It can be alarming when intimacy stops in a relationship. If you’re worried about this happening in your own relationship, there are some steps you can take to try and reignite the spark.
First, it is important to understand what intimacy is and what can cause intimacy to be interrupted. It could be that one or both partners are feeling stressed, anxious, or even bored.
Once the cause is identified, it may be possible to find a solution. If you are struggling to keep the flame of intimacy alive in your relationship, you may find the answers you’re looking for in this article.
What is intimacy?
True intimacy requires vulnerability. Each person must be able to share their worst fears, deepest hurts, and wildest dreams without fear of rejection.
Equally, each person needs to be loving and patient and listen attentively and compassionately to whatever the other person chooses to disclose.
When most people think of intimacy, they think only about a sexual relationship. A close, physical connection is only one form of intimacy. For a sexual relationship to be truly satisfying, there needs to be emotional intimacy.
Physical intimacy, on the other hand, is not isolated but encompasses sexual intimacy. Physical intimacy is perhaps the most well-known and spoken form of intimacy.
This kind of intimacy also involves non-sexual physical closeness. For example, giving a friend a hug, holding a child in your arms, putting your arm around your spouse, or greeting a relative with a kiss on the cheek, are all forms of physical intimacy, better known as affection.
Affectionate, non-sexual touch such as holding hands with or rubbing your partner’s back is a vital part of any relationship. Some would argue that affectionate touch is just as important as sexual encounters.
A hug can help someone feel like they’re not alone. Likewise, holding hands while walking can help spouses feel like they’re not forgotten like they still matter and are appreciated.
Physical intimacy also includes sexual closeness. A truly intimate sexual experience will transcend the physical realm. For example, being sexual with a spouse requires a person to be vulnerable.
During sex, people open themselves up to be judged. As a result, partners have concerns as to whether they’re attractive enough, whether they’re loved enough, or whether they’re good at giving their partner pleasure.
When there’s honesty and trust between spouses, there’s the ability to have true intimacy. True sexual intimacy helps a couple to share an emotional and spiritual experience that’s so powerful and all-encompassing.
A couple has healthy intimate relationships in other forms, such as emotional closeness; this enhances their sexual relationship and brings it to another level.
When other healthy forms of intimacy are not present in a relationship, sexual encounters will be empty and leave both people feeling lonely and unloved. Many times, this type of sex can even leave a person feeling worse afterward than they did before the encounter.
Examples of intimacy
Ultimately, intimacy is about feeling close and connected to someone else. There are many different ways to be intimate with someone. Here are a few examples:
- holding hands
- sharing secrets
- sleeping in the same bed
- cooking together
- working out together
- taking a bath together
Benefits of intimacy
There are many benefits to intimacy, both emotional and physical. Examples of the benefits of intimacy include:
- Feeling closer to and more connected with your partner
- Feeling more loved and supported
- Improved communication
- Increased physical and emotional pleasure
- Feeling more relaxed and stress-free
- Improved physical health, including increased immunity and decreased pain
- Improved mental health, including decreased anxiety and depression
What happens when intimacy stops in a relationship?
There are many reasons why intimacy stops in a relationship. Some of these reasons are emotional; some are sexual. Here are some of those reasons:
1. One partner feels like they’re not being heard
One or both spouses may feel like they’re no longer being heard. When one or both people begin to feel like their wants and needs are not being listened to, there may be a problem with intimacy.
Having a spouse who doesn’t make an effort to listen to you can make you feel like you’re alone in the relationship. On the other hand, feeling heard may be one of the most significant things in making a person feel supported and loved.
2. People may complain that their spouse hasn’t touched them for months
Physical intimacy, whether sexual or affectionate touch, makes a person feel desired and wanted. Frequently, at the beginning of a relationship, the physical aspect of the relationship flourishes.
However, as time goes on and other aspects of life begin to interfere, there may not be as much emphasis on the physical aspect.
In some cases, one person may desire physical intimacy while the other doesn’t appear concerned about this missing from the relationship. When this happens, the partner who desires the intimacy will begin to feel undesirable and unloved.
3. One or both of the partners may be concerned that the spark is gone out of their relationship
While one spouse may be craving closeness that has been lost, the other spouse may find themselves having a difficult time providing that closeness. This is just as much of a problem for the spouse who lacks the desire to be close as for the spouse who craves closeness.
When a spouse feels the spark has gone out of the relationship and has difficulty finding the desire to be intimate, they find themselves in significant pain. Feeling as though the spark has gone out of your relationship can not only lead to boredom but loneliness.
4. One or both partners may be feeling lonely or disconnected
We’ve listed some reasons a person may feel alone or unloved in a relationship. There are times, however, when one part of a couple may be consumed with loneliness but doesn’t know why.
