Whether you’re talking, flirting, kissing, or having sex, eye contact is one of the most intimate things you can do with your partner. It’s one of the main ways to facilitate a sense of closeness and trust, both of which are essential for any healthy relationship!
Direct eye contact might be a little intimidating for some, but it’s incredibly important to create a genuine connection. Here are the main ways eye contact is beneficial:
Think about the signs that someone is lying — a lack of eye contact tops the list. If someone is intentionally looking down or side to side, it sends the message that they have something to hide. On the other hand, solid eye contact conveys honesty and trustworthiness, and studies show that maintaining it during conversation encourages the other person to be honest as well.
Making eye contact while talking to someone is important, but so is while you’re listening. If you’re trying to have a conversation but the other person is glued to their phone, there’s no way you believe they hear you, right? Making eye contact is a necessary party of active listening, and shows that you’re interested, engaged, and ready to offer feedback.
If you’re interested in someone across the bar, how do you get their attention? Eye contact! You hold it just a second longer than someone normally would, give a smile, or flash a flirty look. Of course, this type of eye contact works for seasoned couples, too. Giving that look from across the room isn’t just a playful invite for your partner, it’s a great way to strengthen your bond.
If you’ve lost the connection with your partner, a lot of therapists will recommend an exercise called “eye gazing.” It entails sitting across from your partner, setting a timer for a certain amount of time (anywhere from five to ten minutes) and staring into each other’s eyes for the entire time. Why? It helps increase feelings of compassion and support. It’s an intimate way to helps reestablish the connection you’ve lost create more emotional closeness.
Have you heard of the phrase, “drunk in love?” It’s backed by science! A study conducted in 1989 found that sustained eye contact (eye contact for at least two minutes) causes the human body to produce phenylethylamine, a chemical that is associated with falling in love. Also known as PEA, it’s a natural amphetamine produced by the body that manifests in the heart-racing sensation of new love. While it takes a lot more to build and sustain a relationship, the simple act of eye contact can jumpstart the process. Pretty cool, right?
It’s definitely more natural to close your eyes while kissing, but did you know keeping them open can actually increase intimacy? It might not be the best idea to try this out during a first kiss with someone, but during a long-term relationship, it could be a way to spice things up if you’re looking for a way to deepen your connection.
There are studies that show intense eye contact can actually stimulate sexual arousal. Why? People like feeling seen and understood! Not only can it heat things up, but it can replace verbal communication in the bedroom. A look of satisfaction can indicate what feels good to your partner, and increase feelings of confidence in both of you.
At the end of the day, making eye contact helps establish intimacy and promote trust. As they say, “eyes are the windows to the soul,” so remember to embrace it!