I would have at least two couples a week that I work with, where the sexual relationship has become a lot less or is non-existent. Could be over several months or even over a couple of years. Being able to restore that is an extremely important part of being in a marriage.
The sexual energy within yourself when on and open, you’re alive, you’re motivated, you’re creative, you’re very much more connected to yourself. I have couples coming in where they have shut that part of themselves down which is very sad.
6 simple tips to be able to restore your sexual intimacy.
No 1. Increase the amount of time together: What begins to happen when, when the sexual intimacy is less, you do tend to over time, start spending less and less time together.
Make your marriage a priority. When couples are missing that closeness that they once had, lack of time together is a major part of the problem. And for some people it can be a form of avoidance. They stay busy and stay apart from their partner, so they actually don’t need to face the issue.
No 2. Clear the conflict: Many couples are in chronic conflict and by the time they come and see me, there can be a lot of anger and resentment. Chronic conflict makes it difficult to enjoy the moments that you do have with your partner. And often your primed and you’re ready to see everything that they say as negative and your defensive. Sometimes you’re almost motivated by a desire to hurt them in some way. It may not be conscious however ongoing conflict, resentment or negative feelings about your partner and your marriage will not create feelings for sexual intimacy.
Clear out the conflict and the resentment. It first begins by deciding to do that, to own your resentment and your anger. You can do this on your own or working with a therapist. A previous blog I’ve written about moving resentment could support you with this.
No 3. Look at your busy life: Reduce the busyness and the commitments. I get a lot of parents with school aged kids and they find that their evenings and the weekends they’re taken up with soccer and footy and cricket and dance. Couples protest that they just don’t have the time to sit aside date night or couples time. I have three sons they’re all adults now, so I know what that is like. You almost feel like you’re a taxi driver. A choice and a priority movement needs to occur.
Parents who are so over engaged with kids’ activities are actually, I believe, doing a disservice to the kids because the kids are also over engaging. So, we have tired, stressed out kids who often do tell their parents that they want to quit some of their activities, but parents are concerned that kids will not develop and a pattern of not following through may begin.
What can happen is that children then don’t get downtime. They don’t know what to do with unstructured time. Also, adults in marriages don’t know what to do in unstructured time. If parents can be an example and show how being in a loving and accepting marriage, your role modelling down time. Your role modelling how to do time together and your role modelling that not every second of the day needs to be busy and flat out.
No 4. Quality time: Quality time is essential in restoring intimacy so that you can have a strong, rich sexual relationship. It could be spending time in the same room watching the same TV show and that could count as quality time for one of the partners. But for the other partner it could be that they want to do an activity. If one of the partners doesn’t want to do this activity it does not count at all as quality time and it may serve as a bit of resentment, a bit of anger. Communicating assertively your needs is vital.
Many people, they almost harbor the notion that they can spend next to no time together and carve out perhaps one hour a week as date night and that’s quality time versus quantity time. In an empowered marriage feeling heard, loved, supported is very important. Quality time is when your both connected in some meaningful way where you both believe it to be meaningful.
No 5. Quantity of time together: Couples need more of the quality time, but you also need quantity of time. Couples who are experiencing that lack of closeness and for women, the closeness then leads to the emotional connection, which then leads to sexual intimacy. Couples who are experiencing a lack of closeness, they usually need to spend more time together to have that sense of connection.
No 6. All about baggage: In a new relationship it’s initially all wonderful. You’re in that bubble of love and you could be in it for six months, 18 months, two years and your partner can do no wrong. But then sometimes it can happen quite suddenly and for others it can be a little bit slower, but your partner starts to annoy you and you may also perhaps get triggered. The shadow side has come up often in both of you. Another way to put it is your emotional baggage which may include insecurities. You may need a higher need of closeness or display some neediness.
It is so important that you take responsibility for your emotional baggage so that your shadow side doesn’t come out in your relationship.
Sexual intimacy begins with emotional intimacy and if one of you is nervous or is on eggshells that you may trigger your partner, it’s very hard to let your guard down and let your partner in. However, if you are in an empowered marriage and you have both owned your shadow sides, you’ve both owned your baggage, if you do get triggered, you are actually able to go, “hey, I’m feeling this…….. Not sure where it’s come from. I’m just going to take some time out.” Able to stay in the adult and manage yourself and the triggers within yourself.
Communication is the most crucial tool in any relationship. How do you communicate?
We can communicate in 4 different ways:
- passive aggressively
Passively: includes being indirect at times. Don’t address problems and put the feelings of your partner before yourself. Find it difficult to express your feelings and they would stay bottled up. Eventually they’ll build up and build up and then explode outwards in anger or you retreat inwardly.
Aggressively: you’re attacking, you’re threatening, you’re often bossy, you can be hostile, or you can be controlling, dominating, loud and sarcastic. You can be blaming, and other people will feel hurt and humiliated and often quite threatened. You try to enforce the respect of the other person onto you, but it doesn’t work.
Passive Aggressively: Don’t address problems directly. You try and get back, at your partner as you don’t have the courage to address the real problem. You rarely get your needs met and resentment builds up.
Assertive: Your confident, clear and can ask for what you want. You take responsibility for your communication by using I statements. Your positive and respectful in your communication. Assertive communication does help enormously to begin to some intimacy into the relationship.
The return of closeness and sexual intimacy can happen and it’s by slowing down, it’s by dedicating the time and the energy that it’s going to take to accomplish that. It’s about owning what’s going on inside of you and being very honest with yourself. Perhaps you’re not attracted to your partner any longer? Perhaps working with a therapist to really identify what’s going on would be very beneficial.