Intimacy is not something you discover; it's something you do. And it's an art. Opening your heart to your lover inspires your lover's heart to open to you.

In the early days of a relationship intimacy may seem easy and simple. The exitement of finding new love inspires openness and trust. Exploration is thrilling and fun as you are getting to know a new person.

Now -- imagine the same thrill and excitement as you connect with your longtime life partner! No matter how long you are with someone, there is always more to discover about them. There will always be new facets of yourself to reveal to them, in the ongoing dance of intimacy.

The books listed below are great resources for learning the art of intimacy. Practice with your Beloved!

Recommended Books on Intimacy

The Couples Companion: Meditations and Exercises for Getting the Love You Want, a Workbook for Couples by Harville HendrixThe Couples Companion: Meditations and Exercises for Getting the Love You Want, A Workbook for Couples

This collection of practical exercises gives couples a useful structure to help develop communication skills, conflict resolution skills and alternative ways for dealing with painful and powerful emotions. This is a toolbox to help you make significant improvements in your marriage or relationship. These exercises will enhance self-understanding as well as understanding your partner. 1994, Atria

Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning and Kim PalegCouple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work

Love takes work, but, when it comes to relationships, it pays to work smarter. This book, a revised and updated edition of a therapist-recommended classic, shows you how to work smarter in your relationship. This book helps you improve communication, cope better with problems, and resolve conflicts in healthy and creative ways. Each chapter teaches an essential skill, based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which can lead to greater happiness and deeper intimacy. 2006, New Harbinger

The Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships by Harriet LernerThe Dance of Intimacy: A Woman's Guide to Courageous Acts of Change in Key Relationships

Lerner outlines the steps to take so that good relationships can be strengthened and difficult ones can be healed. She highlights the importance of women defining themselves, their needs and limits rather than emotionally distancing themselves from problems or over-reacting. She encourages women to explore their family of origin to clarify the genesis of non-adaptive behavior patterns. 1990, Perennial

The Fine Art of Erotic Talk: How to Entice, Excite, and Enchant Your Lover with Words by Bonnie GabrielThe Fine Art Of Erotic Talk: How To Entice, Excite, And Enchant Your Lover With Words

A whispered term of endearment, a flirtatious phrase, a secret suggestion, a cry of passion--words can be the most intimate gift that lovers share. This guide to the sensual power of words invites us to explore the erotic potential in verbal communication, as Bonnie Gabriel shows how words can arouse desire, reveal and fulfill fantasies, and infuse lovemaking with romance and fire. Discover how words can deepen intimacy, heighten sensuality, intensify eroticism, and fulfill your every fantasy when you master The Fine Art of Erotic Talk. 1996, Bantam

The Fragile Bond: In Search of an Equal, Intimate, and Enduring Marriage by Augustus NapierThe Fragile Bond: In Search of an Equal, Intimate, and Enduring Marriage

Focusing on the author’s own marriage and on a group of case studies, Napier vividly illustrates the obstacles married couples face today, and offers help in overcoming them. 1990, HarperCollins

Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples by Harville HendrixGetting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples

This popular book is divided into three sections: the first, “the unconscious marriage” describes how left-over desires and behavior from childhood interfere with the current relationship. The second section “the conscious marriage” describes how a marriage could fulfill childhood needs in a positive manner. The third section is a course in relationship therapy which gives detailed exercises for both partners to follow in order to learn how to replace confrontational criticism with a healing process of mutual growth and support. 2001, Owl Books

The Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection by Gina OgdenThe Heart and Soul of Sex: Making the ISIS Connection

Based on a landmark sex survey, researcher and sex therapist Ogden found "the language of spiritual experience comes closest to expressing the fullness of our sexual response, for it is the language of connection and ecstasy." The book guides the reader on a path to her sexual "center" where healing, ecstasy and transformation occur. 2006, Trumpeter
Read an extensive review of The Heart and Soul of Sex »

The Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love by Stella ResnickThe Heart of Desire: Keys to the Pleasures of Love

Psychologist and sex therapist Stella Resnick, PhD draws on the latest research for clues to unravel the love-lust dilemma. This puzzling conundrum affects many men and women who find it difficult or impossible to feel strong desire for the person they love deeply. Dr. Resnick explains how early socialization can inhibit desire as lovers grow into commitment and start to feel like family members. She offers a groundbreaking 10-Step Loving Sex Program to help lovers restart their emotional and erotic intimate connection. 2012, Wiley

Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships by Sue JohnsonHold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships

Dr. Sue Johnson developed Emotionally Focused Therapy over 20 years ago, and it has become the couple therapy with the highest rate of success. This approach focuses on your emotional connection with your partner, de-escalating conflict, creating a safe emotional connection, and strengthening the bond between you. Hold Me Tight presents this highly effective therapy model for the general public. 2011, Piatkus Books

