Sex is not an entity all by itself. In long term relationships, sex and intimacy are influenced by the level of closeness and connection in the relationship.
If you are feeling disconnected emotionally from your partner, and not having sex as much as you would like to, there may be a connection issue. The complicated thing is that the dance around intimacy can become a vicious cycle.
For example, one partner tries to initiate sex and the other is too tired. Or that partner doesn’t feel connected enough to engage intimately. The first partner can then feel rejected or pushed away and may become angry or, conversely, shut down. The second partner then can feel rejected emotionally and feel less safe and increasingly shut down around future intimacy. You can see how the vicious cycle goes. Couples can get discouraged by these patterns and feel hopeless. One partner will often blame the other - especially the one who is not wanting to be intimate.
I see it more as a cycle between both partners, and while one partner may not be feeling sexual or connected enough to engage in sex (and thus seem like ‘the problem’), both partners are actively (or quietly) involved in the cycle that creates disconnection.
Because of this, it becomes necessary for each partner to look at their part in this negative pattern and re-connect emotionally first. Emotional connection and safety inevitably lead to more connection and safety (positive cycle!) and that means the possibility of more sex and intimacy.
That’s a good deal. The catch is that both partners need to admit there is a disconnection issue and be willing to look at their own part. The blame can be put aside, and responsibility taken. Only then can connection and emotional safety be re-established.
It's hard to get past blame and focus on yourself but it's worth it - life is short, and connection is what gives us true joy, meaning, and satisfaction.
Leave a Reply.
Katharina Sandizell, LMFT