Let’s be real, increasing physical intimacy in a relationship can be a challenge, especially when you’ve kids in the picture.
It doesn’t matter if you’re fresh out of postpartum recovery or a veteran of late-night feeds and first days at school, trying to get the spark back can feel like an uphill battle (up a very steep mountain). 🏔
But here’s the thing: we all face challenges in our love lives.
Long-term relationships are measured in seasons—some are chilly, but the temperature can always rise again.🌡
So, if you’re feeling disconnected and worried about the lack of physical intimacy in your relationship, you’re not alone.
And it doesn’t have to be permanent.
To help you rekindle that romantic flame, we’re getting to the root of what causes a lack of physical intimacy and expert tips to bring back the heat.
Let’s dive into the power of physical and sexual intimacy (don’t mind if we do…)
In this article: 📝
- What causes a lack of physical intimacy in a relationship?
- How do I know if I struggle with intimacy?
- What does a lack of intimacy look like?
- How to increase physical intimacy in a relationship
What causes a lack of physical intimacy in a relationship?
Life finds a way, but life can also get in the way.
Between the school runs, the work deadlines, and the never-ending laundry pile, a couple’s intimacy often takes a backseat.
Stress, exhaustion, and communication issues can also put a damper on the romance (with or without children).
But physical intimacy is not just about foreplay and matching sex drives—emotional and physical well-being plays a huge part.
Because, let’s face it, rants about work and checking in on chores doesn’t exactly scream pillow talk, just screaming into them.
There are many types of intimacy, but open, honest communication is the foundation for all of them.
It’s what keeps healthy boundaries intact, fosters emotional closeness, and encourages security.
And when communication breaks down, best believe rising tides of resentment, anxiety, anger, and insecurity will follow.🌊
Why don’t I want to be intimate with my partner?
Sometimes, you might find yourself questioning your feelings for your partner as your desire starts to dwindle.
No shame in it, it’s a natural response when the passion fades.
The first stages of a relationship are often the most exciting and steamy, and it’s easy to think (read: hope) it will stay that way forever.
Or that regular sex is what constitutes a healthy, happy relationship built to last.
Spoiler alert: it’s not. There’s far more factors to a thriving relationship than a compatible libido.
But if you’re actively welcoming a sexless relationship, there could be more beneath the surface.
Hormonal imbalances, past traumas, and unresolved emotional issues might be at play.
So we’ll say it again: no shame in it.
Other reasons you might struggle with intimacy are:
- Chronic stress
- Depression or anxiety
- Relationship problems
- Birth control
- Poor body image
- Low self-esteem
- Sexual health problems like vaginal dryness
What to do when your partner doesn’t want to be intimate anymore?
This one can be tough to confront, but communication is again the magic key. 🔑
Like you, there could be a whole myriad of physical and emotional reasons why your partner has pulled back.
And while it’s easy to take it personally or blame it on yourself, oftentimes, it’s a reflection of someone’s internal struggles.
So, find a cozy spot and have a heart-to-heart with your partner.
Express your feelings respectfully and actively listen to what they have to say—judgment-free.
Understanding their perspective and making space for it is crucial to rebuilding that connection.
Remember, you’re a team. And you work best when facing a hurdle united.👫
Rarely are things so black and white when it comes to sexual appetite.
So, there’s no need to shy away from seeking help or having an open conversation with your partner about your concerns.
Vulnerability can lead to beautiful breakthroughs.
How do I know if I struggle with intimacy?
Struggling with intimacy is not uncommon, and recognizing it is the first step toward growth in a direction that feels right for you.
Hesitating to engage in physical contact or feeling uncomfortable during intimate moments are the most obvious signs.
But feeling anxious about getting close to your partner is not the only measure of intimacy.
Fear of intimacy can also look like:
- Perfectionism: The link between perfectionism and closeness has long been explored. People who struggle with intimacy often have low self-esteem and feel they must be perfect to deserve love or affection.
- Being busy: Filling up all your time with work or constantly cramming activities into your schedule can be a sign of avoidance. It’s hard to connect when you’re not physically there.
- Unwilling to share: Everyone is entitled to their private world but constantly keeping your thoughts and feelings to yourself (especially when they count) could signal fear of intimacy.
- Difficult expressing needs: You may worry about being a burden or feel undeserving of support. But not expressing what we need often leads to resentment and lack of confidence in the relationship.
- Poor communication: If you find yourself stuffing more emotion than you release or shut down when important relationship issues surface, you could have intimacy issues.
It’s a lot to reflect on, but doing so is the surest way to address your struggles with intimacy.🪞
If any of these resonate with you, just know it’s not a path you need to walk alone.
