If intimacy in a relationship dwindles, or even disappears completely over time, generally one partner notices first: there is less cuddling, less sex, and the emotional connection somehow seems to have disappeared. What happened? How can intimacy vanish in
to thin air? One thing is sure: something has to change, or it will have negative medium and long-term effects on your relationship. We’ll discuss the reasons why intimacy can dwindle between partners, and what you can actively do to solve the problem in this blog post.
- What is intimacy?
- When does a lack of intimacy become a problem?
- What are the effects of a lack of intimacy?
- Possible solutions
- How personal lubricants can help you!
What is intimacy?
When we think about intimacy, we tend to think about sex, cuddling, and physical closeness. But intimacy is far more than that. Intimacy can be physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Emotional intimacy revolves around exchanging feelings, thoughts, and experiences within a partnership. But intimacy can also be spiritual or intellectual, if we have deep conversations and discuss the beliefs and values that are important to us.
When does a lack of intimacy become a problem?
In our last blog post about fear of intimacy, we talked about how the causes for this fear can be very complex. There can also be multiple reasons for a lack of intimacy. However, it is important to understand that a fear of intimacy and lack of intimacy are two very different things. With the former, it is difficult for at least one partner to open up, which can result in painful sex. With a lack of intimacy, for some reason there is less intimacy than there was before – or it has even disappeared entirely. Often one partner isn’t as aware of it, and therefore doesn’t recognise that there’s a problem, while the other partner feels neglected, because the physical and/or emotional connection has waned.
What are the effects of a lack of intimacy?
If there is less intimacy, or it has even dwindled away completely, over time that has certain consequences. In the worst possible scenario, the relationship might collapse if it has not been discussed enough, or even at all. A lack of intimacy leads to isolation, frustration, the general communication between partners suffers, and this can cause tensions as a result. Conflicts can arise out of thin air, even though a lack of intimacy might not be identified as the actual cause. It doesn’t matter what the reasons are – the relationship suffers, whether in the short, medium, or long term.
Before we present possible solutions, it is important to understand the causes and effects of a lack of intimacy. This will help you identify which reason or combination of reasons are behind your issues so you can find the right solution for your situation. It is important to mention that there might be many other causes. We wanted to briefly discuss the most important ones here.
We humans are creatures of habit. It is very common for one or more habits to sneak into a relationship over time – and the same goes for sex too. That might suit one person, but the other person might want some variety and be keen to experiment. Habits make sense, giving our brain a break over time, so we no longer have to think about some things any more. In bed, however, this can be a disaster. Sooner or later it becomes boring and you have sex “just like that.”
- Sexual preferences
Maybe there’s something you’d like to try. It might be something completely new, or something you’ve wanted to try in bed the whole time. But you don’t dare talk about it with your partner, because you’re afraid they might react negatively.
One factor that should never be underestimated is stress. Our life is increasingly hectic, and unfortunately we’ve learnt to neglect ourselves. Our relationships suffer from this directly or indirectly, even though they are actually so important to us. Stress in our professional and/or private lives stops us from having the time, energy, and sleep we need for ourselves. This leads to exhaustion and no desire for sex or anything new in bed.
- Other problems in the relationship
Frustration and anger can be caused by totally different problems in and/or outside of a relationship. If you are irritated by your partner, you generally desire them less in bed too. The result can be a breakdown in the emotional and/or physical connection.
- Relationship stages
It can be natural for us to realize that the other person in the relationship is not as well suited to us as we thought. Relationships usually go through several stages. At the start, everything is perfect and our bodies are chemically in a honeymoon period of around 6 to 12 months. During this time, we have higher oxytocin levels (the love hormone). However, once this stage is over, we generally notice over time that we are not suited, and the physical attraction can then also drop off, and we have less sex, or even none at all.
- Physical dissatisfaction
It may also be that one partner no longer thinks they are attractive and sexy. They might be struggling with their self-esteem and self-confidence. If you don’t find yourself attractive (anymore), then how are you going to act that way in front of your partner.
