How to improve intimacy in your relationshipJune 05, 2023
Couples I see in couples counselling often state “improving intimacy” as a goal for their work with me.
There are different types of intimacy and it’s not all just about sex and touching. Intimacy is also about communication and time together.
There are many reasons you might need help with intimacy. There could be trust and attachment issues stemming from past traumas. There might be unresolved resentments in the relationship. Sometimes the demands of children, careers, finances and just existing in Sydney get in the way. Once you add behaviours like looking at phones in bed, working long hours, or choosing your ‘to do’ list over your relationship … things just get worse.
Some of the above just require mindful behavioural change. However, underlying resentments, issues with attachment, and past traumas typically require professional help by a Couples Counsellor.
10 ways you can improve intimacy in your relationship:
- Set a time at night where all devices are put away. And then plan to do something together.
- If the kids are taking up a lot of energy and attention, book in a regular date night or date lunch. Or date walk. A regular babysitter will work out cheaper than ongoing Couples Counselling or a divorce!
- High stress can really lead to problems with intimacy. I often see a pattern that looks like: high stress, an increase in conflict, a loss of intimacy, higher stress, and so on. What’s the answer? Start with ways to reduce your stress.
- Set up your environment for intimacy. Soft lightening, soothing candles, gentle music in your home. Dress in a way that makes you feel good and confident around your partner. Now talk. Look at each other in the eyes and talk.
- Schedule sex. I know this sounds very unromantic but if you are in a long-term relationship, it’s one of the best ways ensure you have sex and keep sex alive in your relationship.
- If sex seems too overwhelming for one or both of you – start with a massage and a six second kiss. You can read about six second kisses here.
- Compliment your partner at least twice a day. And also show appreciation every evening. The biggest killer of intimacy is criticism and conflict. If this is a problem for you, seek a Couples Counsellor to help you improve your communication.
- Do some activities together. What did you and your partner like to do together when you first met? Brainstorm and see if you can reignite enthusiasm for something you’ll both enjoy. E.g. hiking, bars, restaurants, travel, exercise.
- Set some common goals together – or try something new together.
- Schedule time regular time together. Just like sex, time in long term relationships often needs to be scheduled to make it happen.
Intimacy creates a sense of closeness and security with our partner and gives us those feelings of not only loving someone but being loved back. When we are intimate with our partner, we feel happier in the world. This is why it is worth doing the work to get intimacy back in your relationship. And intimacy can be brought back into a relationship if both people want it back.