If you are asking yourself this question you aren’t alone in this—sexual issues are common in marriages—you must feel extremely lonely. You may also feel rejected, angry, and helpless, especially because you seem to have no explanation for why this is going on. But you don’t have to resign yourself to an untenable sacrifice. Whether you’ve been with your partner forever or it just became official, intimacy is an important aspect of the relationship. Intimacy, at its most basic, is closeness. Within a relationship, intimacy usually refers to a couple’s sex life. Sex is a significant component of healthy romantic relationships—it’s what separates lovers from friends. But if this component is missing, this doesn’t mean that your relationship is over or your partner is cheating, there may be a lot of surprising reasons for this and we have got you in this for we will tell you some of these reasons and what you can do about them.
1. Tension in the relationship
If the two of you have other problems, they will often show up in the bedroom. If there are power struggles, resentments, conflict, or tension, your husband may not be interested in intimacy. While some people are happy to still share sex with their partner despite any negativity in the relationship, plenty of people of all genders are going to avoid it. And sometimes people withhold sex out of anger and frustration. Do you know how it is when someone you care about deeply hurts you? In this situation, you can't help but feel a huge disconnect between the both of you. This often spills into other areas and a major change occurs in the bedroom. It may be because of past infidelity, some sort of betrayal, or friction. Nevertheless, leaving it to fester and boil over is a big mistake.
2. Health issues
Overall health, disease, and medications can all play a role in sexual interest. Certain conditions, like heart disease and diabetes, can affect sexual functioning as well as libido. Some medications can dampen sexual desire as well as sexual responsiveness. If someone feels lousy and sluggish in general, they may not have the energy for sex or feel good enough about themselves or their body to want to be physically intimate.
3. Increased stress
Stress may work as a defense mechanism against anxieties and the person may want more but sometimes high levels of stress diminish the sex drive. As life gets more complicated, it can be more of a struggle to feel a desire for sex. Men, just like women, can get stuck in their heads, finding it hard to let everything go and get in the mood. For many people, stress and worry shut down the systems that would create sexual desire.
4. Lack of hygiene and etiquette
Practicing good dental and bodily hygiene and keeping your hair groomed (including the vaginal area, beards and mustaches, underarms and legs, and giving attention to your hairstyle and maintenance) are areas couples must give attention to throughout the entire duration of the relationship and not only when you are dating or have special occasions to attend. Communication is paramount when it comes to resolving these issues, as your partner can’t know something is bothering you if you don’t tell him.
5. Fear about performance
Men may believe they are supposed to be good lovers, supposed to know how to please a partner, and supposed to get and maintain an erection. If any of this is a struggle, sex can become stressful and risky rather than pleasurable. It's common to avoid sex when it sets you up to feel like a failure.
6. Here is what you can do about it
6.1 Communication is the key
Every single expert we spoke to said the key to dealing with a lack of intimacy in a relationship is honest, judgment-free communication. There’s no way around this one. Diving in headfirst can be daunting. Instead, start small with a little self-disclosure. Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist and resident sex researcher at Astroglide, says mutual self-disclosure is essential to building trust and closeness. With trust, comes vulnerability (and vice versa!). “[Self-disclosure] also establishes a norm of communication, thereby facilitating more difficult conversations down the road, which can make it easier to navigate conflict situations and also to tell your partner how you feel,” says Dr. Lehmiller. The communication process must be reciprocal and free of judgment. Try listening more than you speak. Now isn’t the time to demand more intimacy, it’s time to understand where your partner is coming from.
6.2 Invest in non-sexual touch
Consider the meaning behind gestures like holding hands or hugging. If you only touch or get physically close right before or right after sex, it might be time to invest in non-sexual touch. Engle acknowledges the important role touch plays in relationships. “Studies have shown that when we receive touch, our brains release oxytocin and other positive neurochemicals, making us feel calm, happy, and at peace,” she says. So, if we only associate touch with sex, we may not reach out to them if we’re not in the mood. This creates distance.
6.3 Invest in yourself
You are caring for someone else, but what are you doing to care for yourself? When we regularly care for ourselves, we are better prepared to deal with the stresses we face, including the ones that don’t seem to make sense or seem like they are easy to resolve. It is easy to forget to take care of yourself when you are so concerned about the well-being of others. May this be a reminder about the importance of checking in with yourself and engaging in something restorative, energizing, or otherwise positive for yourself.
Discussions with your partner about intimacy definitions, meeting needs, and relationship issues aren’t debated in team practice. There is no right answer, no correct level of intimacy every couple must have to be happy and healthy. There’s only the two of you and your unique connection.