Physical intimacy for married couples can be something of a minefield—physical intimacy is an expectation in most people’s view of relationships, but everyone has their own particular preferences and nuances when it comes to just what types of physical intimacy they feel comfortable engaging in.
For married couples, differences in a desire for physical intimacy can create some pretty serious problems if it is not addressed early on. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most important do’s and don’ts of physical intimacy for married couples.
Do: Make sure you’re both comfortable
It’s very important in any relationship – married or not – to make sure that your partner is comfortable with what you are doing. If they aren’t comfortable—then stop. When you’re engaging in any physical intimate activity, make sure to be aware of how your partner is reacting; even if they don’t verbally proclaim any displeasure; their body language may indicate they don’t feel comfortable with certain activities.
Don’t: Try to force your expectations
It can be easy to push your expectations on your partner in a married relationship, especially if you place a high importance on certain acts of physical intimacy. However, trying to force your own personal expectations onto someone else does not work in the end and may make your intimacy issues even more complicated. Instead of forcing your expectations on your partner, talk to them about your feelings, their feelings, and attempt to find some common ground you can both agree on.
Do: Improve intimacy in an appropriate way
It’s perfectly fine to try to improve physical intimacy in your marriage, as long as you aren’t forcing your partner to be uncomfortable. There are many ways to appropriately improve physical intimacy, which include but aren’t limited to:
- Encouraging activities that put you and your partner physically close together, such as riding carnival rides together, sitting together when you watch movies, sitting next to each other at restaurants, swimming together, riding a bike in tandem, etc.
- Engaging in smaller, less overt physically intimate gestures such as holding hands in public rather than cuddling, hugging or kissing in public.
- Cherishing seemingly ‘small’ physical moments, such as brushing hair out of your partner’s eyes, putting your arm around their arm, or simply sitting very close together on the sofa or in bed.
Don’t: Forget that there may be an underlying issue
You may assume that because you’re married, you will automatically know everything there is to know about your partner. In reality, however, this is not the case; sometimes, people have underlying issues which can cause them to feel reluctant with certain types of physical intimacy. For example, some people who grew up in households where physical affection was not expressed may feel uncomfortable with doing so later on in life. Talk with your partner about any underlying issues that may have a role to play.