It is 100% normal to have struggles within your intimate relationship. Couples don’t realize that if they don’t have the tools and understanding to deal with those challenges, intimacy can take a U-turn toward a long, lonely road, ultimately causing a couple to feel alone and discouraged.
Our center has supported hundreds of couples that face intimacy challenges. We have couples who have not had sex for years, broken trust due to infidelity, tension around different levels of desire, and years of resentment around sexual needs and wants not being met. While all couples are unique in their suffering, the common theme throughout each couple’s story is the lack of communication around intimacy and sex.
Don’t beat yourself up if you are relating to this. Communicating about sex and intimacy is a LEARNED skill you most likely were not taught throughout your development. You may have learned how to use birth control, the anatomy of the sexual organs, or the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases, but very rarely do we hear individuals and couples in our practice verbalize that their parents taught them how to communicate about intimacy issues in romantic relationships effectively.
So what is the first step in navigating intimacy issues? We recommend setting aside an hour with your partner to discuss your shared vision of what you want intimacy to be. You will be surprised that you most likely want the same things, such as feeling more connected, expressing feelings and emotional safety, and the ability to talk freely about sex. You can ask questions such as:
- What did we learn early on from our family about sex?
- What external sources influenced our beliefs and perceptions around sex as young people?
- What are our individual ideas about sex?
- What are our fears about discussing sexual intimacy in our relationship?
- What might be the obstacles for us in talking about sex?
- What is an ideal sexual relationship between us?
If your relationship struggles with trust, issues around infidelity, and more complex sexual problems, it is a good idea to seek couples counseling to have professional support in navigating through this process.
There are many more questions you and your partner can ask one another, and our passion is supporting couples in healthy and satisfying intimate relationships. You can always reach out to us, and we can provide resources.