Intimacy: Trusting Oneself and the Other by OshoIntimacy: Trusting Oneself and the Other

"Hit-and-run" relationships have become common in our society, but something is missing -- a quality of intimacy. This quality has very little to do with the physical, though sex is certainly one possible door. Far more important is a willingness to expose our deepest feelings and vulnerabilities, with the trust that the other person will treat them with care. Ultimately, the willingness to take the risk of intimacy has to be grounded in an inner strength that knows that even if the other remains closed, even if that trust is betrayed, we will not suffer any permanent damage. In this gentle and compassionate guide, Osho takes his readers step-by-step through what makes people afraid of intimacy, how to encounter those fears and go beyond them, and what they can do to nourish themselves and their relationships to support more openness and trust. 2001, St. Martin's Griffin

Intimate Communion: Awakening Your Sexual Essence by David DeidaIntimate Communion: Awakening Your Sexual Essence

David Deida, internationally known for his work in personal growth and intimate relationships, shares the deep understandings and effective techniques that he has refined through his 20 years of consultation, research and spiritual practice. Learn how to keep your relationships growing--beyond the sexually neutralized roles so typical of today--and create a relationship that is spiritually erotic, sexually deep and passionately committed to love. 1995, HCI

Intimate Strangers: Men and Women Together by Lillian RubinIntimate Strangers: Men and Women Together

This book explains how the differences between women and men arise and how they affect such critical issues as intimacy, sexuality, dependency, work and parenting. Lillian Rubin decodes human behavior with a lively combination of intuition and scholarship and offers hope for every man and woman who has yearned for an intimate relationship and wondered why it seemed so elusive. 1990, Perennial

Journey of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love by John WelwoodJourney of the Heart: The Path of Conscious Love

This book stands out as a poetically written, wisdom-filled guide to a deeper understanding of the desires and directions of the human heart. The book does not provide easy answers or quick fixes; it gives instead superb suggestions for joining in the most powerful and spiritual union possible. Welwood offers advice for couples on using love’s challenges to grow as individuals and in their relationships. He shows people how the most difficult and confusing areas of relationships can be used to awaken the deepest human strengths and resources. 1996, Perennial

Keeping the Love You Find by Harville HendrixKeeping the Love You Find

This guide for singles who seek a loving and rewarding romantic relationship shows readers how to meet the challenges of a new relationship and avoid making the same mistakes, and how to deal with emotional issues and improve their odds of achieving the kind of relationship they most deeply want. Hendrix especially focuses on how to maintain a positive relationship with someone you love over the long term. 1993, Atria

Lesbian Couples: A Guide to Creating Healthy Relationships by Merilee Clunis and Dorsey GreenLesbian Couples: A Guide to Creating Healthy Relationships

For lesbians (as for all couples) achieving and sustaining intimacy remains a challenge. From mind-reading and making assumptions to conflict and disillusionment, the book examines the strengths and weakness, flagging potential problem areas and offering real-life examples and solutions to the challenges lesbian couples experience. 2005, Seal Press

Love and Awakening: Discovering the Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship by John WelwoodLove and Awakening: Discovering the Sacred Path of Intimate Relationship

Psychologist Welwood challenges couples to approach difficulties as opportunities for spiritual growth rather than conflict. This is a guidebook for couples seriously committed to spiritual and personal growth. It provides a wealth of practical guidance on how to deal with difficult problems and includes lively dialogues from Welwood’s workshops that illustrate his ideas. 1997, Perennial Currents

Love in the time of ColicLove in the Time of Colic: The New Parents' Guide to Getting It On Again

Sex. After. Baby. How do new parents, exhausted with sleepless nights, find the time and energy to continue the warm sexual relationship they enjoyed before becoming parents? Many couples struggle to find ways to even talk about the problem. In Love in the Time of Colic, authors Kerner and Raykeil show the way. Their premise: that sex matters . . . a lot. It's the glue that holds couples together and keeps lovers from becoming simply roommates or co-parents. Funny and frank, Love in the Time of Colic will help parents take the charge out of this once-taboo subject, and put it back where it belongs -- in the bedroom. 2009, Harper

Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True partnership by Daniel Ellenberg and Judith BellLovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True Partnership

Monogamy is and always has been a challenge. Though our culture values long-term intimate relationships it has failed to provide the necessary tools for achieving such relationships. Taking the position that we are all beginners who lack the proper framework for creating a lasting passionate and loving union Daniel Ellenberg and Judith Bell have created a straightforward and accessible guide to successful coupling-and jubilant eroticism. 1995, Aslan Publishing

