What is sexual intimacy
Sexual intimacy is the mutual sense of comfort you feel in being your true self and expressing your thoughts, feelings, and desires to one another. Although sex is important in sexual intimacy, it is certainly not the only component nor is it the primary variable. If it was then any two people who share a sexual encounter would, by default, have sexual intimacy, and this is not the case. Not even love means that you will have sexual intimacy. Many couples may love each other, but lack the necessary intimacy. Developing true and lasting sexual intimacy takes work and a desire between both partners to prioritize a satisfying and high-quality relationship.
Three Important Elements Of Intimacy
If you’re struggling with intimacy in marriage, you can improve your relationship by focusing on these areas first.
1* Communication Matters
You want your marriage to feel like a true partnership. Therefore, it’s important to be there for your partner for both the good days and the tumultuous times. When you have a healthy level of intimacy with your partner, it’s easy to talk about these sensitive subjects. Although stereotypes suggest that only men have trouble communicating openly and honestly, this affects all genders. When we know that we can come home to kindness and acceptance after a long day, it makes all the difference.
Communication isn’t always easy. There are times when one person in the relationship may feel like they can’t communicate their feelings effectively. In fact, this is a common problem when two people with opposite personality types get married. If your partner is incredibly outgoing and boisterous, then your more subdued personality may have trouble keeping up from time to time. This can negatively impact intimacy and make you feel like you’re always a few steps behind your spouse.
2* Feeling Comfortable Around Your Partner No Matter What
If you want to be truly intimate with your spouse, then you need to be able to feel comfortable around them. If you’re afraid to be yourself, it may prevent you from deepening your connection. Most people are self-conscious about certain things. It’s perfectly normal to be afraid of how others perceive you, but if your marriage is strong enough, you can wind up feeling incredibly comfortable around your spouse. A strong relationship should feel like a friendship, where you can be comfortable being yourself.
If one partner has trouble feeling comfortable around the other, then this issue likely needs to be addressed. For example, people with anxiety problems and body image issues will sometimes have difficulty being comfortable with their spouses. A spouse can help their partner by being encouraging and expressing their love clearly. A professional can also help this partner learn to feel more comfortable in general. It’s easy to be yourself when you trust the other.
READ ALSO: INTIMACY AVOIDANCE,HOW TO COPE WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS INTIMACY AVOIDANCE (FEAR OF INTIMACY)
3* Sex Is Important
Now that we have established that intimacy is about more than sex, we can address the elephant in the room. Yes, sex can be important when it comes to cultivating a healthy marriage-it depends on what’s important to each person. You don’t want your entire relationship to be predicated on sex, but it can help you to connect and deepen your bond with your spouse. Unsurprisingly, regular sex can help you feel happier and is an excellent way to show affection.
A healthy sex life can do wonders for a marriage. In most cases, having regular sex and continuing to please one another will lead to a better overall relationship. When both people in a marriage are sexually and emotionally satisfied, everything else tends to fall into place. Taking care of the kids, for example, seems a lot easier when you have special time with your spouse planned for the weekend.
Importance of sexual intimacy in marriage
Sexual intimacy is one of the most important dimensions of healthy marital intimacy. Healthy sexual intimacy includes sexual frequency that both partners are satisfied with, sexual activities both partners enjoy, and an open dialogue about sex. Olson and Olson say, “A major strength for happily married couples is the quality of the sexual relationship”.2 They found in their research that the most common sexual concern is differing levels of interest in sex. Happier couples tend to agree in their definition of sexual satisfaction and have fewer worries about their sex lives than unhappy couples. More than half of all married couples, they note, have trouble discussing sexual issues.
1* Sexual intimacy keeps you both physically and emotionally healthy.
Studies have found that people who are married are not necessarily happier, but if the relationship between the couple is healthy and satisfying, then married people do enjoy better health.
2* Sexual intimacy promotes healthy self-esteem.
Your self-esteem must derive from your own beliefs about yourself and your self-worth, but it definitely helps when your partner is supportive and proud of you and your accomplishments.
3* Sexual intimacy can help your marriage
if you are struggling to agree or get along in other areas. For some couples, sexual intimacy is what keeps the marriage together during tumultuous times or periods of strain in the relationship.
What Causes A Sexless Relationship/ marriage?
Most couples don’t choose to be in a sexless relationship. It’s often something that happens gradually – the newness of the relationship wears off and the passion goes with it. New relationship stressors appear, like long work hours, financial stress or a new baby, and you never seem to recover. Weeks turn into months with no intimacy, and you find yourself in a no-sex marriage.
