How to increase physical intimacy in a relationship

What is Intimacy for you?

Intimacy is total acceptance, and reciprocal pleasure turning on a couple.

Intimacy is the most private feeling that you would share with someone else in your sexual relationship

Love, affection, and tenderness, which give pleasure, ecstasy, and enrichment to relationships, can fluctuate over the course of time.

Physical intimacy can help to draw us together and creates the climate for a lasting, stable relationship.

Decreased sensual intimacy and failed acceptance of physical connection can dampen passion and love.

If sexual desire and performance wane, it may be decoded as a loss of intimacy and affection. That sets up a vicious cycle: a loss of feelings of mutuality leads to decreased sexual attraction and satisfaction, which further undermines the mutuality.

Romantic relationships can bring us unavoidable pain that is inherent to intimacy. So,how to increase physical intimacy in a relationship?

In a romantic relationship we can’t get away from the inevitable pain that shows up in moments of deprivation, loneliness, disappointment, hurt, insecurity, and disconnection.

As a result, we long to merge and be seen and accepted by our partners, while we also fear being rejected, abandoned, engulfed, or judged.

How to increase physical intimacy in a relationship: We want it and fear it

Love and affection can ease many of the tensions that arise in couples and can override the natural selfishness that arises from time to time.

But even though you swore eternal devotion during the infatuation period—in the belief that your love would last forever—physical intimacy may begin to wane and your love will slip away.

Because we both yearn for intimacy and fear it, we are drawn into a dance of moving toward connection while at times running away in order to protect ourselves.

But physical intimacy alone does not provide the connective tissue of a relationship.

Importance of psychological connection

Remember, commitment, loyalty, trust— protect the closeness, intimacy, and security of the loving bond.

If they do not grow, you must make an effort to integrate them into the relationship.

Knowing that your partner will never leave you, for example, gives you a feeling of safety and confidence in the relationship.

While the physical connection is a powerful magnet that brings people together, it also contains a core of forces that can tear them apart.

At first, couples expect that they will ride a wave of euphoria right through the marriage and that their mate will always be devoted and self-sacrificing.

A series of big and small shocks await them as they discover afterward that these expectations are unfounded.

Sensitivities, moodiness, and differing rhythms for lovemaking can lead to a cycle of frustration and blame.

In a way, intimacy is a by-product of caring, acceptance, sensitivity, and understanding.

By the same token, it is undermined by misunderstandings, indiscriminate criticism and blaming, and insensitivity.

When couples indulge in criticizing, punishing, or controlling each other, they have to consider what they lose in intimacy. When intimacy is lost because of conflicts and battles, a major binding force in marriage goes with it.

Do you share your private thoughts and wishes?
Do you feel free to tell your partner things that you would not tell anybody else?
Do you like your partner to confide in you?

The reduction or loss of physical intimacy

The reduction or loss of physical intimacy in marriage is far more common than most people realize.

A research study found that even among happily married couples, at least 40 percent reported a reduction of sexual interest and desire over the course of time.

There are many reasons for this reduction. In general, the infatuation of courtship feeds the flames of desire; as the infatuation dies down, the intensity of the passion diminishes, too.

As a marriage matures, other concerns of the partners, such as earning a living, making a home, and raising a family, become more pressing—absorbing some of the energy that had previously been channeled into romance.

Gradually, the roles of the wage earner and homemaker take primacy over the roles of the lover. Finally, the fatigue and stress of work, child-rearing, household duties, medical problems, and substance abuse tend to dampen sexual desire.

The major factors in reducing sexual desire after marriage, however, are psychological, stemming from attitudes toward oneself, toward sex, and toward one’s partner.

Self-doubts and fear of intimacy

Self-doubts involving a sense of inadequacy or a fear of failure can carry over into sexual activities. Or you may have specific concerns about sex.

 You may dislike the size of your breasts or the shape of your thighs. You may feel ashamed or self-critical, and you may avoid sex because of this.

Further, many husbands and wives are concerned about their ability to perform adequately, to satisfy themselves and their spouses. This “performance anxiety” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: by paying too much attention to their performance, they rob sex of much of its fun. Ultimately, sex may seem so much of a challenge or test that they lose a desire for it.

 

Interpersonal problems between partners are a frequent source of trouble in their sex life.

 

One of the most obvious problems is a discrepancy in their preferences—when, where, how, how long, and how often. Conflicting desires about timing, frequency, or a variety of sex, breed resentment, anxiety, or guilt.

These unpleasant emotions can then pervade and contaminate their sexual contact.

Negative feelings do not necessarily interfere with sexual desire.

Many people find that sex is a welcome relief from feelings of anxiety, anger, or sadness. But when these feelings are directed toward the mate, they can be accentuated rather than relieved by sex.

Sometimes they inhibit sexual arousal.

There are exceptions, of course—when angry feelings are dispelled by fighting, for instance, and the partners’ passions become aroused afterward.

A medley of attitudes toward your mate can encroach on your sexual feelings. For instance, people who regard sex as a “serious business” or who are depressed may experience inhibition of sexual desire.

Or, if you believe that your mate is using you, doesn’t care about your feelings, or is undeserving, you may experience an automatic choking off of your sexual desire.

The loss of desire itself may lead to misunderstandings that further complicate the sexual as well as the nonsexual relationship.

 

Ken, for example, interpreted Marjorie’s loss of interest as a passive way of punishing him, of making him feel guilty for yelling at her.

Martin believed that when Melanie turned off, she was trying to control the nature of their lovemaking, to force him into being more romantic.

