Intimacy Issues in a Long-Distance Relationship

Intimacy Issues in a Long-Distance Relationship

Ever wondered how to handle the ups and downs of intimacy in a long-distance relationship?

If you’ve been in a relationship separated by physical distance, you know that intimacy issues in a long-distance relationship are part of the course. Romantic relationships have three types of intimacy: emotional intimacy, physical intimacy and sexual intimacy. Many long-distance couples face issues with all of these, including a lack of physical and emotional intimacy, fear of intimacy and sexual frustration among others. Honest communication and frequent visits are essential to handle intimacy issues and create a healthy relationship.

Let’s explore these issues and see what you can do to fix them.

Communication Barriers

Ever sent a message that came across differently than you intended? Without seeing facial expressions, hearing the tone of voice or seeing the body language, miscommunication can sometimes turn harmless words into misunderstandings. Using phone calls can work for deeper conversations or phone sex, though, body language is still an issue.

Video calls are great for maintaining emotional connection. They also allow you to see your partner’s face and body, which makes video chatting by far the best way for consistent communication and deeper connection. This can add depth to your conversations, reduce the chances of misinterpretation and help you keep intimate connection.

Regular video chat should be one of the top ground rules in your long-distance relationship. With another, being a weekly date night. Focus on emotional closeness and use video calls to visually connect.

Emotional Disconnect

Remember those heart-to-heart talks you had in person? In long-distance relationships, those deeply connected conversations might become less frequent. You might start missing the emotional closeness you once had and feel disconnected.

Some long-distance couples believe that a successful relationship is the one that lasts. However, unless you can create a healthy relationship, it may not be worth it.

Without physical contact, you rely on emotional closeness to help you feel connected and stay intimate.

So, if you start losing emotional intimacy, it can be the start of the end of your long-distance relationship.

Emotional disconnect can lead to many issues, like:

Set aside dedicated time for heart-to-heart conversations. Even if it’s intimate conversations over a video chat, creating space for these talks can help rekindle emotional intimacy and get the conversation flowing again.

Lack of Emotional Intimacy

While you can manage an emotional connection for some period, with time, it becomes increasingly difficult.

If you lack emotional intimacy, it can indicate that your feelings have changed or perhaps you have developed feelings for another person. 

Physical separation means no physical contact. And, without physical touch, your needs for physical intimacy and sexual intimacy won’t be satisfied. No sex life will eventually lead to sexual frustration. One way to manage this is by talking openly and honestly about all your feelings and desires. Once you get it out in the open, it will allow you to get on the same page and find a solution together.

A lack of emotional intimacy can lead to:

To have a truly successful relationship, you need amazing communication skills to discuss sensitive topics and address any doubts or concerns. Since it’s not always easy, our workbook can guide you through this process. You’ll know how to bring up important conversations and develop emotional intimacy.

Lack of Physical Intimacy

The nature of long-distance relationships is the inherent lack of physical intimacy. This is what makes them hard the reason long-distance relationships aren’t meant to last a long time. So, while you can hold off for a few months without sex, long-term it’s not sustainable.

Ever missed that comforting embrace or holding hands? In a long-distance relationship, the absence of these simple yet powerful gestures can leave you feeling a tad lonelier and longing for those familiar touches.

If you can’t find a way to be together, you can try to increase sexual intimacy by having a virtual date night and spice it up with dirty talk or even a new sex toy.

Depending on your unique relationship, virtual date nights and phone sex, may no longer be considered quality time, particularly if you’ve been in a long-distance relationship for a while. Perhaps what you are looking for is spending quality time with a real person. In this case, you have three possibilities:

  1. Visit each other more regularly and frequently.
  2. Consider an open long-distance relationship.
  3. Have a short break for a couple of weeks.

Maybe, later on, you will get back together, or perhaps you will move on.

In a long-distance relationship, the hardest thing is to be away from your partner. Most of the time, it happens due to circumstances rather than out of choice. However, if one partner avoids physical proximity, it could be a red flag that they are no longer interested.