At times like these, a person may feel disconnected from their spouse. They may have grown in different directions, but they don’t seem to have much in common anymore. They may feel that, although their spouse listens to them when they talk, their partner doesn’t truly understand what they’re trying to say.
5. Sexual issues
Many things can destroy intimacy between two people. Some of these reasons are emotional. Some are sexual.
Under some circumstances, both people may desire physical intimacy, but other issues may stand in the way of a satisfying sexual relationship. These include performance anxiety, low libido problems, an inability to achieve orgasm or PTSD from a history of sexual trauma.
What Causes Intimacy to Stop?
There are many reasons why intimacy might stop in a relationship. Here are five examples of such reasons:
1. Too busy
It’s a common complaint among couples: as life gets busier, the intimacy starts to fade. Why does this happen?
There are a few reasons why busyness can lead to a decline in intimacy. First, when you’re busy, you tend to focus more on your to-do lists and goals than on your relationships. This can make you feel like you don’t have time for intimacy, leading to a decline in physical and emotional closeness.
Second, busyness can lead to conflict. When you’re stressed and busy, you’re more likely to snap at your partner or withdraw from them. This can create an emotional distance between partners that can be hard to overcome.
It’s no secret that children can be a big obstacle to a couple’s intimacy. The demanding schedules, constant needs, and seemingly never-ending energy can make it difficult for parents to find time for each other. And when they do find time, they are often too exhausted to enjoy it.
It’s important to remember that children won’t be children forever. They’ll eventually grow up and move out of the house, leaving the parents with more time and energy for each other. In the meantime, there are ways to work around the obstacles and maintain a strong relationship.
By making time for date nights, communicating effectively, and getting creative, parents can keep the spark alive even with young children in the house.
It’s often said that distance makes the heart grow fonder. But what happens when distance stands in the way of a couple’s intimacy?
When two people are in a long-distance relationship, they often have to work harder to maintain communication and intimacy. The physical distance can be a challenge, but couples can overcome this obstacle by making an effort to connect regularly. They can do this through phone calls, video chats, text messages, or even by sending handwritten letters.
Though it may be difficult, couples in long-distance relationships can still have a strong bond. By staying connected and showing love for each other, they can overcome the distance and keep their relationship strong.
4. Poor communication
It’s widely recognized that communication is an essential part of any relationship. After all, how can you connect with someone if you can’t communicate? But what happens when communication breaks down? When poor communication stands in the way, it can lead to a lack of intimacy in a relationship.
Intimacy is about more than just physical closeness. It’s also about emotional connection and being able to share your thoughts and feelings with someone. When communication breaks down, it can be hard to feel close to someone. You may start to feel like you’re living in separate worlds.
5. Mental health issues
Mental health issues can have a significant impact on a couple’s intimate relationship. For example, one partner may be dealing with depression, anxiety, or another mental health issue, leading to difficulties with communication, intimacy, and conflict resolution.
It’s important to remember that mental health issues are often temporary and can be effectively treated with therapy, medication, and other methods. If you or your partner are dealing with a mental health issue, it’s essential to seek professional help and to be patient and understanding with each other.
Ways to Improve Intimacy with Your Partner
If you find that you and your spouse have begun to grow apart and that your intimate relationship is suffering, there is good news. There are specific ways to improve intimacy between you and your spouse. Here are some of those:
1. Talk to each other
Have at least one conversation daily without distractions such as television, phones, or children. You can discuss whatever you like, but try to avoid controversial topics. When you and your spouse share intimate details about your lives, you build a stronger bond.
This is because you let each other into your innermost thoughts and feelings, creating a more intimate connection. Additionally, sharing intimate details can also lead to greater sexual intimacy.
It is important that you not just communicate, but that you communicate effectively with your spouse in order to maintain a healthy and intimate relationship. There are a few things you can do to make sure you are communicating in the best way possible:
- Make sure you’re both on the same page. Make sure you’re both on the same wavelength and understand each other’s needs.
- Be honest with each other. Be open and honest about your feelings, needs, and desires.
- Listen to each other. Active listening is important in any relationship, but it’s especially vital in a marriage.
- Respect each other. Respect each other’s opinions and feelings, even if you don’t always agree.
By following these tips, you and your spouse can improve communication and create a more intimate relationship.
2. Make time for physical affection.
Affection is an integral part of any intimate relationship, as it helps to build connection and intimacy. Physical affection includes holding hands, cuddling, hugging, and kissing.
It’s essential to show physical affection to your spouse as it helps to build trust, closeness, and connection.
Physical affection is also essential for a healthy sex life. According to the Kinsey Institute, the more couples are physically affectionate with each, the more satisfied in their relationship they tend to be.
