Sexual Intimacy A Struggle?

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If only it were as simple as putting on a sensual song and slipping into something “more comfortable” to feel “in the mood” as a woman.  

If you come to us for counseling you have learned all about emotional intimacy and have probably experienced a deepening of your relationship bond in a short amount of time.  But sometimes couples still struggle sexually.  

Sometimes it’s a biological struggle, sometimes its dietary, and yet sometimes it’s just simply a matter of preparing the mind for an encounter with our spouse.  If you are a woman and find that you struggle with getting in the mood or enjoying sex maybe a natural stimulant will help.  If this is you check this out.

According to the Journal of Sexual Medicine 30% of women experience pain during intercourse but “sizable proportions of Americans never even tell their partner when they’re in pain”.  If we don’t talk about this then what are we communicating?

It’s this lack of communication that keeps us from changing the issues that are causing the pain.  So here are a few ways to make communicating about sex easier.

1. Track the Cycle

So if you’ve worked with us at all you know about the negative cycle.  It’s a foundational aspect of building trust and intimacy both emotionally and physically.  When you find sexual intimacy difficult maybe there’s relationship strife keeping you from connecting and it’s messing with you’re ability to get close.  So clear the air.  Track the cycle and talk about how the negative cycle has kept you from feeling close.  Tackle the negative cycle together as a team and that will do wonders to help you draw closer to each other.  Remember you’re talking about the rigid patterns of interaction that have kept you arguing or avoiding issues NOT about how you or your spouse personally bother each other.  Stay focused on the cycle.

2. Ask good questions

It’s so easy to assume we know what our spouse is thinking.  Truly it’s tempting for us all!  So ask good questions to draw real answers out of your spouse.  You can ask your spouse, “what would make you feel more loved?” or “What can I do to serve you today?” or even something as simple as, “tell me about your day?  These little interactions make a big difference in our overall feelings of connection with our partner.  When we are interested in them it makes it easier for them to be interested in us.  That’s true for business and social relationships but it’s also very true for our love relationships as well.  Sometimes we have to be the catalyst for change by first setting aside our hurts and inviting them in.

3. Create your own "normal"

According to a 1994 University of Chicago study, "The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States," almost 80% of married couples have sex a few times a month or more. 32% reported having sex two to three times per week while 47% reported having sex a few times per month. What do you and your partner consider normal? What would you like ideally? Just talking about numbers can help - and give you something to work towards together.  Also, numbers can be intimidating and depressing for some.  If you’re experiencing a time where you have to abstain from sex maybe after a surgery or baby give yourself some grace and take it slow.

4. Be Intentional

Take the time to be.  Just “be” with each other.  Turn off your cell phone and do your best to put the kids to bed early or have someone watch them for a little while to connect with your spouse.  Sometimes just some alone time can help increase physical intimacy.  Just 15 minutes can make a huge difference in your intimacy.

5. Actively Listen

It can be so hard to really listen when our attention is often pulled in so many directions.  A good exercise for listening is to ask at 3-5 questions in a row before you respond with “I” or any other personal pronoun.  In fact, just try to relax and stay quiet while they respond to your thoughtful question. Practice nodding and looking then in the eyes while you concentrate on their answers.  Ask follow up questions so they feel heard and are encouraged to continue sharing with you.  Face them and turn off any distractions.  Active listening will help your partner connect with you and will likely increase your intimacy.

6. Come to therapy

Sometimes we just get stuck in a rut and we need a professional to help us out of it.  That’s what we’re here for.  We’re human just like you with needs and hopes and desires.  We can relate to you but we also have answers because we successfully help couples pull out of the rut every day.  That’s basically all we do.  

7. Write it out

If you are like many people who struggle with sharing their intimate needs with anyone try writing it down.  Write a note to your spouse.  Write love notes to them letting them know how you feel about them.  Sometimes it is much easier then trying to find the words in the moment.  What a great way to increase sexual intimacy!  Through the written word!!

8.  Break out the board games!

Laughing together and having fun can be a wonderful way to connect and fall deeply in love with your spouse.  It’s a great way to initiate foreplay as well.

9.  Natural Solutions Can Help

If you find that you’ve tried all of this and it’s still difficult for you to get into the mood then there are various natural options available.  Here is something we have found to be helpful for some of our clients.  It’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before trying anything.

If you’re ready for couples therapy complete our free online orientation HERE and check out our Healing Broken Trust podcast.