Without physical presence, you don’t get the comfort of physical touch, a kiss or a hug. 

Physical contact reassures you that you are not alone and helps you feel safe, calm, and content. Without it, it’s hard to judge the state of your relationship. With time, the physical separation and a lack of physical and emotional intimacy can strain your relationship, leaving you feeling helpless. 

You may decide to suck it up and stick it out or make your long-distance relationship work.

A romantic relationship where you can’t be physically intimate with your partner isn’t healthy.

Sometimes, you may not have the means to see each other as often as you’d like. But it doesn’t mean that you should neglect your need for physical intimacy.

If you’ve been in a long-distance relationship for a few months, physical distance may start taking its toll. Once you start feeling deprived of physical touch, you may suppress this need and pretend that you are okay with it or talk to your partner, weigh your options and find a solution. The longer you leave it unsolved, the more power it’ll start having over your decisions.

Some couples try to maintain their long-distance relationship for years. In some cases, a person doesn’t have a strong sex drive and doesn’t need to be physically close to their partner. For such people not having a sex life may not be a big issue.

A long-distance relationship where physical separation leaves you deprived of physical touch may not be worth having. Either find a way to build intimacy or break up and move on.

Incorporate virtual hugs and kisses during video calls. While it’s not the same as the real thing, it can add a touch of comfort and affection.

Sexual Dissatisfaction

Ever wished for more physical intimacy? In long-distance relationships, the distance can lead to unfulfilled desires and sexual frustration, leaving you yearning for those intimate moments.

A lack of sexual intimacy often leads to sexual frustration and is one of the main reasons why long-distance relationships don’t work.

When physical distance is getting in the way of intimate connection, you can try to keep the spark alive by having a virtual date night, phone sex, and even virtual sex with an interactive sex toy. But none of these replaces physical connection with a real person.

If you have the means to see each other often, long-distance relationships are not as hard. However, many long-distance couples aren’t in a position to travel so much either because of busy schedules or due to financial limitations.

If you need sex more frequently than your partner, it would be harder for you to manage without it. Share your feelings with your partner and allow them to help you arrange more frequent visits or consider closing the distance sooner rather than later.

Note that a long-distance relationship isn’t a complete romantic relationship. It’s a phase in a relationship that allows you to get to know another person at a deeper level. You can make the most out of your long-distance relationship by fixing the problems. you may encounter along the way. Check out the most common problems long-distance couples face in a separate article.

Sexual intimacy is an important aspect of a long-distance relationship as much as a regular relationship. To make your long-distance relationship work despite the physical distance, consider the following questions:

  • How long will the physical separation last?
  • How often do you need to see each other for sexual satisfaction?
  • How will you satisfy your sexual needs while apart?
  • What do you want to achieve during the long-distance period of your relationship?
  • How will you know when it’s time to move in together, turn your relationship into a friendship or break up and move on?

When you’re feeling sexually frustrated, this frustration can spread to other aspects of your relationship. Take care of it by following the steps in our article that explores sexual frustration in a long-distance relationship in greater detail.

Explore shared fantasies and desires through texts or calls. Keep the conversation playful and open, sparking anticipation for when you’re together again.

Fear of Intimacy

Intimacy is the connection that you feel with your long-distance partner. Some people are afraid of having this connection for fear of losing it. Ironically, it’s the fear of losing this connection that gets in the way of a person having this connection, to begin with.

People can be afraid of intimacy because of their previous experiences. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, both you and your long-distance partner have a personal history.

Previous romantic encounters may affect your behaviour, thoughts, and beliefs. As a result, you may come into a relationship with fear of being completely open and honest. If this is you, don’t feel pressured to open up right away. Just mention to your partner that you are having some baggage and that it’ll take you some time to get comfortable and trusting.

If you recognise that you are afraid of intimacy, you should talk to your partner about it.

The only way you can sort out your intimacy issues is by facing them.