Hug, kiss, hold hands, and touch each other frequently. As marriage and family life grow increasingly hectic, the first thing that tends to go is physical intimacy.
The children need tending to, the house needs cleaning, and you have deadlines to meet at work. Unfortunately, when physical intimacy suffers, the rest of your relationship can suffer. Take time to get close to one another.
3. Be open and honest with each other
In any close relationship, be it with a friend, family member, or partner, honesty and open communication are key. Without these things, it can be challenging to establish trust and intimacy.
Dishonesty can impact many aspects of a relationship, including trust, communication, and intimacy. In addition, when one partner is dishonest, it can create a feeling of distance and isolation.
Dishonesty can be especially damaging to a relationship if it leads to a loss of trust. If you can’t be honest with your partner, it may be difficult to communicate openly and connect on a deeper level. Ultimately, dishonesty can erode the intimacy in a relationship, leaving both partners feeling alone and empty.
Honesty allows us to be ourselves and to be vulnerable to another person. It also opens the door for difficult conversations that need to be had. And when we’re open with our communication, we’re more likely to hear and understand the needs of our loved ones.
All of this is important for intimacy because, in order for us to be close to someone, we need to be able to trust them and feel like we can be ourselves around them.
4. Make time for each other.
It’s widely accepted that spending quality time together is essential for maintaining a healthy and intimate relationship. But why is this the case?
A study by the University of Virginia has shown that relationships with couples who make time for each other regularly are more likely to report increased levels of communication, commitment, and sexual satisfaction.
One theory is that quality time allows couples to build intimacy by sharing their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This intimate bond is essential for a lasting and fulfilling relationship.
Find time for date nights and quality time spent together without distractions. It’s easy to have fun at the beginning of a relationship. As time passes, people tend to throw themselves into work and other responsibilities.
Sometimes, couples may have more fun with friends or extended family than with their spouses. Therefore, it’s essential to continue to find ways to have fun together regularly.
5. Be generous with your time and attention.
Giving your time and attention to your partner is one of the most important things you can do to nurture intimacy in your relationship.
When you’re generous with your time, you’re sending the message that your partner is worth your valuable time and wants to spend it with them. This sends a strong message of love and care.
Being attentive to your partner shows that you’re interested in them and value their thoughts and feelings. This can be a difficult thing to do amid our busy lives, but it’s so crucial for creating and maintaining intimacy in our relationships.
Listen to your partner and be there when they need you. A relationship needs nurturing. It’s true; life can often get in the way. You must make sure you carve out time to be there for your spouse.
6. Be patient and understanding
Throughout your life, you’ll experience many different types of relationships. Some will be based on friendship, others on work, and others on love.
Each type of relationship requires different things from you, but one thing that’s commonly required in all types of relationships is patience.
Being patient means, you’re willing to wait for something without becoming angry or upset. In relationships, patience is essential because it shows that you care about the other person and are willing to understand them. Without patience, relationships would be filled with anger and conflict.
So why’s being patient and understanding so important for intimacy in a relationship? One reason is that it allows you to resolve conflicts more constructively.
When you’re patient with your partner, you’re more likely to listen to their side of the story and to find a compromise that works for both of you.
So, give each other the benefit of the doubt, and don’t be quick to anger. Don’t only listen to your partner. Make an effort to hear what they are saying.
7. Be willing to compromise
Compromise is essential for any healthy relationship, especially regarding intimacy. When you’re intimate with someone, you’re sharing a part of yourself that is usually hidden from the world.
This can make you feel vulnerable and exposed, but it can also be a deeply intimate and connecting experience. To create a safe and trusting environment for intimacy, you need to be willing to compromise with your partner.
This means being open to their needs and desires and willing to negotiate and find a middle ground. If you’re not willing to compromise, it’s likely that your relationship will eventually suffer.
You will sometimes have to do things you don’t necessarily want to do. In the interest of fairness and compromise, it is always worthwhile to give of yourself in a relationship to show your spouse you care.
8. Make sure you work on your sexual relationship
There are many benefits to having a healthy sexual relationship, both physically and emotionally. Not only does sex promote intimacy and closeness between partners, but it also releases feel-good hormones that can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Physical benefits of a healthy sexual relationship include increased circulation, improved immunity, and reduced pain. Emotional benefits include increased trust and communication, reduced anxiety, and improved self-esteem.
While there are many benefits to having a healthy sexual relationship, it’s important to remember that each person is different, and there’s no one “right” way to have sex. What’s most important is that both partners feel comfortable and safe with each other.
9. See a couples’ counselor
It is estimated that 4 out of 5 couples in the United States will experience some form of relationship conflict in their lifetime. And while conflict is a normal and healthy part of any relationship, it can still be challenging to manage.
This is where couples counseling can be helpful. Couples counseling is a therapy that can help couples improve communication, resolve conflict, and build a stronger, more intimate relationship.
Research has found that there is a significant improvement in relationship satisfaction after couples therapy when compared to pre-treatment levels.
Counselors can help couples learn how to express their needs and feelings in a productive way, how to listen to and understand each other, and how to negotiate and compromise. If you and your partner struggle to communicate or connect on a deeper level, consider seeing a couples counselor.
With the help of a professional, you can learn the skills you need to build a stronger, more intimate relationship.
Counselors can offer guidance on effectively communicating with one another. They can also teach couples how to overcome obstacles that may be preventing a deeper connection. Ultimately, couples’ counseling can provide the tools and support needed to build a stronger, more intimate relationship.
FAQs if Intimacy Stops in a Relationship
Is it normal to have intimacy issues when you live together?
It is not uncommon for couples who live together to experience difficulty with intimacy and sexual relations. Several factors can contribute to this, such as stress, busy lifestyles, and differing levels of sexual desire.
If you’re experiencing difficulties with intimacy, it’s essential to communicate openly with your partner.
Taking some time to reconnect outside of the bedroom can also be helpful. If you are struggling to resolve the issue, consider speaking with a therapist or counselor who can help you and your partner identify the root of the problem and find ways to overcome it.
Does having sex bring people closer?
Many people believe that having sex with someone brings them closer together. But is this true? Does being intimate with someone necessarily mean you are closer to them emotionally?
There’s no easy answer to this question. It depends on the individuals involved and the quality of their relationship.
Some studies suggest that being intimate with someone can help create a stronger emotional bond. So if you’re looking to strengthen your relationship, being physically intimate with your partner may be an excellent place to start.
Is expecting physical intimacy from your partner wrong?
Many people believe that expecting physical intimacy from their partner is wrong. They think it’s natural for the spark to fade over time and that asking for sex is somehow needy or desperate.
This is not necessarily true. It’s perfectly normal to expect physical intimacy from your partner, and there are several reasons why it is essential.
For one, physical intimacy is a way of showing love and affection. It’s a way of expressing yourself to your partner and letting them know that you find them attractive and desirable. Additionally, physical intimacy can help reduce stress and tension and be a great way to bond with your partner.
Do couples fight more when they lack intimacy?
It is often said that couples who fight more are lacking in intimacy. While this may be true in some cases, it is not necessarily true in all cases. Many couples fight frequently but still have a strong level of intimacy.
On the other hand, some couples never fight but lack intimacy. So, what is the connection between fighting and intimacy? The answer may vary depending on the couple. For some couples, fighting may be a way to release built-up tension and bring them closer together.
For other couples, fighting may signify that they are not as connected as they should be. In either case, it is vital to communicate with your partner to figure out what is causing the fighting and how to resolve it.
Can a relationship or a marriage survive with no physical intimacy?
Physical intimacy is indeed a necessary component of a romantic relationship. Without it, the relationship may begin to feel more like a friendship.
While it’s true that physical intimacy is essential, it’s not the only thing that defines a romantic relationship. Many couples have a solid emotional connection but don’t share a physical one. Yet, these relationships can be just as fulfilling as any other.
It’s important to remember that every relationship is different and what works for one couple may not work for another. The most important thing is communicating with your partner and figuring out what works for you.
How long without physical intimacy until I should be concerned?
Some experts suggest that people need to have some form of physical contact, such as hugging or sexual intercourse, at least once a day to maintain their physical and emotional health.
Others believe that people can go without physical intimacy for extended periods, provided they have other forms of emotional intimacy, such as close friendships or a supportive family.
There’s no right or wrong answer, and it’s ultimately up to each individual to decide how much physical intimacy they need. If you are concerned about not getting enough physical intimacy, you should speak to a doctor or mental health professional.
What if nothing seems to work?
If you find yourself in a relationship lacking physical intimacy, trying to fix the problem on your own can be tempting. However, if nothing you do seems to work, it may be time to seek professional help.
Couples therapy can be a great way to explore the underlying issues causing the problem and find new ways to connect with your partner. If you’re feeling lost and uncertain about what to do, reach out for help.
A qualified therapist can give you the guidance and support you need to get your relationship back on track.
Many kinds of intimacy are essential components of a significant relationship. In addition, one type of intimacy affects another. So while you may be most concerned about your sexual relationship, remember that emotional intimacy impacts the quality of physical intimacy.
Our final thoughts
In conclusion, the more ways you and your spouse or partner can learn to connect, the better. And, the deeper the connection or, the more vulnerable you allow yourself to be with your partner, the healthier and more satisfying all aspects of your relationship will be in the long run.