Being sexually frustrated or incompatible with your spouse is a large issue that many marriage therapists address during couples counselling. Physical intimacy issues occur for many reasons like stress, age, and change in circumstance, such as having a new baby. Aside from the physical benefits, having a satisfying sex life with your partner strengthens your emotional connection.
It is not surprising, then, that many couples who are having physical intimacy issues experience lower relationship satisfaction and tend to draw away from one another. This is a sad fact that can be easily mended when both partners put in the effort to make time for sex and listen to each other’s needs.
Here are 9 physical intimacy issues that may affect your marriage:
1. Not making time for sex
Busy schedules and sheer exhaustion may be getting in the way from fulfilling your sexual desires as a couple. Not making time for sex is one of the biggest complaints during sexual counseling. The bottom line is this: if you love something, you will make time for it. Do you exercise or play sports several times a week, but don’t make time for sex?
2. Sharing your bed
Do you share your bed with your children or perhaps even your pets? It’s not uncommon for children to snuggle up in bed with their parents for some late night TV or after a nightmare.
You may feel it is your parental obligation to allow your child to come into your bed if they are scared or when they want to spend time with you, but try not to make a habit out of it. Sharing your bed with someone other than your spouse can make intimacy scarce. When children or pets are in your space you have less opportunity to cuddle, caress one another, or have some late night lovemaking.
3. No effort put into sex life
Finding that perfect routine, in bed feels magical when you first embark on your sexual relationship. It’s that moment where you have all your moves down perfectly.
You know exactly what to do to please your partner, so you do it every single time. This is great, at first. But after a couple years of doing the same sexual routine, it can start to lack spark or enthusiasm. Many couples run into physical intimacy issues when they stop putting effort into their sex life by trying new things or trying to seduce one another.
4. Not comfortable communicating
Communication is key in nearly every aspect of your relationship, including your sex life. If you cannot communicate with your partner, how will they know the best ways to please you? Couples need to be able to discuss their wants, needs, and fantasies.
Tell your partner all the things that you love that they are doing, as well as what they could be doing more or less of between the sheets. If you are not vocalizing your sexual desires, your sex life will feel unfulfilling. These physical intimacy issues can result in a general disinterest in having sex with your partner or may even lead to an affair.
5. Too nervous to initiate
Many couples have cast themselves in certain roles inside and outside the bedroom. For example, the husband may be cast as the “initiator”, leaving the wife unsure of how to speak up about her desire for sex. Other couples may be oblivious to their spouse’s signals. Others still may simply be too nervous to initiate for fear of rejection.
6. Not body confident
Physical intimacy issues may pop up due to a lack of confidence.
Women, in particular, are shown repeatedly through media, ads, and in adult movies that women are to be a certain size or shape in order to be found attractive. They may also feel their breasts, stomach, and other areas of their body are meant to look a certain way. This can make them feel hesitant, embarrassed or uncomfortable to engage in sexual activity, even if they love and trust their partner.
A lack of confidence in the bedroom is by no means a female-only problem. Many men worry about size as well as circumcision and what their partner might think of their body.
7. Withholding sex
Some couples, and women in particular use sex as a weapon or as a reward. One spouse may withhold to win arguments or punish their partner. Another might use sex like you might use treats to train a dog. Both of these behaviors are toxic tactics that create a warped view of what should be a loving act.
8. A prior affair
Dealing with an affair is one of the worst things you can go through in a relationship. Not only does it send, usually both parties, into emotional turmoil, but it can also wreak havoc on your sex life. Sex becomes difficult after an affair.
The thought of entering into a sexual relationship with your mate after an affair may seem unbearable. The wounded party may wonder how they compare to the “other” person. There may also be some lingering resentment from both spouses post-affair that doesn’t make them feel very attracted to or loving towards one another.
9. Sexless marriage
Professor of sociology at Georgia State University Denise A. Donnelly did a study on sexless marriage and found that 15% of married couples have not had sex in the last 6-12 months.
Being sexually active on a regular basis makes you feel happier, safer, and more in love with your partner. It bonds you both physically and mentally and strengthens your relationship.
When sex is missing from the marriage it can cause partners to feel resentful, insecure, and ignored. Being in a sexless marriage is one of the biggest reasons why people seek extramarital affairs.
Physical intimacy issues affect your marriage in a number of ways. By withholding sex, not making time for intimate moments, and being unable to communicate about your sex life with your partner, you are setting yourselves up for failure in the bedroom. Practice being open and honest about your wants and needs to restore your emotional and physical connection to your spouse.