Intimacy in today’s society is in many ways a taboo subject. We hear the word and think of Honeymoon suites, PDA and closed-door activities that are none of our business, and so we shy away from openly seeking to build intimacy into all facets of our lives.

But the physical side of intimacy, though important, is just one component. Healthy, intimate connections are first and foremost emotional-based ones, and until we explore and embrace the vulnerabilities within ourselves, we can’t have meaningful relationships with others.

Human beings have an innate desire for connection because it fulfills our need for safety and security. That safety is threatened when we experience pain, so we often bury negative feelings in a deeply inaccessible place, fearful of addressing what’s at the core of our anxieties or unhappiness. Our physical health can also suffer along with our mental health, as we’re less in tune with what our body is telling us.

A mindfulness meditation approach to intimacy gives us the mental stability to observe what’s going on internally so we can better connect with others. When we’re aware of our primary emotions but not judgmental of them, we might discover that the anger we think we’re feeling is actually something else. This process of distilling our emotions gets us to truth, and we’re better able to communicate our needs from a place of honesty.

Is it scary to take that journey inward? Of course. Being vulnerable is not our default setting. But when it comes to our ability to have lasting relationships with others, it’s the willingness to speak from a place of truth that will be the quickest path to getting what we need. Meditation slows down our minds and helps us focus on the now, which makes us more empathetic towards our partners.

We have many needs within a romantic relationship: the need to feel loved, often in a certain and specific way; the need to feel important, to feel wanted, to feel heard; even the need to simply be enough – to feel secure that our partner requires nothing extra of us. Conflict arises when a need is not met, though fights stemming from your partner’s unmet needs tend to disguise themselves as something much more banal (think taking out the trash, for example). The quicker we can identify the root cause of this Negative Cycle of Interaction, the quicker we can correct the hurt and kindle intimacy.

Physical desires are no different – awareness of our own needs helps us give and receive love in a connected way with our partner. Daily meditation provides the safety to take the risk of vulnerability alongside a loved one, which only deepens physical connections.

If the thought of intimacy makes you uncomfortable, let guided meditation help you discover the source of your unease. Be an observer of your own feelings first to uncover your truths, then embrace what’s really there so you can be a more compassionate, intimate and aware participant in each of your relationships.