Love may last a lifetime, but intimacy can come and go. It can happen to any couple at any stage of the relationship. While the absence of intimacy in a marriage is common, it’s not the end of the world. And no matter how close you are, it will likely happen to you at some point if it hasn’t already.
Don’t fret though—just because physical or emotional intimacy fades doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. If you’re both enthusiastic about one another, restoring it is easy as long as you’re both committed to the cause.
Of course, the best medicine is prevention. So, if you’re not struggling with intimacy issues quite yet, you may want to read the following tips and take them to heart. And if you’re already facing the issue, hopefully these suggestions will help you get back to your newlywed A-game.
Emotions Are Everything
To improve your physical/sexual intimacy, you must first focus on your emotional intimacy. This means improving or maintaining communication, being in touch with your partner’s needs, and not neglecting the well-being of the relationship. Be more open with your partner about your fantasies and dislikes; compliment them and criticize when appropriate. Of course, if you have any problems, try to work them out. If emotional intimacy is a problem for you, consider seeing a therapist either solo or as a couple. They can help facilitate communication.
The Power of Touch
Physical intimacy is not just sex. Simple gestures such as hand-holding, hugs, or even cuddling on the couch not only bring you both emotionally together, but can foster a deeper intimate connection. Physical touch produces a bonding hormone called oxytocin, which is one of the feel-good natural drugs that made you fall in love in the first place.
Set the Stage
Ask yourself and your partner—what turns you on and what reminds you of the good ol’ times when you couldn’t keep your hands off one another? Was it a romantic dinner? A long walk? Music? Incorporating that into your “me-time” or even throughout the day can help both of you get in the mood and be motivational.
Whenever possible, and especially when spending time together one-on-one, make sure to remove anything that may take your attention away from the more important task at hand. This means phones off and put away, ideally no TV or video games in the background (unless you’re involved in it together), and if you have kids, take them to a babysitter for an hour.
Break the Routine
One thing that often leads to intimacy issues is getting caught up in the same old routine. When you’re married and working and maybe even have kids, you rely on a routine to maintain stability in your life. While that’s good for mental health, it can take a toll on your relationship. For this reason, it’s important to do something new and unusual on a regular basis—be that initiating sex at a different time (or place) or just taking on a new activity together, changing the scenery can be the key to reigniting the spark.
Schedule Personal Time
On the other hand, if you’re extremely busy, you might not have as much opportunity to step outside the norm. In which case, the recommendation is to at least pencil in an appointment to spend time together (it doesn’t have to be sex) just as you would any other obligation. And no, do not ever put it low on the priority list. Having at least one hour of bonding time is just as important as making your doctor’s appointment. If you’re keen on keeping your partner, this is an important concept to understand.
Too Much Togetherness Can Be Bad, Too
While all of the above is true, spending too much time together or forcing it can backfire. You don’t want to get bored or annoyed with one another, do you? If busyness isn’t your issue, make sure you find something to keep one another occupied on your own. This will give you an opportunity to “miss” your partner and provide you with something to look forward to when you do spend time alone.
Likewise, self-care is important too. If you love yourself, you’ll be much more confident and eager to engage with your partner. So, make sure to take care of your mental and physical well-being— which includes your looks and general health.