Lovers for Life: Creating Lasting Passion, Trust, and True partnership by Daniel Ellenberg and Judith BellLove Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships

Sue Johnson, PhD explains how the need for connection is our first and most basic human instinct. Romantic love is an attachment bond, like between mother and child. This love buffers us from stress and makes us stronger in the face of life?s challenges. Dr. Johnson, creator of Emotionally Focused Therapy, shows how to use your ?love sense? to deal with difficult challenges in romantic relationships, enhancing and repairing the bond with your partner. 2013, Little, Brown and Company

Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie CoontzMarriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage

When considered in the light of history, "traditional marriage" is not so traditional at all. Author Coontz argues that marriage has always been in flux, and "almost every marital and sexual arrangement we have seen in recent years, however startling it may appear, has been tried somewhere before." Coontz's fascinating study places current concepts of marriage in broad historical context. 2005, Viking Adult

Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic by Esther PerelMating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic

Focusing on "erotic intelligence", psychotherapist Perel asserts that languishing desire in a relationship actually results from all the factors people look for in love and marriage: grounding, meaning, continuity. She recommends several proposals for rekindling eroticism: cultivating separateness (autonomy) in a relationship rather than closeness (entrapment); exploring dynamics of power and control (i.e., submission, spanking); and learning to surrender to a "sexual ruthlessness" that liberates us from shame and guilt. Perel sanctions fantasy and play and offers the estranged modern couple a unique richness of experience. 2006, HarperCollins

Naked Intimacy: How to Increase True Openness in Your Relationship by Joel BlockNaked Intimacy: How to Increase True Openness in Your Relationship

Each of us longs to be loved and accepted for the person we truly are. Love relationships, at their best, provide an opportunity to discover and nurture our authentic selves. Ironically, our need for validation--or fear of rejection--is often so strong that we become guarded from the most important person in our lives: our love partner. The soul-baring intimacy and willingness to know and be known that made the beginning of love so passionate and exciting is instead replaced with feelings of apprehension, loneliness, and alienation. We may wonder if it is possible to regain genuine connection. Written by a leading couples therapist, Naked Intimacy illuminates the true meaning of intimacy and shows us how to achieve and maintain it over the long term. 2002, McGraw-Hill

A Natural History of Love by Diane AckermanA Natural History Of Love

From Library Journal: "Ackerman mines deep within the caves of human emotion for artifacts of "the great intangible": love. Proceeding with the disdainful understanding that sociologists prefer to study negative behaviors and emotions, Ackerman sets out on her exploration by reviewing the lessons provided across time by such lovers as Antony and Cleopatra, Orpheus and Eurydice, Dido and Aeneas, Abelard and Eloise, and Romeo and Juliet. During this journey, she explores the neurophysiology of love and exposes the components of modern-day relationships, from the "New Age Sensitive Guy" to sexual chic. With dazzling poetic charm and insight, she uses history, literature, science, psychology, and personal experience as tools to illuminate the vigor and vehemence of the thrilling, devastating, and comforting phenomenon of love." 1995, Vintage; Later edition

Partners in Pleasure: Sharing Success, Creating Joy, Fulfilling Dreams -- Together by Paul pearsall, Ph.D.Partners in Pleasure: Sharing Success, Creating Joy, Fulfilling Dreams -- Together

Paul Pearsall's research shows that individual success and the solitary pursuit of happiness may be hazardous to one's health. Although many self-help books champion the singular approach to success and personal power as the path to well-being, Partners in Pleasure challenges this "singularity" by presenting new research and ancient cultural lessons regarding collective and connective ways to fulfillment and wellness. Drawing in part on 2,000-year-old Polynesian wisdom, this book shows how to go beyond self-fulfillment to shared pleasure. 2001, Hunter House

Passage to Intimacy by Lori H. Gordon and Jon FrandsenPassage to Intimacy

We are all pathfinders today, working our way through uncharted territories as we seek to build and sustain loving co-equal relationships for the first time in human history. In our rapidly changing world, relationships that thrive create in us a sense of security, safety, enhanced health and well being. Most of all, love, joy and pleasure in companionship provide depth and meaning in our lives. We do not have to lose what we work so hard to achieve. We do not have to sabotage our dearest dreams. As human beings, we are all miracles capable of remarkable learning, growth and change. We can understand what went wrong in previous relationships or what is going wrong now. We can make changes if we choose to use what we learn. 2001, Fireside, revised edition

Passionate Marriage: Love, Sex and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships by David SchnarchPassionate Marriage: Love, Sex and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships

