Health- people

7 ways to foster intimacy the Christmas

It can be hard to find time to foster intimacy in your relationship at the best of times, but throw in work Christmas parties, social gatherings, family obligations and the mad scramble to catch up with everyone you’ve ever known before the end of the year, and what you have is a recipe for a no-sex month. Even if you weren’t too exhausted to even contemplate a cuddle after you fall into bed, there’s just not enough hours in the day. And you could find yourself suddenly out of sync and missing each oth when your partner eventually returns home from their own various holiday commitments.

Work Christmas parties can be extra challenging, as suddenly out-of-hours socialisation suddenly feels mandatory. And nothing puts a dampener on intimacy like a visit to crazy uncle Bob and his ‘interesting’ new wife.

So, what is the key to fostering intimacy during these crazy times?

1. Learn to say no. If you want to foster intimacy with your partner, then they need to be your priority. It’s that simple. So when you’re facing an overload of holiday activities and invitations, it’s okay to say no to some of them. Especially if you know it’s going to stress your relationship or cut into your intimate time. Perhaps it’s that invitation from with an unreliable acquaintance, or a family member who you know is going to make one or both of you feel uncomfortable. Or maybe it’s a person you haven’t seen all year, who all of a sudden much catch up before the year is out. Whoever it is, you are absolutely allowed to say no to them. Trust me, you’re better off focusing on the people who build you up – like your partner – than being fodder in the gossip mill for their next last-minute Christmas catch up.

It’s okay to prioritise yourself and your relationship, and say no to certain events. As an added bonus, this will also free up some time for your relationship and let you dedicate time to being intimate with each other.

2. Plan your time together to foster intimacy. Spontaneity is great when it happens, but if you want to foster intimacy, you need to make time and space for it. And each other. Even more so in these times of crazy social whirling. It’s all too easy to make plans with everyone else and forget about the one person who means the most to you, and the one you actually want to spend time with more than anyone. And dragging them along to the catchup with your second cousin twice removed doesn’t count.

Make sure you make time for each other every day if possible, even if it’s just a morning cup of coffee and a chat before you head off to work, or a phone call or text chat before bed. Ideally, make time for one or two meals together during the week, and at least one date on the weekend, even if it has to be a morning walk before you rush off to your next social event. If you’re able to make time for each other in the midst of all the holiday social pressures, you’ll feel closer together and more connected to your partner at the other end, and you won’t suddenly feel like you’re falling asleep next to a stranger at the end of the night.

3. Talk with your partner about your plans. You need to talk with your partner. On a very basic level, it ensures you can prioritise each other and spend time deepening your relationship, rather than double booking and passing like ships in the night. With all the competing plans and commitments that come with two people having different jobs, friends and families, communication is key at this time to foster intimacy. Otherwise between their plans and your plans, there will be no plans for the two of you.

A good strategy is to sit down together at the start of the week and talk about what invitations you’ve both received. Then you can create a plan for some intimate time without everyone else around. Remember, you want to make sure you have time when you’ll have energy to focus on each other. Realistically, other social engagements need to fit around your needs as a couple, not the other way around. Making plans together is the cornerstone of any intimate relationship, so if you can do that at the busiest time of year, you’re already winning.

4. Know your boundaries. Work parties can be an amazing, lavish time of free food and alcohol, but if it’s strictly employees only, it could be a super late night that will overrun into your date night and ability to foster intimacy your partner. And if you don’t talk about it beforehand, it’s the sort of thing that can lead to jealousy if expectations and needs are gone unsaid.

Setting boundaries and expectations is healthy, and as long as you’re both on the same page, you’ll know what you’re both going to enjoy when you’re together – or apart. Practicing saying what you want in a relationship is part of being vulnerable with each other, which in turn will help foster intimacy.

And if you have an open relationship, you might even find that next special regular guest star hiding in the corner for you to enjoy together.

5. Foster intimacy with Christmas themed fun. Christmas is a great time to indulge in some fantasies and role-play. You could be Santa’s naughty elf, or a little girl who wants to sit on Santa’s knee, or even a reindeer that needs to be ridden. Hard. You could give your partner the Christmas present of yourself, a sexual act they’ve always wanted to do, or a new set of restraints for some kinky pleasure.  Maybe you want to try a little outdoor action, a quickie at a family gathering, or in the bathroom at at Christmas party.

There is also a plethora of red and green themed lingerie that appears at this time for all your Christmas fantasies. And black is always a classic for those sultry temptresses out there! Pick your favourites together, and then you can think about what they are wearing underneath their clothes all day. You could even step it up a notch with a remote controlled panty vibe or vibrating penis ring that your partner can control while you’re sitting at the family dinner table.

You could also buy a Christmas treat for yourself, like the couples vibe you’ve had your eye on online all year. Or just one for you. Go ahead- you deserve it for getting through the year. And it’s Christmas.

