Do you and your partner have sex and intimacy issues? Counselling psychologist Sebastian Droesler shares his advice on how to reignite the spark in your relationship.
“Sex can become boring, one-sided, unpleasant and difficult. It can also be very much fun, satisfying, inspiring and energising – a source of closeness and strength. However, for some couples, sex and sexual intimacy have become a source of stress and resentment.
Sex can be a good way to improve intimacy in long-term relationships. It’s not the only way. And if there is unfinished business in your relationship, it’s often helpful to address non-sexual matters first to regain trust. Having said that, I know couples for whom sex is a well-functioning resource that helped them stay connected and safe during times of crisis. These couples seem able to separate sex from other areas in their life. None of the partners is using sex or the withholding of it to penalise, manipulate, bully or sulk.
Distressed couples may identify issues with sexual intimacy and declare, “We don’t talk about sex”. In my experience, such a statement often indicates a lack of communication, driven by partners who feel resentful and helpless about the lack of sexual intimacy or too much demand for it. The topic is then often discussed in an “I’m right, you’re wrong” manner, which leads to anger and disappointment, and leaving matters unresolved.
Couples with better sexual intimacy are likely to be able to answer the following two questions for themselves and their partners:
What is your motivation to engage in sex?
What is your concept of sexual intimacy?
Not knowing the answers to these questions often leads to misperceptions, misunderstandings and misinterpretations: “I didn’t know that you enjoyed pleasing me without intercourse.” “Well, I didn’t know how adventurous you are.” Remember that you deserve to build and maintain a safe bond that enables you to satisfy each other – not always an easy task.
Addressing the problem
Three things to consider for better sexual intimacy are preparation, polarity and practice.
#1 Preparation means making space for quality time. If spending time together and having conversations outside the bedroom is difficult, then you might need to address this first. Remember the time you were dating? Find out what was different and how “it” happened.
#2 Polarity refers to the interplay of feminine and masculine energies. Sexual attraction grows when the contrast between these energies magnifies. Everyday life can be mundane and routine-like. Find ways to cultivate the masculine and the feminine to increase sexual magnetism.
#3 Practice can help you to build new habits, overcome distractions and introduce what is good for you both. Happier couples often experiment more and make fewer assumptions. Sometimes the doing part helps to remind you what you like and how much you like it.
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This article first appeared in the Oct/Nov 2017 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.