When Marital Intimacy Misses

Have you tried and tried to have a meaningful and satisfying romantic experience and just can’t come together in a way that feels right for both of you?
  • Is it clumsy or awkward? 
  • Does it lack the connection you wish? 
  • Is there no synchrony?
  • Do you try to avoid sex?
This is very common, and there are a variety of reasons for it. 
  1. Different levels of experience (skill). The shoulder rub you receive from your friend will not feel as good as one that you receive from a licensed massage therapist. Experience and skill DO make a difference.
  2. Different way or comfort level with expressing emotion and pleasure (or pain) and may not be aware of or understanding each other’s experience. Some women (and men) are going to teach their partner what they like and let them know what they like or don’t like. Others are going to remain quiet. Maybe they are embarrassed to express their desires or experience or are worried about hurting the feelings or upsetting their partner.
  3. Different visions of what to do. One of you may want to swing from the chandeliers and the other may want lights off, missionary style.
  4. Negative sexual experiences in the past. Sexual experience in the present may trigger memories, thoughts and feelings that were previously unpleasant.
  5. Different levels of desire or interest. Some individuals are very responsive to their sexual feelings and some are not. This could be related to hormones, menopause, messages you have received about sex and judgements that were passed down to you from parents or the culture.
  6. Disruptions in your relationship outside of the bedroom. This could lead to withholding or holding back from fully offering yourself to your partner. If your partner doesn’t listen to you in the way you wish in the kitchen, they probably don’t listen to you in the bedroom either.
  7. Time constraints or worry about interference, such as a child waking up or walking in.
  8. Being too busy, stressed, rushed.
  9. Drug or alcohol issues.
  10. Pornography may impede realistic expectations or arousal.

For more information on arousal accelerators and decelerators, click the PDF.

Try to undertake this process without judgement and without assuming your answers are absolutes, for life. When things don’t feel right, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Instead, enter this process in the spirit of discovery and growth through partnership.

For the low desire partner, it can be very overwhelming to contemplate these issues. For the higher desire partner, it can be very frustrating, but remember, both of you are taking a risk to work on this. Keep your eye on the prize, which is a marriage with greater depth, partnership, care and compassion. These qualities will spill over beautifully, in all aspects of your life.

Most couples think they should innately know everything about what the other person likes or dislikes. Why would anyone think this? Some feel as though it makes them less of a man or less of a woman if they have to ask or talk about it? 

There are thousands of ways to give and receive touch. Why should anyone assume they know what the other person likes, or LOVES? You can touch with the delicacy of a feather or the pressure of a heavy massager, and everything in between. The temperature of the room and the bedding could be room temperature or heated. The lubrication could be scented or scent free, cooling or heating, slick, slippery or just moist. There are thousands of factors. If you are not receiving pleasure, there could be many reasons. How do you know how something feels if they don’t tell you or give you feedback?

For Steps 1-3, Download the Full PFD!