6. Share a secret rendevous. Ever fantasise about having sex in your parents bed? Or getting almost caught in the act? Now is the time to live out these fantasies! Nothing brings people together quite like a secret, and taking a few risks can be great for fostering as sense of intimacy. Just don’t go too far and make sure you’ve got a plan if you do get discovered. At the very least, lock the door while the rest of the family is busy drinking and being merry in the living room. Maybe it’s the first time your partner has met the family and seen the house where you grew up. Give them a tour of your childhood conquests, ending in the bedroom with a new one of your own. See how quiet you can be. Or not.Getting to know someone’s past through the places they feel nostalgia for is a great way to get to know someone better, as well as have a little fun along the way.

7. Do nothing. That’s right- plan some time to nothing. Really nothing. Together. Relaxation time where you can both chill and unwind doing whatever way you want is great for fostering intimacy. Watch something on Netflix, give each other sensual massages, or sleep. Whatever it is that you like to do as a couple to relax and take time out from the rest of the world. As an added bonus, making time for nothing will mean you’re not using your planned couple time to unwind and rest, which will make the dates you do spend together something that you can really enjoy.If you use these seven tips for fostering intimacy, not only during the holiday Christmas time, but all year round, I truly believe it will help you build a stronger relationship with your partner. As busy as December is, you can never start too soon, so why not start now? And then make it a New Year’s resolution to follow it through for the whole year? By this time next year, it’ll be a habit, and you’ll have a strong, intimate relationship other people will wish they had.Whatever you’re up to this year, I wish you all happy holidays and best wishes for an intimate holiday season.

How MediRecords has taken remoteness away from general practice

NetMD are a medical centre with a difference. Their aim is to use modern technology to deliver general practice.

NetMD do this, using MediRecords, Coviu and e-scripts, to o er medical teleconsultations online. Sixty percent of their consultations are now performed this way.

The Challenge

“I was working with Medical Director,” says NetMD general practitioner, Dr Leo Gunaseelan, “It cost $80 to $100K to install, plus a technician to fly from Cairns to do this at $3K a day, and yearly maintenance costs of $15 to $20K. With MediRecords I can manage everything myself, and I don’t need anyone’s help. I have freedom.”

Dr Gunaseelan specialises in family medicine and rural medical care. He runs NetMD as an online teleconsulting service to ensure he is accessible to patients, no matter where they are based.

“I have been working with MediRecords for five years,” says Dr Gunaseelan, “They are great, and have good support sta . MediRecords are fully cloud-based and I never need to take a day o . I have one week away a month and just work from wherever I am. That way, my patients don’t miss out on treatment.”

How is MediRecords Used?

Patients don’t need any special equipment to access NetMD services– just a phone, and a mobile or internet signal.

“Patients love it,” says Dr Gunaseelan, “You don’t need high quality internet- just a satellite signal will do. Patients don’t need to come into the practice. I can provide my services to them from anywhere in the world, and it’s working well.”

Dr Gunaseelan has been practicing for over 30 years, throughout rural New Zealand, Europe and the remote mining regions of Australia.

“My work with Rio Tinto involves looking a er patients from Tasmania and remote Queensland. I can train medical sta in the mines to use and read the medical equipment, and then I can read the results from wherever I am. Remoteness has been taken away.”

Patients can also book consultations on the NetMD website and use the MediRecords app to access test results straight away.

“The app is the main point of di erence,” says Dr Gunaseelan, “I have 3,000 patients, and they all use it and check it regularly. Before, I had a nurse, who was only looking a er recalls by phone and mail. Now I don’t need her- I just click a couple of buttons and a text is sent to my patient with a link to make an appointment. It’s as perfectly simple as that.”

In addition, MediRecords provides health to visitors to Dr Gunaseelan’s general practice.

“I look a er about 15,000 tourists every year,” says Dr Gunaseelan, “In two minutes they have the prescription they need emailed to their phone. They always say, ‘wow, why don’t we have this at home?’”

Looking Forward

Dr Gunaseelan is so pleased with MediRecords that he plans to expand the reach of his services.

“I want to widen the breath of services we o er online, with payments being made available online, and I’m also working to integrate a YouTube channel by the end of next year,” says Dr Gunaseelan, “I want to extend my services to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Samoa. I want to provide services for people that don’t have access. I have always wanted to do this, I just didn’t know how.”

“It’s a great program,” says Dr Gunaseelan, “If I could, I would promote MediRecords to anyone. They improve general practice immensely.”

Wild Secrets

Project Duration
1 year

Ever since Fifty Shades of Grey burst into the public consciousness, everyone’s been talking about BDSM play in – and out – of the bedroom. But the silver screen doesn’t always show the reality of Power Exchange Play and BDSM. And even if it’s something you’ve fantasied about, actually doing it is different. How far down the BDSM rabbit hole do you want to go? Today, we’re delving deeper into BDSM  Power Exchange Play and what this could mean for you.

Before we get into any of the nitty gritty, remember any sort of sexual activity needs to be consensual. Especially when you’re trying something new with your partner. Communication is key: talk to them about what you want and what they want. Do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable exploring new territory, for example, setting boundaries and safe words.

Intriguing. I remember thinking that when I first saw a pair of fluffy hand cuffs entering my bedroom. A guy brought them in. I was impressed that he had the guts, and also a bit concerned. Did this mean he was going to be super controlling? Did I want to be that submissive? And would I be stuck to the bedposts forever if he lost the key?

