What is intimacy? Intimacy can mean so many things. But for the purpose of this article, we are going to equate it with physical intimacy. The only reason that I feel sexual intimacy equates to intimacy is because both the partners are most vulnerable when they are physically intimate. Physical intimacy in a marriage should bring you and your spouse together like nothing else can. With that said, let’s start with what should NOT be called intimacy in any form because it is always good to have clear boundaries:
Other people should never make it to your sexually intimate relationship. This particular no-no is also called infidelity. That means no pornography either guys! Adding people, having someone on the side, looking at other people having sex (on screen or off) will only damage your relationship. Trust me on this one. When my husband and I were struggling with pornography in our marriage, it only led to the destruction of intimacy. Introducing pornography into our marriage severely tore apart our sex life. This infidelity left us picking up the pieces for years and years. Don’t do it. Simply put, sex should only involve you and your spouse. Adding anything outside of that tears intimacy apart.
Borderline hurtful pseudo sexual acts
Anything that can harm you or your spouse physically or psychologically should be out too. Physically speaking, you and your spouse should never want to hurt one another. Hurting each other is the opposite of intimacy. I know that some people would say that they enjoy being slapped, choked, etc., but that type of sex is demeaning, selfish, and can make the other person feel uncomfortable. If something is uncomfortable or hurting you, speak up and try something else. You should never pressure your spouse or feel pressured by your spouse to do things that you are uncomfortable with or that physically hurt. Sex that hurts will rightfully lead to less sex. Sex that hurts will lead to psychological damage as well.
More comforting, enjoyable sex
Speaking of the psychological aspect of sex, always make sure that whatever you and your spouse are doing is respectful and loving. You and your spouse should absolutely never feel like you are being objectified. Again, when porn was an issue in my marriage, I constantly felt objectified. Sex was only about him and never about both of us. Over many years of that happening, the way I thought about sex changed in a horrible way. I equated sex to “doing a chore”. Instead of equating to pure intimacy. You nor your spouse should never feel that way. You should both feel connected. You should both feel loved. Make sure that everything that you do together in bed is mutual; nothing should be one sided. When I didn’t feel connected and things were one-sided, I hated every moment of sex. When one spouse starts to feel this way, it leads to resentment and less sex. No one wants that.
Which brings us to the bottom line: if you and your spouse are not hurting each other or adding another party, you are open to do what you would like. That is the best part! This is the part where you can explore each other without shame. Discuss what feels good and what doesn’t. Talk about what you would like to try and what your spouse would like to try. Speak to your spouse openly and constantly. This intimate part of your relationship should be a very safe place that both of you can accept and enjoy the vulnerability. The freedom of being able to speak and not feel rejected or objectified allowed us to have a dramatically better sex life.
Now, every couple is different and there will be things that are okay for you and your spouse (which NEVER include infidelity or abuse) that would not be okay for me and my spouse and vice versa. That is another awesome thing about physical intimacy. It isn’t about what everyone else does, it is about what you and your spouse do in that time together. Allow yourself to relax and just be in the moment to purely connect with your spouse. That is intimacy at its core. Now go and experience it yourself!