Fostering Intimacy With a Romantic Sanctuary


The couples I work with all too often struggle with making time and space for sex in the context of the rest of their lives. When we have families and careers to juggle, sex all too often falls by the wayside. Yes, time and energy are at a premium for many of us. But there is also deeper level to this dynamic. We often find that juggling our different roles also makes it difficult to keep the fire alive. It is hard to switch from our role as a professional, or as a parent, into a sexual being. Instead, we may find it easier to numb, ignore, and starve our sexual selves.

The process of reintegrating this part of our beings can be a complex journey, one unique to each of us. And while it would be impossible to address the totality of this dynamic in a single blog post, I can offer you one of the starting points that has fostered intimacy for many of the couples I see, especially those with children.

Create a romantic sanctuary.

Have one place in your house that can transform into a space where your sexual self can thrive. Set the intention to spend time here a couple of times a week, whether or not you choose to have sex. When we build a fire, we need a physical pit or fireplace—a special place for that purpose alone. We also need enough space for air to pass through, and enough time to nourish the flame. So too with the fire within do we need space to breathe and time for growth. We also need to send it the message that it is an important part of our lives.

Here’s how:

  1. Pick a place in your home for your sanctuary.

The bedroom is the obvious choice for many, though it doesn’t have to be. If there isn’t one place that can be just for you and your partner (say, for example, you are co-sleeping with your child in your room), pick a place you can transform with candles, music, pillows, etc. when you and your partner want to connect. You could even add soft lighting to a bathroom and take a bath together. Wherever it is, make sure it is a place where you feel safe, comfortable, and confident that you will not be intruded upon.

  1. Let your five senses guide you in your transformation of space into sanctuary.

What smells turn you on? How does temperature affect your sexual enjoyment, and what is your ideal temperature? How do the fabrics on your bed or couch feel on your skin? How does lighting affect your mood? How about sounds? This is you gathering the wood to fuel your flame.

Consider adding candles, twinkle lights, or other soft lighting, a way to play music, or aromatherapy to the room. Leave your phones, TV, and other screens off or outside.

  1. Make sure you feel safe and comfortable to be yourself.

If you are worried about being seen through the window, make sure you to close your curtains/blinds. If you are concerned with being heard, try adding a white noise machine by the door.

  1. Set the intention to spend time together in your sanctuary fostering intimacy, whether sexual or nonsexual.

Make actual dates, and follow through with them, even if they are only for 15-minutes a night.

And if you are too exhausted/triggered/anxious/etc to have sex, spend time in your sanctuary anyway. Listen intently to your favorite album. Give each other massages. Take a bath together. Have a meaningful conversation. Create art. Enjoy a good glass of wine. Fall asleep in each other’s arms. Find a way to harbor connection to each other and to your sensory experience.

Have fun!



Sensual Saturday: 5 ways to revive your senses in downtown Boulder.

IMG_2131Spring has sprung!

Which means that (if you’re like me) your long dormant senses are tingling with anticipation of warmth and vibrancy. Skin craving crisp sunlight and flowy fabrics. Eyes and ears and nose awakening to the abundance of human life now emerging from winter’s shells. Toes ready to cast those winter shoes to the back of the closet. One of my favorite places to engage my senses and gather inspiration is in downtown Boulder on a warm weekend afternoon. If you decide to indulge in some springtime wandering around Pearl Street, here are a few fun ways to practice mindfulness and enliven your senses:

  1. Sight

Try sitting and watching people come out of places where they have just treated themselves: women leaving the salon with fresh and bouncy hair, couples stepping out of a bookstore with new armfuls of inspiration, kids walking out of an ice cream shop, getting ready to take their first bite.

  1. Sound

Find somewhere to engage in some sound meditation. Hang out in front of a street musician for a while and soak up each note of music, or try sitting down by the creek and focus your attention on the newly melted water rushing by. If you are feeling like moving, take a stroll through a toy store and see what sounds you can derive from toys, chimes, and games.

  1. Smell

Try exploring these three shops with your sense of smell:

–       a spice shop

–      a tea shop

–      a store with natural beauty products and essential oils

Between these three, you can spend hours. Try to pinpoint how different smells make you feel or what they remind you of. Have fun with it!

  1. Touch

Enjoy raking through different fabrics in one a clothing store, or reconnect with the feeling of old paper in one of the many second-hand bookstores. Notice your feet pressing against the bricks and mix of hot sun with crisp air.

  1. Taste

I may have to let you decide on this one, as the sensual treats are endless. Ask yourself what draws you most: a perfect cup of coffee? A delicious handcrafted truffle? A refreshing and nourishing fresh juice? Let your taste buds explore!

Have fun and enjoy the weekend!


Página en español veniendo pronto! Para aprender mas sobre mis servicios, llame (720) 515-5184 o mande un email a
Rachael Uris, MA, LPC is the owner of Atacama Counseling, LLC, offering sex therapy as well as individual and couple's counseling for issues surrounding sexuality, love, and pregnancy. All services are located in downtown Boulder, Colorado, and are provided in English and Spanish.
%d bloggers like this: