How To Bring Intimacy Back In A Relationship
If you’re in a long-term relationship, you may be experiencing problems with your sex life. Whether you’re encountering a small speed bump or you’re in an all-out-crisis, the lack of physical intimacy is probably causing issues in other parts of your relationship too.
When you and your partner are intimately intertwined, you feel closer and more aligned in every way! But, there are many reasons love might not be in the air anymore . . . maybe your sex drive has changed, your routine is different, or mundane day-to-day life just killed all the excitement. Is there hope to restore intimacy? Definitely!
Today, we’ll be discussing how to revitalize your sex life and restore this vital connection with your partner. Here why intimacy is important and what you need to do to get it back:
How To Bring Intimacy Back In A Relationship
Effects Of Lack Of Intimacy In A Relationship
Lack of intimacy can have a profound impact on a relationship and on a person. (Learn what “intimacy” really is HERE.) Without a healthy sex life, partners can develop mental health problems like self-esteem issues and a deep sense of isolation. Plus, once you stop communicating about sex, a barrier develops and you may stop talking about a lot of things too.
After a while, the lack of communication and connection can make partners grow resentful and question the relationship. Soon, there’s no playfulness or fun in the relationship at all. Essentially, not having sex after years of a good sex life can make a relationship feel stale and hollow.
The effects of a lack of intimacy can destroy an otherwise functional relationship, but it can also break you down as a person. Feeling lonely, unwanted, and unattractive are not uncommon when sex suddenly or slowly goes away. So, how do you get that intimacy back? Let’s cut through the myths and TikTok tips and get to the truth:
How To Get Intimacy Back In A Relationship
The first step to bringing sex back to a romantic relationship is flirting again. We know, we know, if there’s already resentment and bickering, this can be tough. But, take the first step. Make an effort to flirt with your partner.
Flirting could simply be complimenting them often or greeting them at the door. Or, it could involve sitting closer to them on the couch and telling them what you find attractive about them. Here are a few ideas to get things steamy:
+ Lean in and tilt your head to the side when your partner is talking to you.
+ Praise your partner as much as possible.
+ Softly touch them on the hands, hips, or head while complimenting them.
+ Laugh and make jokes to make the conversational energy more playful.
+ Make eye contact.
Build your confidence.
If flirting is difficult, it’s probably because your confidence is low. That sometimes happens when your sex life has dried up. However, taking back control of your self-esteem and learning how to build your confidence independent of your relationship can really spice things back up. As far as sex appeal goes, confidence goes a long way.
Developing your confidence isn’t as easy as 1, 2, 3. We know that. So, for advice on training self-love and self-confidence, check out the episode of The Blonde Files called “Confidence, Dating Tips, & Originality” and the Him & Her episode titled “Intimacy, Self Love, Cheating, and Confidence.” If that doesn’t do the trick, we’ve got even more confidence boosting podcasts for you HERE.
Show affection and respect.
It’s often been said that women need affection and men need respect in order to feel loved in a relationship. Of course, this is a generalization. But, as a rule, make sure both affection and respect are present in your relationship. Because when first comes love . . . then comes a rockin’ sex life.
Show affection through flirting, bragging about your partner, giving gifts, and listening when they’re down. And, to show respect, request your partner’s input on big decisions, trust their judgment, ask for their opinion, show gratitude, and encourage them. When partners make an effort to do these things, they build emotional intimacy and put a spark back in their love life.
Use physical touch outside of sex.
Physical affection shouldn’t all take place in the bedroom. If you’ve found your sex life has really been lacking, ask yourself how often physical touch is present in other areas of your relationship. If it’s absent altogether, try adding it in anywhere you can!
Holding hands, putting your hand on their back, kissing their forehead, and cuddling are all great ways to ignite that physical attraction and allure without jumping straight for sex. (To understand the benefits of cuddling specifically, check out this episode of The Art of Being Well.) Insert physical touch into all parts of your day with your partner, whether you’re sitting on the couch snuggling or holding hands while walking the dog.
Discuss and solve barriers that are standing between you and intimacy.
Remember, as the podcast hosts at Coupleish put it, hard conversations will save your relationship. In this case, you need to acknowledge there’s a problem with your sex life and identify barriers that are keeping the two of you from being intimate.
Talking about sex will allow the two of you to be emotionally intimate with one another, which is really the first step to regaining a thriving love life. When you can trust one another and align on the reason for your intimacy issues, you can start heading toward healing.
If you’re unsure of what’s causing the lack of emotional intimacy, and, therefore, sexual intimacy, here are a few common possibilities:
+ New Parents:
If you just had a child, it’s not unusual to experience a change in your sex life. Try listening to “Intimacy & Sex after Kids” by Being Bumo or “Love, Sex, and the Magic of Being New Parents” by Coupleish.
+ Hormones and Health Problems:
There are a lot of biological factors that affect our sex drive. Learn more about in “Health Sex, & Hormones” by Good Instincts, “Sex Drive and Deep Sleep Secrets,” by the Art of Being Well, and “Why Am I Always Tired, Have Low Energy, & Low Sex Drive?” by Being Bumo.
+ Sexual Trauma:
If you have a history of sexual abuse, we don’t need to tell you how it can affect your ability to be intimate. The Heal Podcast discusses this further in the episode titled “Sexual Trauma, Learning Your Erotic Language, and Unlocking True Pleasure.”
Switch up your tired routine.
If you want to revitalize your sex life, you can’t stick with the same old, same old. Try getting a little adventurous about when, where, and how you initiate sex. This type of renewed spontaneity will probably pulse sexual intimacy back into your relationship.
However, sometimes the opposite of spontaneity is the answer. Instead of ditching the routine altogether, schedule your sexual activity like anything else on the calendar. It allows both of you to mentally, physically, and emotionally prepare for intimacy. Plus, one partner doesn’t have to feel like they’re always begging for sex. This is a great start to bringing sex back into your life!
Learn more about incapable sex drives with Lipstick on the Rim in the episode Sex, Sex, & More Sex. And, explore the concept of scheduled sex with The Papaya Podcast in her sex therapy episode. There’s great info in both of these episodes!
Communicate about what excites you.
It’s no secret that men and women want different things when it comes to sex. Beyond that, every person, male or female, has different sexual preferences! So, make sure you communicate about what your partner does that you find attractive and sexually exciting.
This will prompt them to share what arouses them as well, and you can both ensure you’re serving the other sexually in the way they want. No more assuming and waiting for the big gestures—communicate what you want and need to happen on a regular basis!
Drop resentment and expectations.
When you want to restore physical intimacy, you have to clear away resentment and expectations. Don’t do this by demanding apologies and action from your partner . . . instead just drop it. Forgive and forget, so you have room for emotional connection again.
You can hear more about how expectations will kill your relationship with the Coupleish podcast hosts. Once you stop assuming malicious intent or selfishness on the part of your S.O., you can love them better and revive sexual attraction!
Do what you love to do together.
So often, we get caught up in our day-to-day lives and forget to enjoy each other’s company. Simply, we get burned out and let it not only affect our work and mental health, but our romantic relationships, too.
If you want to bring intimacy back to your relationship, start doing what you love to do together again! Maybe you once loved hiking together or playing board games. Perhaps you used to go to concerts and try new restaurants. Prioritize all these things again! When fun, playfulness, and joy return to your relationship, usually sex does too.
Seek to understand your partner.
As we mentioned, everyone has different expectations, barriers, and preferences when it comes to sex. Maybe early on sex was easy, and you didn’t need to take time to understand your partner’s likes and dislikes. But, you should take time to learn about all the ins and outs of their sexuality now.
The better you understand each other’s sexuality, the better you can serve one another. Plus, it’ll make sex a regular part of conversation, which should help extinguish any tension surrounding the subject. Start with this episode of Dear Gabby to learn each other’s attachment style, and then listen to more great podcast episodes about sex!
You can restore intimacy in your relationship by switching things up, communicating, and understanding each other better.
Sex is integral to a healthy relationship. When your long-term relationship loses its spice, it’s time to get to the bottom of the issue and work towards a solution. If you’ve tried the above advice and haven’t seen much progress, there’s no shame in seeing a sex therapist or sexologist. You and your partner deserve the best sex life ever!