Perhaps you and your partner have been together for years and it feels like you know everything about each other (spoiler: there’s always more to learn!), or maybe you’re dating a new cutie and you want to get to know them on a deeper level. Whatever stage of a relationship you find yourself in, building trust, intimacy, and playfulness in a relationship should always remain a type priority. However, that’s easier said than done, and it can be difficult to know exactly how to do that. But there’s good news: According to relationship experts, games can help foster the essential elements needed in a relationship. So whether you’re in a long-term relationship or a brand new one, we’re sharing exactly how games can help, plus we’re including seven games you can try with your partner the next time you’re spending a night in together.
Why games are important for romantic and sexual relationships
Whether it’s card games, spicy adult games, or Q&A games designed specifically to increase intimacy, games can play a vital role in relationships. “Gameplay can be an essential part of keeping relationships alive and exciting, either with existing or potential/new partners,” explains Anna Hinstyak, dating expert for Pure. “It’s part of our nature to play with each other.”
“Not just that, but games allow couples to discuss family dynamics, personal values, beliefs, and taking risks in life,” says Dr. Lee Phillips, Psychotherapist and Certified Sex & Couples Therapist.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, playing games can remind you of the beginning of your relationship, how you fell in love, and your favorite qualities in your partner. For those on a first date or with a dating app match, games can be equally as important. Q&A games, for example, prompt you with questions about your beliefs, family, friends, or more personal information, when it may otherwise feel awkward to ask.
7 games to play with your partner to deepen your relationship
Playing games for couples can be a powerful way to invigorate excitement in your relationship. While often overlooked, laughter is a vital element to falling in love for many people and an indispensable element of a long-term relationship. Q&A games designed specifically for relationships can help you talk about values, beliefs, or even your relationship without the pressure of bringing it up yourself. Choose the game you feel most drawn to, and remember the goal isn’t to check off questions or challenges but to spend time connecting with your partner.
If you bond over exchanging life stories, this game might be the perfect fit for you and your partner. To play, each player gets seven cards. Once a player chooses a card, they pass it to their partner who then responds to the prompt. The deck has prompts like “A time I felt rejected…” and “I’ll never apologize for the time…” These prompts help to build empathetic listening and connection, and instead of a winner and loser in this game, it's all about collaboration.
This board game was made specifically for romantic partners. You will each create a make-believe character, and the romantic comedy board game will take you through hilarious and genuine challenges and decisions that could lead to the characters falling in love, breaking hearts, or something in between. If you like role playing or bond over humor and adventure, this might be the game for you and your partner. The best part? It has four versions: Female/Female, Male/Male, Female/Male, and the Diversity set.
If you’re in the mood to deepen physical intimacy or get to know your partner sexually, this game can be a great way to do that. Similar to the childhood favorite, Jenga, this game is played nearly the same, except each time you pull a Jenga block, you answer the question or perform the challenge written on the block. These can range from “take off two items of clothing” to “say I love you while looking into your partner’s eyes.”
In this game, you and your partner work as a team to solve the puzzle by giving each other one word clues to guess the cards laid on the board. It is like a mix between Charades, Salad Bowl, and Concentration, so not only is it a fun and creative game—with the option to get serious— it offers a chance to bond over your shared interests, the relationship you’ve built together, or the perfect way to get to know your new date’s personality and communication style.
This game is designed to empower meaningful connections, deepen your existing relationship, or even create new ones, so you can play no matter what stage of a relationship you're in. To begin, you hold eye contact, and the first person to blink takes the first turn. Then, players take turns drawing a card and asking their partner the prompt. Prompts like “Each player write a message to the other... open only once you two have parted” and “what lesson took you the longest to unlearn?” can spark interesting, fun, and intimate conversations.
With creative graphics and hot topics, Fair Play is designed to facilitate conversations between couples about shared responsibilities. Yes, that includes who unloads the dishwasher, who buys the groceries, and nearly every other household task you can think of.
Through this visual game, couples are supported to balance responsibilities equitably. If you hit friction, that’s normal. This game is actually designed to help you work through those hard conversations, all of which are important for deepening your relationship.
Poker for Couples takes a fun, spicy twist on your typical poker game. Both players are meant to start with only five items of clothing, and every time a player wins a hand, they draw a reward card which includes an activity like removing clothing, cuddling, or even climaxing. The winner is determined by who goes through their pile of reward cards first. If you’re looking to spice things up in the bedroom, or if friendly competition is a turn-on, this might be your ticket for an intimate night.