Physical intimacy in marriage - the source of so much joy and frustration for so many couples. It's easy to feel alone and rejected when your partner doesn't seem interested in physical intimacy. It can also leave you lugging around a guilt suitcase when the demands of your day don’t travel in the same direction as your partner’s Libido Love Land.
Let's start with the frequent experiences of loneliness, frustration, and rejection. It's interesting how some chaps often eventually throw in the towel, steering clear of the rejection whirlpool to dodge the 'no' torpedo. On the flip side, ladies grapple with the whole 'not fitting the 'ideal' mould' conundrum, jousting with rejection on the battlefield of looks.
Contributing factors can include:
- Body image struggles that tend to affect more women than men when dimming the lights becomes a prerequisite for any romantic encounter.
- Exhaustion is another pesky problem that can affect physical intimacy, as is the topic of boredom with the same sex routine.
- Work commitments where long hours or shiftwork can turn couples into “passing ships in the night”.
- Children. They're wonderful little bundles of joy, but let's face it, they can also be energy zappers. Between the constant demands for attention, the never-ending messes or a taxi service, it's no wonder physical intimacy falls from the priority list.
- A poor approach to conflict can seriously impact physical intimacy. After all, it's hard to feel close to someone when you're constantly arguing or unable to resolve your differences and reconnect in a timely manner.
- Injuries or sickness: if intimacy hurts or you’re incapacitated, it’s a sure-fire way to extinguish the passion party.
How can this important issue for many couples be resolved?
Instead of getting mad and sad, why not try talking about it? Sure, discussing intimacy and sex can be tricky, but it's important to communicate your feelings and desires with your partner who may even feel the same. You could also play with some euphemisms. For example, instead of saying, "I want to have sex," you could say, "I'd like to engage in some horizontal hustle”. What about “the mattress mambo"? Your challenge today is to improve on my substandard suggestions here.
It is a wonderful gift to contribute the best version of yourself, committing to health and wellness for life, however usually unrealistic to be the unwrinkled, trim, and svelte shape you may have flaunted many years ago. Your partner loves you for the whole package, not for what you look like. Embrace your flaws and imperfections, and don't be afraid to be vulnerable.
You could try getting more sleep, taking a nap during the day or evaluating your respective roles and responsibilities. If all else fails, reach for some coffee beans perfectly positioned next to your bedside table? I can’t guarantee you’ll sleep peacefully afterward though.
Why not experiment with new positions or introducing sex toys into the mix. It’s usually against the law to get adventurous in public places however the joy of sex is something that should involve feeling comfortable to try new things.
Busy couples often collaborate in the counselling room on scheduling sex like you would any other appointment. Or, if you're feeling particularly risqué, you could try having sex at work (with your partner). Just be sure to lock the door and… that idea did not come from me.
There are ways to handle conflict in a healthy way. You could try practicing active listening or taking a break when things get heated. Or, if all else fails, seek out a marriage expert (aka people like me!) to learn a healthy new approach to ensure your differences launch you toward deeper intimacy. After all, there's nothing like makeup sex to bring a couple closer together.
Finally, speaking of professional help, cross off a visit to your GP or intimacy expert to explore ways to overcome erectile dysfunction or ladies' intricate equipment matters and the like.
In conclusion, physical intimacy in marriage may not always be a priority, but it is worth constantly working towards it. With a little bit of humour, communication, and creativity, you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way. So, embrace the ups and downs of marriage, and remember to always keep the spark alive.
Joanne Wilson is the Relationship Rejuvenator and author of Renovate Your Relationship – All The DIY Tools For Your Most Important Project ($29.99). She is a neuropsychotherapist inspiring the community for thriving and dynamic relationships that impact generations for mental well-being. Find out more about her online courses at www.relationshiprejuvenator.com
Stuck for ideas? Purchase Jo's Intimacy Inspirations Card Deck on sale for Spring.
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Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilized. Approaches such as Psychobiological Approach to Couple's Therapy (PACT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy may be incorporated.
Relationship Specialist for individuals and Couples online around the world and servicing areas for virtual sessions around Australia and servicing many clients in Queensland including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.