How to practice self-love in a relationship

The way you love yourself is how you show others to love you. Without self-compassion, it’s difficult to form deep and meaningful bonds with someone else.

From the way you think and feel about yourself, to exploring your own body sexually, knowing how to practice self-love and pleasure matters - even if you have a partner.

While taking time away from your lover may feel like a counterintuitive way to blossom your bond, learning how to practice self-love in a relationship only makes it better for all involved. Here, we explore healthy self-exploration practices to connect even deeper with others.

How to practice more self love, even if you’re not single

We rely on our partners for love, support, and compassion, but it is not the sole purpose of another person to fulfill our needs. Depending on partners, emotionally or physically, can take its toll on both of you.

It can lead to unhealthy boundaries, negative self-talk, or people-pleasing - abandoning your own needs to do what your partner wants. And that’s why taking time to fill your own cup first is so important. Start right here, right now, with these exercises:

Check in with yourself first - then your partner

How are you feeling? The first step to establishing how to practice self-love in a relationship is to check in with yourself on a regular basis. Journaling is great for this, or mood-tracking apps that prompt self-reflection.

This can take less than five minutes daily, simply creating space for your needs and desires to surface. Some days, it can require a full day of you-time to go deep into thought without external pressures - a solo spa or shopping date, perhaps.

As well as being good for your mental health, self-awareness is needed in order to communicate with a partner. Once you’ve checked in with yourself, you can get on the same page within your relationship, helping you to become closer than ever.

The best sex toys in the world

Explore your body alone

Knowing how you want to be touched is so important. From massage to masturbation, solo pleasure can help you relax and enjoy sexual experiences with a partner even more.

During your solo exploration sessions, you can experiment with different pressures, rhythms, or sensations. You can use your hands, or play with some pleasure products:

  • For vulva-owners, female sex toys such as our Pearl3 and Pearl2+ can bring godlike vibes directly to your G-spot, or you can bring bliss to your clit with the touch-sensitive tip. If you’re new to vibrators, explore and compare different vibes to see what tickles your pink.
  • You might wish to explore the deep, filling sensations that come with anal pleasure alone before you try it with a partner. If so, our velvety-soft Lumen is a dreamy starter butt plug. Be sure to stock up on premium water-based lube for comfortably slippy anal play.

Buying new sex tech can be a great way to spark a conversation about how to practice self love while in a relationship. Our couple sets are designed to be used for solo or partnered play, so if you want to add a level of intimacy to your masturbation, make it mutual by syncing your sex tech to pleasure in unison together.

Talk to your partner about masturbation

For many couples, solo pleasure can also bring feelings of shame or embarrassment, and learning how to practice self-love in a relationship is somehow likened to there being something wrong, or missing between partners.

There are circumstances where masturbation can be secretive or even weaponized in a relationship, and that is when it can bridge into unhealthy territory. But as long as you have communication and a self-care mindset around masturbation, sex and intimacy can become even stronger.

If you feel comfortable discussing how to practice more self love with your partner, here are some ways to open up the conversation healthily:

  • Discuss your reasons for self-pleasure. Many people masturbate for different reasons: to help with sleep, to reduce stress, or simply because they enjoy it (let’s be honest, it’s not a bad way to spend time alone!). If you or your partner have concerns about the other masturbating, talking about why you do it can help alleviate any concerns or preconceptions.

  • Show gratitude. It’s impossible for your partner to give you everything you need, and a mistake for them to expect you to fulfill all of their needs too. But when they do something that meets your needs, showing gratitude can make it more likely that they’ll satisfy certain needs in the future.
    Gratitude even leads to better sex - and that’s something we can all get behind.

  • Reserve time for “research”. Finding what turns you on is an ever-evolving process, but you may not discover any new fantasies or sensations you enjoy if you stick to the same.
    For many, exploring sexual fantasies virtually may feel safer than bringing them into the bedroom straight away.
    Interactive porn is the most realistic way to immerse yourself - you can watch any adult content on the internet and sync it to sensations of our pleasure products with FeelMe AI.

  • Play porn swapsies. One idea could be to set yourself an assignment as a team to dive into some erotic content alone - then report back on what it was you found arousing. Maybe it was a specific sexual roleplay, or another fetish or kink you’d like to explore.
    Perhaps some particularly filthy sex talk took you over the edge and you’d like your partner to
    try it out on you. If you feel too shy to do this in person, play porn swapsies by sending the link to your partner (with consent), and ask them to do the same.

How you think, feel, talk, and pleasure yourself matters, even if you have a partner. It’s totally possible to spend time alone, take yourself on dates, and bring yourself to climax - in fact, it’s healthy and can help strengthen your relationship. If you’re still worried about the opposite happening, these tips on managing solo sex with partnered sex can help.

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