Trust and Jealousy

Ever found yourself wondering what your partner’s up to? Trust can sometimes take a hit when you’re not physically together. Developing trust while being separated by physical distance is an obstacle many long-distance couples face, yet few manage to conquer.

A lack of trust can lead to jealousy. And, when you feel jealous, rational thinking is replaced by an emotional response, which isn’t always a healthy one. Agree on some ground rules of having open and honest communication, regardless of your doubts or insecurities.

Share more about your day-to-day activities and have engaging conversations on a variety of topics to create a deeper connection. Transparency can help build trust, as you’re letting your partner in on your life even from a distance.

Different Schedules

Ever struggled to coordinate a simple chat? Time zone differences and busy routines can leave you feeling like ships passing in the night, making quality conversations a bit harder to come by.

Many long-distance couples live in different cities separated not by only physical distance but also by many time zones. This makes spending quality time like virtual dates over video calls and intimate conversations to connect on a deeper level yet another issue of physical separation.

Establish a routine for regular check-ins. Knowing when you’ll hear from each other can ease the frustration of mismatched schedules.

Lack of Shared Experiences

Ever missed out on creating memories together? Long-distance relationships might mean fewer shared adventures and experiences that bond you together. From phone sex to virtual date nights, engaging in virtual intimate activities can be a fun way to keep things fresh and exciting.

Trying out something like virtual sex may feel awkward in the beginning, but after spending time with it, you may very well develop a whole new approach to video chatting.

You can also watch movies or read books simultaneously. Sharing thoughts on the same content can create a sense of shared experience despite the physical separation.

Overdependence on Technology

Ever wished for a real hug instead of a digital one? While technology is a lifeline, it can’t replicate the warmth of physical presence. Over time, digital chats might leave you craving a more authentic connection.

Write old-fashioned love letters. Receiving a handwritten note in the mail can bring a tangible sense of connection and nostalgia.

Uncertainty About Future

Ever felt unsure about where your relationship is headed? The uncertainty of when you’ll be physically together again can make you question the long-term feasibility of the relationship.

Plan visits or reunions. Having something to look forward to can help alleviate the anxiety of uncertainty.

Misalignment of Needs

Ever wanted more attention than your partner seems to give? Differences in how much communication or intimacy is desired can cause tensions, leaving one person feeling disconnected.

Set clear expectations for communication and intimacy. Find a balance that works for both of you, ensuring that neither feels neglected.

Feeling Lonely and Isolated

Ever felt left out of each other’s lives? Being apart from your partner’s daily routines and social circles can leave you feeling a bit isolated and disconnected. Once you feel disconnected, it’s worth spending time video chatting to address any intimacy issues you might be facing.

Share more about your surroundings. Send photos or videos to show where you are and who you’re with, making your partner feel more involved.


Ever wondered if your partner still finds you attractive? Without regular physical validation, it’s common to question your own worthiness in the relationship.

Exchange compliments and affirmations. Regularly reminding each other of your attractiveness can boost confidence and reduce insecurity.

What Causes a Lack of Intimacy in Long-Distance Relationships?

Common reasons for the absence of physical intimacy are:

  • no money to visit
  • no time to visit
  • no willingness to travel

Reasons for lack of emotional intimacy include:

  • infrequent communication
  • communication breakdown
  • lack of understanding
  • fear of intimacy

Fear of intimacy can also be a reason for a lack of physical or emotional intimacy in long-distance relationships.

Intimacy is a connection that you feel with your long-distance partner. Some people are afraid of having this connection for fear of losing it. Ironically, it’s the fear of losing this connection that gets in the way of a person having this connection, to begin with.

People can be afraid of intimacy because of their previous experiences. When you’re in a long-distance relationship, both you and your long-distance partner have a history of your own.

Nobody comes into a relationship completely free from their past. Previous experiences affect your behaviour, your thoughts, and your beliefs.

