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In 2015, The New York Times published a list of 36 increasingly personal questions to get two strangers to fall in love. The list of questions, published after a strong response to Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This”, has been taken on as a challenge of sorts; accepted by everyone between long-term couples to complete strangers.
Maybe unsurprisingly, not every pair who has answered these questions together are now happily in love, forever and ever. Convenient as “quick fixes” may be, they don’t really exist when it comes to matters of building strong romantic feelings. But what the questions can accomplish, is arguably better. They offer a concise tool to fast-track two people into experiencing shared intimacy (which has more to do with long-lasting relationships and happiness than love itself does, by the way!).
In the case of romantic relationships, higher levels of intimacy are also associated with higher sexual desire between two people. So we wondered: what could partners ask each other to deepen sexual intimacy, specifically? With the help of resources made available by professional sex therapists and leaders in sex-positive communities, we’ve assembled 36 questions to do just that.
Whether you want to open the gates of communication with each other about sex for the first time or are looking to refresh your sexual relationship, our hope is that these questions serve as a springboard for more open dialogue and deeper trust with your partner in the long term.
Set aside at least an hour with each other (it’ll almost definitely take longer), without any tight schedules or distractions. Get comfy, but be sure you’re facing each other and can easily see into each other’s eyes while you answer and listen.
Ask each question of one another back-and-forth and most importantly: be cognizant and consensual in asking these questions - no one should feel forced to answer anything that feels likes it’s crossing a line for them or brings up troubling feelings or memories*.
*Note that while many of these questions are informed by sex therapists, this is not a replacement for consulting with a professional — particularly, if you have experienced sexual trauma, you may want to seek professional assistance before delving into the questions with a partner.