Wendy interpreted Hal’s waning sexual interest as a sign that he no longer cared for her. Of course in some cases, such interpretations may be valid, but usually, they are wrong.

Although people do not turn it off voluntarily, they can turn it on again voluntarily if they use the right methods.

Correct your Thoughts During Sex

By correcting negative attitudes and misinterpretations, you can find that your sexual desire can once again become active.

Read each statement and indicate how frequently you have these thoughts during sex: (0) never (1) rarely (2) occasionally (3) frequently (4) most of the time (5) all the time

Doubts about Self 
  • Parts of my body are not attractive.
  •  My body is not sexy enough.
  •  I am not good at this.
  • I won’t reach a climax.
  • I won’t satisfy my partner.
Doubts about Partner
  • You’re in too much of a hurry.
  • You’re only interested in your own pleasure.
  • You’re too mechanical.
  • I wonder what you’re thinking.
  • I’m afraid I’ll let you down.
  • I’m worried that you’ll be upset if we stop.
  •  I’m bothered that you’re not turned on.
  • How long is this going to take?
  • That doesn’t feel good, but I’m afraid to tell you.
  • You’re trying too hard
  • I wish you’d relax.
  • You’re trying too hard
  • I wish you’d relax.
  •  I’m concerned that you won’t have a climax.
  •  I wish you enjoyed this more.
  • You talk too much.
  •  If only this weren’t so important.
  •  I’m not really enjoying this.
  • This is all you’re interested in.
Shoulds
  • I feel I have to do whatever you want.
  • I ought to enjoy this more.
  • I’m expected to get turned on.
  • We both should succeed at this.
  • I feel obliged to give you an orgasm.
  • I’m supposed to have an orgasm.
Negativity
  • I’m just not in the mood.
  • Why should I get interested?
  • It’s not going to work for me.
  • I might as well give up.
  • I’m only doing this to please you.
  • I’m going through the motions, but it means nothing to me. I’m too tired.
  • It’s too much effort.
  • I’ll be damned if I’ll give in to your desire.

Whether you frequently have a large number of these thoughts and attitudes or whether only a few occur frequently, they can color your feelings about sex, damping down your normal sexual desire and possibly leading you to avoid sex completely.

The anticipation of unpleasantness or indifference can increase over the years.

It is fed by beliefs such as “I’m too old to get turned on”

 “Sex is a burden” or “Sex is just for my partner—why should I get involved?”

 

Self-Therapy for Sex Problems

There are certain obvious things that you can do to increase sexual desire and enjoyment, such as use the methods of self-therapy for improving communication.

Although it may be difficult at first, you can use these techniques to discuss each other’s wishes concerning when and how often you will have sex.

Cognitive techniques that can resolve problems with sex include correcting faulty attitudes and misinterpretations and using imagery to increase arousal. Learn to observe and face the unavoidable pain of intimacy, without using relationship-destroying strategies

As a way of breaking the ice, you could ask your partner about his or her likes and dislikes before plunging in with statements about your own preferences.

Enhance your sex drive

Some of the techniques for enhancing sex—such as relaxation, gradual bodily stimulation, focusing on sensation—or for overcoming specific problems are beyond the scope of this volume.

You can also bring up touchy subjects like differences in styles and each other’s preferences regarding specifics such as foreplay, positions, and preferred kind of stimulation.

Add Sensuality to your Physical Intimacy

What comes to mind when you think about physical intimacy? For many, the first thoughts are of sexual intercourse, orgasms, and all the pleasurable acts that may come before and after.  Anything else?

Now think about Sensuality.

What comes to mind?

Usually, some pleasant experience involves touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, or feeling—such as walking on the beach or being massaged with sweet-smelling oil.

How about the roughness of a beard or the silkiness of hair?

The smell of your partner? Chocolate?

You get the idea.

How to get sensation back: woman’s guide

These are sensual experiences that are ways of connecting in the moment. They are typically neither goal-oriented nor explicitly sexual. Rather, they reflect feelings you have about being in love and attracted to your partner.

The mystery and the excitement of touching can ignite our fire. It can be a light touch, a gentle rub, a finger touching our cheek, tracing our ear, grazing our lips; just bumping together, holding hands, heads touching.
—George Doub

 

Now think about Sensuality. What comes to mind?

Usually, some pleasant experience involves touching, seeing, smelling, tasting, or feeling—such as walking on the beach or being massaged with sweet-smelling oil.

How about the roughness of a beard or the silkiness of hair?

The smell of your partner?

Chocolate?

You get the idea.

These are sensual experiences that are ways of connecting in the moment. They are typically neither goal-oriented nor explicitly sexual. Rather, they reflect the feelings you have about being in love and attracted to your partner.

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  • D’Zurilla, T. J., & Goldfried, M. R. (1971) Problem solving and behavior modification. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 78(1): 107–126.
  • Gottman, J. (1999). The marriage clinic: A scientifically based marital therapy. New York and London: W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Gottman, J., & DeClaire, J. (2001). The relationship cure: A 5-step guide to strengthening your marriage, family, and friendships. New York: Random House.
  • Gurman, A. (2008). Clinical handbook of couple therapy (4th ed.). New York: Guilford Press.
  • Harris, R. (2009). ACT with love: Stop struggling, reconcile differences, and strengthen your relationship with acceptance and commitment therapy. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
  • Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: An experiential approach to behavior change. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Hayes, S. C., Strosahl, K. D., & Wilson, K. G. (1999). Acceptance and commitment therapy: The process and practice of mindful change (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.

 

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