Couples often begin therapy because they feel like their sexual intimacy is in a rut. They complain that they have grown apart, that they are not feeling loved, or that they do not feel important to their partner. They worry that they will never return to how they “once were” early on in their relationship and question how to rebuild their sexual intimacy after what feels like a dry spell.
It’s common for many couples to find themselves in a complacent phase within their relationship in which they stop putting in the same effort they once did when they were first together. When this happens it makes couples feel distant and disconnected from each other.
Perhaps for you it’s the demands of having children, a time consuming job or the flow of just everyday life. All of these can add up to your relationship becoming a lower priority. Unfortunately, when this happens it takes a toll on how close couples feel to one another and ultimately affects the sexual intimacy. Eventually couples grow concerned about how they will find their spark that seems to have temporarily fizzled.
The truth is this is a completely normal phase to go through especially if you have been with your partner for a long time. What most of these couples have in common is that they do not spend much time with their partner. When couples are missing the closeness that they once had and not feeling loved, a lack of time together is often a major part of the problem when it comes to the lack of sex in their relationship.
The good news is that there are ways to rebuild the sexual intimacy that you feel is lacking. Remember that sexual relationships are built on emotional intimacy and closeness. In other words, if you’re hoping to improve your physical relationship, you need to first work on your emotional connection. The first thing you can do to restore intimacy in your relationship is to increase the amount of time that you spend together. It is not only the first thing that you must do; it is the most important thing you must-do if you want to recover that sense of “us-ness”. Focus on meeting your partner’s needs and communicating your own needs in a loving, respectful way. When sexual intimacy in a relationship gets frozen, it can be easy to believe there isn’t anything that can be done to make things better but that is absolutely not true.
Lacking sexual intimacy can take a toll on your relationship and make you feel disconnected from your partner. However, if you can find ways to spend more time with your partner and rebuild the emotional connection it is entirely possible to reignite the fire that you both once had. You don’t have to feel this way forever as there are many more ways in which you can work on improving your sexual intimacy to get out of the rut you currently find yourself in and quite possibly find your bond become stronger than ever.
Keep reading for five more simple (though not necessarily easy) actions you can take to help rebuild the intimacy in your relationship.
1) Make time for sexual intimacy
One of the reasons you may struggle with sexual intimacy is because you haven’t taken the time to have a date night with your significant other in quite a long time. It makes complete sense that you are feeling distant because you haven’t prioritized the need to spend some one on one time together.
Date night is not going to solve all of your relational intimacy problems, but carving out special time for uninterrupted and unhurried conversation can go a long way toward cultivating intimacy. When you simply make time for your relationship you can quickly be reminded of those feelings you once felt that brought the two of you together in the first place which may help make sexual intimacy feel natural again.
2) Talk to your partner
In an age where we can be chained to our phones and devices, there is something quite revolutionary about simply talking face-to-face with your partner. With all of these distractions at our fingertips, it makes sense that couples are finding themselves more pulled away from one another than ever before.
Carving out time from your busy schedule for your relationship creates a space to simply connect and talk. Maybe it’s reminiscing over some fun memories shared together in the past, sharing something new and exciting going on in your world or simply discussing something of mutual interest (ie- that TV show you once spent every Monday night watching together, the new music a favorite artist just released, etc). When you take the time to talk with your partner make sure to plan for none practical conversation time as well and avoid talking about any relationship problems and household chores in the bedroom. Sexual arousal plummets to an all time low when we’re distracted and stressed.
3)Encourage nonsexual, affectionate touch
For some couples that have experienced a bit of a drought in their sex life, engaging in sexual intercourse can seem like a huge leap. This can make the task feel daunting and unnatural.
To get past this fear start with simply embracing and touching one another. Affectionate embraces from a partner can communicate care and love in relationships without the pressure and burden that every touch signals one partner’s desire for sex. Physical affection sets the stage for sexual touch that is focused on pleasure; so set a goal of doubling the length of time you kiss, hug, and use sensual touch if you want to improve your relationship. Keep in mind that simply hugging, and touching can release oxytocin causing a calming sensation and physical affection reduces stress hormones – lowering daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol. After you engage in physical touch you may start to feel desired and better connected again which will prompt increased intimacy in the future.
4) Practice being more emotionally vulnerable during sex
Another reason you may feel disconnected is because you fear emotional intimacy so you shut down. It makes complete sense that once you feel disconnected that your emotional needs then begin to plummet.
When you share your innermost wishes, fantasies, and desires with your partner it helps to maintain a sense of curiosity about sexual intimacy by experimenting with new ways to bring pleasure to each other. Look at sex as an opportunity to get to know your partner better over time. People’s wants and needs in the bedroom may change over time so while you feel like you know your partner incredibly well never stop keeping things interesting and open a dialogue that can be not only fun but also flirty about how to best turn your partner on and achieve their sexual desires.
5)Make sex a priority
You may feel like the distractions of life such as children, a busy work schedule or simply your favorite TV show dulls your passion to make sex a priority.
It’s important to not only tp find time to make sex a priority but to also set the mood for intimacy so that these common distractions don’t pull you away from prioritizing physical intimacy. Hire a babysitter for the night and make a light meal along with your favorite music and wine. Along with that, vary the kind of sex you have. Have gentle, loving-tender, intimate, and highly erotic sex. Break up the routine and try new things as sexual needs change. These ideas can all help set the stage for great sex and after you start doing this you may feel an increased desire to have round 2 again very soon!
It’s perfectly normal to feel like it’s tough to rebuild sexual intimacy with your partner after you’ve felt emotionally and physically disconnected but there are ways in which you can ignite that spark again. Use these 5 tips to help bring you back to a place of emotional and physical desire again! Remember even if you are not a touchy-feely person, increasing physical affection and emotional attunement can help you to sustain a deep, meaningful bond.
If you find that your sexual intimacy is just too far gone and and you need some extra help getting it back, Solid Foundations can help! Learn more at solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!