Schnarch says that a man is more likely to let a relationship suffer in order to hold on to his sense of self, while a woman is more apt to let her identity suffer to help strengthen a relationship. Schnarch explains how to alter this pattern, encouraging each partner to move towards “differentiation” -- which means holding on to the self while simultaneously remaining in contact with one’s partner. Schnarch teaches how to find inner strength and resilience that can be used to reaffirm a relationship and reignite sex. A classic, highly recommended. 2009, W.W. Norton & Company

The Power of Two: Secrets of a Strong and Loving Marriage by Susan Heitler and paula SingerThe Power of Two: Secrets Of a Strong and Loving Marriage

This practical guide for strengthening marriage offers advice for couples seeking to understand themselves and each other, including dealing with differences, supporting each other, building emotional and sexual intimacy, and living together with kindness. 1997, New Harbinger

Receiving Love: Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly HuntReceiving Love: Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved

This book addresses a common relationship problem: the difficulty of accepting love which may be expressed by criticizing a gift from one's partner or spurning an intimate gesture. The authors point out that there are many ways to defend yourself against someone else's desire to encourage, help or love you. This may occur through overvaluing your partner and feeling unworthy of his or her love or through devaluing that partner and seeing him or her as unworthy of giving love. The authors provide concrete steps to help you learn how to receive love in the vulnerable context of an intimate relationship. 2005, Atria

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman and Nan SilverThe Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert

This highly ranked self-help book offers positive approaches for helping couples make sense of their difficulties and work to make their relationship successful. Gottman’s principles for successful marriage include turning toward each other instead of away, letting your partner influence you, moving through conflict and creating shared meaning. 2000, Three Rivers Press

Slow SexSlow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm

The truth is: Most women do not have satisfying sex lives. Slow Sex can change that. This life-altering guide teaches men and women how to use the practice of Orgasmic Meditation to slow down, connect emotionally, and achieve authentic female sexual satisfaction. The promise: In just fifteen minutes every woman can become orgasmic. And, with the right partner and the right technique, that orgasm could last and last! This book is the argument for daily intimacy, and for paying attention as the foundation of pleasure, all with a focus on the female experience. 2011, Grand Central Life & Style

Slow Sex: The Path to fulfilling and Sustainable SexualitySlow Sex: The Path to Fulfilling and Sustainable Sexuality

While fast, hot, orgasm-driven sex can bring momentary satisfaction, in the long run it can become boring and mechanical, causing many couples to lose interest and stop making time for physical intimacy. The first step to revive a waning sex life or make a healthy one more fulfilling, says author Diana Richardson, is to make sex a conscious decision rather than an accidental encounter. Focusing on eye contact, subtle sensations, and deep breathing, Diana's practice of slow sex awakens the body's innate mechanism for ecstasy, unlocking the door to extraordinary realms of sensitivity, sensuality, and higher consciousness. 2011, Destiny Books

SpousonomicsSpousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes

During pre-crash 2008, Szuchman and Anderson came up with a novel idea: write a book about marriage, using economic principles to resolve common conflicts. Lesson One: overconfidence contributes not just to booms and busts in the wider economy, but booms and busts in marriage, too. Lesson Two: sex often comes down to a simple question of supply and demand -- a smart incentive can get your spouse to do almost anything you want (almost). Another insight from behavioral economics: due to the principle of "loss aversion" we will do almost anything to keep from losing, which is why two-thirds of married couples keep fighting even when they know it's "a losing battle." This interesting take on married life is filled with useful wisdom. 2011, Random House

Tantric Love: Feeling vs Emotion: Golden Rules to Make Love Easy by Daina Richardson and Michael RichardsonTantric Love: Feeling vs Emotion: Golden Rules to Make Love Easy

What happens when suddenly the wind changes and the loving connection between two partners is disrupted for hours or even days? Why is love associated with ups and downs? The answer is simple although not obvious - usually a wave of emotion which has roots in the past floods the atmosphere. The authors show in easy to follow steps how to recognize emotions, to leave them behind, and to create space for the expression of real feelings where love has a chance. 2010, O Books

Undefended LoveUndefended Love

The path to true intimacy is a difficult one. In this book, two psychotherapists teach that everyone has the capacity to love without defenses or qualifications and to know themselves so deeply that real intimacy becomes a lifelong expression of their deepest nature. Problems and conflicts that inevitably arise in relationships can become opportunities for a deeper connection. Through illuminating case studies, guided self-inquiries, and challenging exercises, readers learn to engage in a deeper dialogue with their partners, express profound aspects of their nature, and discover that undefended loving can bolster inner strengths they never knew they had. 2000, New Harbinger Publications

Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by John GottmanWhy Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last

Researcher Gottman found that healthy marriages were those in which couples were able to resolve conflicts through one of three styles of problem solving: validating, conflict avoiding and volatile. The book offers a four-step program for breaking through negativity and allowing one’s natural problem solving abilities to flourish. 1995 Simon and Schuster

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