Therapy is an excellent tool to help you make progress toward a safe and secure connection with your partner.
It may take some time—slow and steady works best—but you will get there.
What does a lack of intimacy look like?
Picture this—it’s been days or even weeks since you last shared a passionate kiss with your partner. 💋
Nope, quick pecks don’t count.
Affectionate gestures have dwindled, and you find yourself getting more awkward at any hint of intimacy.
A lack of intimacy can manifest in many ways, but the main one is a feeling of isolation and disconnection in each other’s company.
Think California King Bed kind of vibes.
You may even start to feel more misunderstood and, at times, a little judged, like you’re no longer speaking the same language.
As the communication starts to suffer and the body contact lessens, it’s normal for your self-esteem to take a hit.
You might start feeling more self-conscious about the clothes you wear or begin questioning your appearance.
And it’s not uncommon to feel more stressed, empty, and unseen.
All of this happens slowly over time, so it can be hard to spot early.
And while it is painful when it happens, it doesn’t have to mean the relationship is over—just that there is work to do.
How to increase physical intimacy in a relationship
Fixing a sexless relationship takes effort from both partners. It takes too to tango… horizontally.
But also, intimacy—in all its forms—is about mutual connection.
It’s about meeting each other where you are with the same intentions and energy. 🔋
And to do that requires talking about it and deciding if more physical intimacy is what you both desire right now.
Ensuring you’re on the same page before taking it to the next level is not just about consent, it’s about making sure it’s a priority that both of you can and will want to pursue and sustain.
Maybe there’s some healing that still needs to be done on attachment styles or your physical health needs looking after.
But communicating that can ensure that even if your physical intimacy has to stall a little longer, the other types of intimacy stay strong.
If and when you’re ready, here are five ways to bring back sexual intimacy into your relationship:
1. Prioritize quality time together
Spending quality time with your partner can easily get overlooked when you’re climbing career ladders, chasing after kids, and catching up on… everything.
Make a conscious effort to regularly set aside dedicated time for each other without distractions—no shop talk allowed.
Things that invite physical closeness, like walking in nature, sharing tapas, or curling up for a movie.
Choosing activities that instinctively foster emotional connection and shared experiences can help reignite the spark (without the pressure to perform).
2. Explore each other’s love languages
We all have different (valid) ways of feeling loved and appreciated.
Understanding your partner’s love language and expressing your affection in ways that resonate with them can work wonders for physical intimacy.
This could be words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time, or, yes, physical touch.
Showing love in their preferred language can strengthen the emotional connection and make them feel seen.
But make space for your love language too.
3. Get physical outside the bedroom
And we’re not talking dabbling in exhibitionism (but hey, judgment-free zone)
Physical intimacy is not just about what happens behind closed doors and between the sheets.
It starts with small gestures of physical touch throughout the day.
Holding hands, hugs and kisses, a gentle back rub, a touch on the waist—these acts of physical affection can build up emotional intimacy and create a stronger bond between you and your partner.
Plus, who doesn’t love a slow burn? 🕯
4. Be adventurous and experiment
As relationships evolve, so can our preferences and desires. 🌶
With communication now open, it could be an opportune time to explore each other’s fantasies and rethink what brings pleasure and satisfaction.
And don’t be afraid to be adventurous and experiment with new things outside of the bedroom.
Nope, still not talking about exhibitionism.
Trying new experiences together can inject excitement and freshness into your physical intimacy, making it more fulfilling and enjoyable.
Research even shows that an increase in adrenaline.) during an activity increases the attraction between partners.
Who knew extreme sports were an aphrodisiac? 🧗♂️
5. Favor foreplay
Sure, it’s been a while, but there’s much to be said for allowing the tension to build.
Studies show that anticipating a reward can often increase the experience of pleasure in the brain. 🧠
And it’s not just about intensifying the climax.
Foreplay allows you to set the mood and the pace, giving you time to reconnect with each other’s bodies again.
And how that looks is entirely up to you as a couple.
Maybe you’re more about erotic massages than sex toys, or enjoy the rush of teasing and playfulness.
Just remember, foreplay needn’t be confined to the bedroom—flirting and banter count!
Plus, that you can do anywhere. 😏
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: communication is the foundation of any strong relationship.
And when it comes to increasing physical intimacy, it’s no exception.
One of the best physically intimate things to do is create a safe and non-judgmental space to talk openly about your desires, fears, and needs.
Remember, it’s a gradual process that requires patience, effort, and mutual understanding.
Be kind to yourself and your partner along the way, and celebrate every step you take towards a deeper and more intimate connection.
You’ve got this—together.