Articles by Jacqueline McDiarmid, Attraction, Communication, connected, Couples, Intimacy, priorities, Relationships, respect, Uncategorized

How to improve intimacy in your relationship

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.

About Jacqueline Jacqueline has been in private practice for more than two decades, helping individuals, couples and families.  She has extensive experience in couple and family therapy and is considered a specialist in these areas. In her clinical practice, she has helped people deal with complex trauma, affairs, complex mental health issues, eating disorders, adolescent behavioural problems (including self-harm and suicidal ideation), behavioural issues in young children which are impacting parents and families, relationship issues and post-separation work. Jacqueline works with many different dynamics: couples, parents, families with young children, same-sex couples, foster/adopted families, families with teenagers and also adult families.  She is particularly interested in helping parents of children with behavioural issues, or with diagnosed conditions such as anxiety, ADHD, ASD and so on. Although Jacqueline’s work is supportive and friendly, she will challenge her couples and families to make the necessary behavioural changes, to repair relationships and to move towards healthier communication styles in the future. Jacqueline’s style is direct and fast paced and she is known for quickly getting to the heart of the matter.  Clients report that they feel safe and understood with Jacqueline.
Qualifications and Professional Membership Jacqueline has a Masters in Couple and Family Therapy (UNSW). She has a Bachelor degree in Counselling and Human Change, and a Diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling. Jacqueline is a Clinical Supervisor for Counsellors and Therapists. She lectures in couple and family therapy at Masters and Post Graduate level, and is currently Head Lecturer for the Couple and Family Therapy course (Masters) at the Jansen Newman Institute.  She has been a Lecturer at the University of Western Sydney and Sydney University, and continues to guest lecture at other tertiary institutions. Jacqueline is also the Director of the Couple and Family Training Centre where she runs regular professional development workshops and seminars for Therapists, Counsellors, Psychologists, Social Workers and Health Industry Workers who are looking to gain skills in this specialist area. She is a Clinical Member of the Family Therapy Association of Australia and a Clinical Member of PACFA.
“Thank you for seeing me today. Your help with all our family issues and all your advice has been invaluable. I don’t know how other families do it, without a Jacqueline in their lives.” – Anna (43) step-mum and mum to four children.
If you feel as though you could benefit from talking with a Therapist please contact  The Sydney Couple and Family Specialists on 02 8968 9397 or email

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