- High expectations
Unrealistic expectations of ourselves can be caused by many things. Today’s porn industry, for example, consciously plays with cliches and an ideal just as much as the modelling world, which most people cannot live up to. Our bodies are varied and can’t be perfect. In porn films we see big breasts, large penises, and buff bodies. Constant comparison can lead to self doubts and false expectations.
- A different sexual orientation
It’s not common, but can be a reason. It shouldn’t be underestimated that some people spend their whole life suppressing their own sexual orientation. These people might even be in a relationship, because they think they should be with someone of that gender – but actually have other/different sexual interests. They might also be asexual, which means they just don’t desire sex at all.
- Hormonal or other physical causes
The female body goes through a period of change during the menopause. During this time, some symptoms occur that make life difficult for women. Desire for sex can also disappear. But men have problems too. Erectile dysfunction or “not being able to get it up anymore” is an issue that is emotionally difficult for many men.
- Psychological problems
Some people have experienced sexual violence, struggle with depression, or are young parents. All those things put pressure on them and can lead them to struggle to open up (anymore) – either emotionally or physically. Most people with these issues cannot move past them without the professional help of a therapist.
- Other causes
Other reasons for a lack of intimacy might include: pain during sex, erectile dysfunction, no confidence in themselves or their partner, or a stronger libido.
There is always a solution, even for a lack of intimacy. It might not always be easy, but it is definitely doable. Because if you have identified the possible reasons for a lack of intimacy, then all you actually need is the right solution for your personal situation. If this is you, we want to encourage you to take the right steps. But ultimately, you must decide on the right solution for you.
- Open communication
You probably already suspected as much, but the cause of most problems in a relationship is poor, no, or not enough communication. Of course, you can communicate too much, but in most cases we don’t talk honestly with each other because we worry about the other person reacting negatively. But it’s important that we do talk and that we bravely discuss our needs, problems, and experiences. And our sexual preferences. Talk about it! 😊
Whether your sex life is monotonous, whether you want to try something different, whether you have new sexual desires, or desires you’ve held back for a long time. Whether you are angry about something, whether you have a physical problem that you might be ashamed of, whether you are too stressed by everyday life – there’s almost nothing you can’t discuss with your partner. Don’t worry. Your partner will probably be understanding, listen to you, and more likely than not feel relieved because they were just as worried about talking as you were. This will strengthen the trust between you.
- Healthy habits
Especially when it comes to stress, you should pay attention to your sleep, exercise, and/or healthy eating habits. We try to squeeze far too many things into our tight schedules. It’s important to keep balanced, and listen to your body. Accept that you can’t do everything at once. Treat yourself to a break occasionally, make sure you get enough sleep, the right amount of exercise, and eat healthily. All that can help to significantly reduce your stress levels and also give you the desire (and time) for sex. In our pjur active blog we’ve got some expert tips on exercise and diet for you.
- Take the pressure off yourself, accept yourself.
Thanks to the advertising industry, we develop false expectations and aspirations for ourselves. As if we had to look perfect, all over our body. It is important to understand that many of these “problems” are artificial. We need to ask ourselves whether constant comparisons with supermodels and random people on Instagram are a good idea – news flash, they aren’t! So long as we are healthy, we should accept our bodies and our flaws as we are. The imperfections are the things that make us beautiful and set us apart from other people.
How personal lubricants can help you!
We wouldn’t be pjur if we didn’t have at least one tip for you about how personal lubricant can help you with a lack of intimacy! 😉 Personal lubricant is a great aid to get your sexual adventures going. There are many reasons to use a personal lubricant. Whether silicone- or water-based, everyone can discover something suitable. If you talk openly about your sexual preferences, recommend a personal lubricant which will stimulate you and get you going.
We hope that we’ve been able to help you. A lack of intimacy is something that can really have an impact on your relationship in both the short and long term. So, take care of yourself, make sure you talk, and be open and honest about your sexual preferences. 😊
Image sources: pexels-alex-green-5700176 ; pexels-shukhrat-umarov-1534633