Having healthy conversations about intimacy and relationships is a key component to marriage. There are many reasons your partner may not want to be intimate and working together to solve those issues can strengthen your relationship.
Gigi Engle, sex expert and SKYN Sex & Intimacy Expert suggests that you begin by asking your partner about themselves. This allows you to get a better understanding of their wants and needs.
1. Be direct.
When talking to your partner about lack of intimacy, it’s important to be direct. But it’s also important to approach the conversation from a calm and neutral place. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, it can be difficult to communicate effectively.
This is especially true if you’re talking to your partner about something as sensitive as sex. If you’re feeling nervous, it’s possible that your partner will read that as tension or anger, which can lead to a defensive response.
To avoid this, try to talk to your partner when you’re both in a good mood and in a safe, private space. It’s also helpful to make sure you’re both completely focused on the conversation and not distracted by other things, like checking your phones or doing chores around the house.
Finally, be an active listener. It’s easy to fall into the habit of listening only to respond, rather than genuinely hearing what your partner is saying. This can cause you to miss out on important information that could help you address the issue.
It’s important to listen to your partner when talking about lack of intimacy. It can be hard to hear that your partner isn’t satisfied with their sex life, but hearing them out can help you come to a solution.
You might be surprised by the things they say, but it’s important to listen with an open mind. Your partner may not be interested in more sex, but they might have other needs you can address together, like affection, connection and attention.
Talking about your sex life can bring up a lot of emotions and tension, especially if it’s been awhile since you’ve discussed your sexual needs. Taking time to calm yourself before the conversation can make it easier for both of you.
It’s also a good idea to look into couples therapy or counseling if you’re struggling with intimacy issues in your marriage. Sometimes, a professional touch can be a helpful way to get your partner back on track and build a stronger emotional connection with them. This can lead to a more fulfilling physical relationship, too.
3. Ask questions.
There are a lot of reasons why sex can go missing in a relationship, and it’s important to try to understand where your partner is coming from when talking about their intimacy needs. You might be surprised at their answers, which can help you open up more and create a conversation that’s productive.
Intimacy means different things to different people, but it’s generally a crucial component of a loving marriage. If you and your spouse don’t have a good understanding of each other’s sexual needs, then it can lead to problems down the line.
You might discover that your wife isn’t interested in sex because she’s religious (which could be a reason why you haven’t been intimate) or because of work and kids. Whatever the reason, it’s important to address it before the issue goes any further. According to Gigi Engle, certified sex coach and sexologist at SKYN Sex & Intimacy, some couples find it helpful to take an inventory of their own sexual needs before the discussion takes place. Getting to the bottom of your own needs can help you articulate your partner’s needs more clearly.
4. Be patient.
It can take time to figure out what is causing the lack of intimacy and it may be that there are underlying issues affecting your relationship. Talking to a therapist or other expert can help you get clarity on what’s going on and what can be done to make things better.
If you and your partner decide to seek professional help, it is important that both of you are committed to the process. You can also look into online therapy, which is a convenient way to work with a therapist from the comfort of your home or other location.
Be patient as you navigate the conversation and remember that it will be difficult for your partner to open up at first, but keep the conversation positive. Try to avoid starting on a negative note that could lead to defensiveness or anger. Instead, focus on the goal and your vision for a healthy emotional and physical relationship. For instance, you might start by asking your partner what their definition of intimacy is. This will give you both an opportunity to share your own definitions and needs for the relationship.
5. Be honest.
As with any discussion, it’s crucial to be honest. While it might be tempting to point fingers, you need to understand where your partner is coming from and why they feel the way they do. “The goal of communication is to come to an understanding, and both parties should walk away feeling like they have accomplished this,” Sommerfeldt says.
For example, if you’re worried that your partner isn’t intimate enough with you, it’s important to address the issue honestly. While you may not agree, try to understand their perspective and consider how you can change your own actions to improve the situation.
On the other hand, if your partner isn’t interested in more sex, it’s important to respect their wishes and not push them to change their mind. Remember that intimacy can be more than just physical touch and other forms of affection can help you stay close. Regardless of the topic, avoid using blame, shame, or criticism during your conversation. These can lead to gridlocked situations where neither partner is willing to compromise and it’s likely you’ll never resolve your problem.