As I moved on to other guys, restraints, and whips, I discovered that those fluffy handcuffs were just the tip of the iceberg. I also explored more power exchange dynamics and learned that being into it doesn’t mean that you – or your partner – is a control freak, and that being submissive can actually be a huge turn on!

What is power exchange play?

Power exchange is exactly what it sounds like – an exchange of power, or if you prefer, an exchange of responsibility.  This means you have one partner holding the power – or responsibility – typically called the ‘Dominant’, ‘Dom’ or ‘Top’, and one partner surrendering the power – or giving up responsibility – typically called the ‘Submissive’, ‘Sub’, or  ‘Bottom’. Power exchange play empowers the dominant partner to have the submissive under their control, and allows the submissive to enjoy a sensual – and often sexual – experience free from having to make decisions about what happens next. Power exchange play is fully consensual and should be fully negotiated before starting play. The depth of the power yielded by the submissive is equal to the level of responsibility assumed by the dominant.

Bondage and Discipline, two other aspects of BDSM play, are also about the exchange of power and control. Bondage involves restraining your partner in some way. Discipline involves punishing your partner – or being punished – for transgressions. The experience of being disciplined creates a feeling of vulnerability that can be very arousing or soothing. Conversely, the disciplinarian can be turned on by holding power and having a partner at their mercy. ‍

Besides those fluffy handcuffs, there are many methods and devices to demonstrate power over your partner, from neckties to spreader bars, and straight jackets. Blindfolds and gags, inhibit other senses than touch, and at the more extreme end, some people wrap their partners in plastic film or bondage tape to prevent movement.‍

Dominant and Submissive Relationships

Dom/Sub relationships are based on a hierarchy where the submissive obeys the dominant’s authority and commands. Exactly what the dominant can demand is mutually agreed upon by the participants beforehand – something not always seen in media! A submissive may be ordered to give their master a blow job, or call them master or mistress. It can be just for a session of sexually activity, or carried into everyday life. Conversely, a dominant is also a nurturer and a guide. The best dominants guide their submissive on a journey of pleasure, sometimes pain, and sexual experience, within the boundaries that are established in advance.

Being a dominant is about taking on a huge responsibility and mental burden. It is an incredible act of service, by enabling the submissive to be free and simply experience the play session. The dominant leads, directs and takes charge of their submissive. They may consensually administer pain or humiliation to their partner, according to what has been agreed upon, while checking in regularly to make sure the submissive is ok.

For a submissive, being able to trust your dominant is incredibly important. Knowing that your dominant will take on the burden of decision making while keeping your pleasure at the centre of the play experience is one of the things that makes submission so appealing. You also need to know that you’re safe – that the play session will stop if/when the you need or want it to, without question. This is the cornerstone of power exchange play, and any dominant who isn’t able to provide these basics isn’t worthy of the title, and is probably unsafe to play with.‍

You may be wondering at this point who has the real control in a dominant/submissive relationship, and if you’re now thinking it’s the submissive – you’d be right. Submissives have more control than most people think at first glance. They are the boundary-setters in any power exchange play scene. For many submissives, it can feel freeing to hand control over to someone else. For both partners, engaging in a little kink is a break from the norm of everyday sex and a lot of fun.

Power exchange red flags

A lot of people don’t understand power exchange, and there are selfish individuals out there who call themselves dominants and seek out victims for non-consensual fantasies. This is assault and abuse. Below are some power exchange red flags would-be submissives should keep in mind when looking for a prospective partner. They are very similar to the red flags in any abusive relationship, but we think they bear repeating. Leave – or don’t get involved if:

  • Their fantasies involve you not having a way out of a scene – or a relationship
  • They discourage you from having a healthy network of friends and family
  • You are expected to not have a voice within the relationship
  • They try to extend their dominance of you outside of agreed boundaries
  • A scene of any sort continues after a safe word is used
  • They violate boundaries you have set during play or in the context of your relationship
  • They are jealous, possessive and/or quick to anger
  • You are fearful or afraid to speak to them in case you anger them
  • Your feelings and needs are dismissed as unimportant
  • You are expected to surrender all control of your finances – yes FinDom is a thing, but that’s a very specific kink and not one covered here.
  • They are cruel to animals
  • They have a substance  or alcohol abuse problem

I’m interested, now what?

Power Exchange BDSM play can be anything you want it to be inside of the boundaries you agree upon and set with your partner. So make your own rules and walk your own path. And if you decide it’s not for you, that’s okay too. At least now you know and you can try something else next time. There’s no shame in not being into being dominant. Or submissive.

Go as far as you want to, with either a full time or casual partner. It really is your choice. And intercourse isn’t even necessary to explore the world of Power Exchange BDSM play. You can be a voyeur, watch a video, or masturbate while reading erotic fiction on the topic. It’s really up to you.

As always, pay good heed to cleaning up after yourself. Make sure toys are cleaned up for use next time, your body is anointed and repaired in whatever way it needs to be, and that you are always playing safe. As long as you’re being safe, sane an consensual, things can only get better as you find out what makes you tick.

Remember- if it feels good, do it!