A sexless marriage can also be caused by both emotional and physical health issues. Depression or stress, as well as many medications, can decrease libido. You may also find your libidos were mismatched to begin with, or that you’re never “in the mood” at the same time. And if you’re constantly in conflict, you may rarely feel in the mood.
Partners start withdrawing from each other
Chances of cheating on spouse increase manifold
The rejected partner feels unloved and insecure
If intimacy issues persist, divorce becomes imminent
Can A Sexless Marriage Survive?
The short answer is that yes, a sexless marriage can survive – but it can come at a cost. If one partner desires sex but the other is uninterested, lack of sex can lead to decreased intimacy and connection, feelings of resentment and even infidelity. Even in situations where both partners are on the same page – both have low sex drives, there is a physical distance like military deployment or a disability or medical condition causing the sexless marriage – the couple must be vigilant about creating intimacy in other ways.
If you’re in the first type of sexless marriage – one where uneven sex drives or other relationship problems are making you feel disconnected and unloved – it’s essential that you work on restoring passion and intimacy.
Ways to Boost(Rebuild) Sexual Intimacy in Your Marriage
Sexual frequency in marriage can change over time, but sex does not have to get boring in a long-term relationship. As the years go by and you get older, your intimate relationship should get better. Sex with your partner can become more satisfying because you know each other’s likes, dislikes, habits, and preferences.
Communication is the key to a healthy and active sex life in a marital relationship, so talk with one another more. Chatting about superficial things can be fun, but remember to go deeper in order to really establish intimacy.
Share your innermost thoughts and feelings with one another regularly. Sexual intimacy is a continuing process of discovery. True intimacy through communication is one of the things that can make sex great.
READ ALSO: INTIMACY EXAMPLES (TYPES)AND HOW IT AFFECT YOUR RELATIONSHIP
2* Make time for sexual intimacy.
As you will see, these suggestions for change are not revolutionary or complex. They’re simple and doable. One simple thing couples can try in order to rebuild sexual intimacy (or any kind of intimacy, really) is to make time for each other. A date night is not going to solve all your marital intimacy problems, but carving out special time for uninterrupted and unhurried conversation can go a long way toward cultivating intimacy.
3* Take Good Care of Yourself
A healthy sex life intersects with your overall physical, emotional, and mental health. People who feel happy and healthy and have a positive body image are more likely to be in the mood.
If you exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet, you’ll also have more energy for any activity. Keeping up with a fitness program will improve your flexibility and self-esteem, too.
There is some evidence that a single bout of exercise can help make sex more pleasurable, stimulating both short- and long-term arousal in women by driving increases in hormones as well as sympathetic nervous system activity.
4* Avoid Comparison
Comparing your sex life to someone else’s, or to what marital sex statistics say about others, is not helpful or relevant. There are no rules when it comes to the right or wrong amount of sex.
What matters most is if the frequency of sex in your marriage is right for you and your partner—and, if not, how you communicate that and work together to adjust it.
Similarly, remember that sex is not going to be perfect each time; don’t compare your sex life to the portrayals you see in movies or on television.
5* Share Desires and Expectations
Talk openly and share your sexual desires. Be open and honest about what you want. You don’t want to use this time to be critical of your partner; just assert what you want in the bedroom and what makes you feel good.
Talk with one another about your expectations concerning lovemaking. False or unmet expectations can hurt your marriage. If your expectations are not being met by your partner, communicate this tactfully and sensitively.
Sex in a long-lasting relationship can deepen and become a richer experience. No matter how many times you have made love to each other, the wonder and awe of mutual attraction can still be there.
6* Learn What Your Partner Likes
Understanding your partner’s expectations, desires, likes, and dislikes is important—not only in terms of their sexual style and comfort level, but what they need to feel loved and appreciated, and ultimately happier in your relationship.
We all express and feel love differently—or have a different “love language”—and understanding those differences can play a big role in maintaining intimacy in your marriage.
7* Be quick to forgive.
A variety of reasons were discussed that can contribute to intimacy struggles in marriage. One issue that bears special mention here is the practice of forgiveness. A lack of forgiveness leads to a spirit of bitterness; both will kill marital intimacy.
A lack of forgiveness leads to a spirit of bitterness; both will kill marital intimacy.
It should not be assumed that a wife is the one to whom this admonition is given. Some mistakenly believe that a wife will be more prone to become unforgiving, and thus sexually unavailable or cold to her husband. I have seen a number of husbands hold a grudge or maintain an unforgiving spirit toward their wives which has, in turn, affected their desire for intimacy.
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