth and power.
You can also practice breathing in time with your partner for a powerful sense of union and synergy between you.
Playing with breath in this way might feel weird at first. Our natural tendency during sex is to breathe shallowly, or hold the breath entirely. So take an attitude of curiosity and experimentation here and discover what works for you.
11. Set The Mood
Want to create the best conditions for passionate sex?
Then pay attention to the setting:
Your environment can make you feel relaxed and open to sexual play. Or it can be full of distractions and stressors that make it difficult to get in the mood.
Not only that, your environment can reflect how you feel about your partner too:
Setting the scene with candles or vibey music can communicate to your partner that you care about them. On the other hand, a cluttered or messy bedroom can communicate disinterest or a lack of effort.
That’s why for many people – women especially – romance is synonymous with passionate sex. Because romance makes you feel special and cared for.
So think about how you might up the vibes for your next sexual encounter by getting more intentional with your space.
12. Know What You Like & Communicate What You Want
If it’s not already obvious, sex is a complex and multi-faceted experience. And what feels passionate to you can change from moment to moment.
This means you can’t expect your partner to read your mind or know exactly what you want. You have to work it out for yourself and be able to talk openly about it.
If that sounds daunting, here’s a great place to start:
Reflect on what kind of touch feels passionate to you. What makes you feel wanted, cherished, and desired?
Is it light, soft, or feathery touch? Is it firm and strong, where you feel tightly held and devoured?
Where and how do you like to be touched? With fingertips, fingers, or whole hands?
Work out what you like through play and exploration, whether alone or with your partner. Then, begin incorporating what you’ve discovered by using this simple conversation framework:
“I’d like to bring more _____________ into our sex life. Would you be open to exploring that with me?”
If sex is a problem in your relationship, and you want more physical intimacy and connection, check out our complete guide to reigniting your love life.
Having arguments, conflicts, and fights you don’t know how to resolve? The Conflict To Connection communication course for couples is for you.
Or if you’re ready to step up and transform your relationship, schedule a time to learn more about our premium mens, womens, and couples coaching programs.
Sources & References
Gonzaga, G. C., Turner, R. A., Keltner, D., Campos, B., & Altemus, M. (2006). Romantic love and sexual desire in close relationships. Emotion, 6(2), 163–179. https://doi.org/10.1037/1528-35184.108.40.206
Jewel, T. Reviewed by Brito, J. Ph.D. (2023) A Guide to Mastering Orgasm Control for More Satisfying Sex, Healthline.
Sarah Hunter Murray & Lori Brotto (2021) I Want You to Want Me: A Qualitative Analysis of Heterosexual Men’s Desire to Feel Desired in Intimate Relationships, Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 47:5, 419-434 https://doi.org/10.1080/0092623X.2021.1888830
Sprecher S. (2002). Sexual satisfaction in premarital relationships: associations with satisfaction, love, commitment, and stability. Journal of sex research, 39(3), 190–196. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224490209552141
Reece Stockhausen & Jodie Milton have made improving people’s lives and relationships both their passion, and their career. With over 25 years experience in the Personal Development industry, and 8 years coaching singles and couples, their no-BS advice has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bustle, and HuffPost.
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