There’s one thing you can do while in a long-distance relationship. You can talk about intimacy issues with your long-distance partner. If you recognise that you are afraid of intimacy, you should speak to your partner about it. The only way you can sort out your intimacy issues is by facing them.

How to Build Intimacy in a Long-Distance Relationship?

Maintaining emotional intimacy with your long-distance partner requires trust and effective communication.

  • Improve your communication.
  • Share your feelings.
  • Talk about the future of your relationship.
  • Explore virtual ways to connect emotionally and creatively.
  • Share fantasies.
  • Set up virtual dates.

Maintaining physical intimacy is not as easy and can lead to many problems in your relationship. If you are struggling with the lack of physical intimacy, the first thing you should do is to talk about it with your partner.

If you don’t share your concerns with your partner, they won’t know how to help you. A long-distance relationship is a teamwork. When it comes to addressing physical intimacy issues, these are some of your options:

  • Visiting each other more frequently.
  • Enjoying a fun holiday in a new country.
  • Moving in together sooner rather than later.
  • Having a break from your relationship.
  • Trying an open long-distance relationship, although it’s not for everyone.

Check out our step-by-step intimacy guide that will help you stay physically and emotionally connected throughout your long-distance relationship.


Couples in a long-distance relationship face many issues with emotional and physical intimacy. Remember, these challenges are a normal part of long-distance relationships. The key is to communicate openly, understand each other’s perspectives, and work together to find solutions that help you stay connected despite the miles.

When you are away from your partner for a long time, your feelings may change, and you may start drifting apart. The lack of physical intimacy can lead to sexual frustration, which will negatively impact your relationship and your personal life.

To maintain a healthy long-distance relationship, you need to handle intimacy issues if and when they arise. The best way to do it is by having a plan and a timeline for how long your long-distance relationship will last and when you will be able to move in together.

When you have a plan, you will have the reassurance of knowing the next time you will see each other and ultimately, when you will be living together. Having regular communication without talking too much is also important to maintain an emotional connection, without creating unnecessary problems.

Navigating intimacy issues within a long-distance relationship can get tough. And, many couples end their long-distance relationship prematurely.

Through our online sessions, we work together to identify the root causes of intimacy concerns and provide practical strategies to bridge the emotional and physical gap. So, should you need personalised help and support don’t hesitate to get in touch or book a coaching session right on our website.

Frequently Asked Questions about Intimacy Issues in Long-Distance Relationships

How to deal with a lack of intimacy in a long-distance relationship?

Addressing a lack of intimacy involves open communication about your feelings and desires. Explore virtual ways to connect emotionally and creatively, like sharing fantasies or setting up a virtual date night. Keep the emotional bond strong through honest conversations and finding alternative ways to feel close despite the physical distance.

How can I improve my intimacy in a long-distance relationship?

You can improve intimacy by working on your communication. Trust and understanding are cornerstones of a healthy relationship. The way you demonstrate it is through clear and open communication. You know you are in a healthy long-distance relationship when you feel free to express your thoughts and feelings without the fear that your partner will judge you.

Can a long-distance relationship work without intimacy?

While physical intimacy is important, emotional and mental connections can still flourish in a long-distance relationship. Partners can maintain closeness through deep conversations, shared experiences, and mutual support. However, addressing physical intimacy needs creatively is essential for a balanced and fulfilling connection.

Can you have intimacy in a long-distance relationship?

Absolutely, intimacy can thrive in a long-distance relationship. Emotional closeness, open communication, shared experiences, and technology-assisted interactions can all contribute to a strong intimate bond.

How do you maintain intimacy in a long-distance relationship?

You can maintain emotional intimacy in a long-distance relationship by having regular communication. Avoid excessive communication, as it can lead to boring conversations, and you may lose interest in your relationship. To maintain physical intimacy, you need to schedule regular visits and go on spontaneous trips together.

How to stay emotionally connected in a long-distance relationship?

To stay emotionally connected in a long-distance relationship, you need to agree on how often you talk to each other. Talking too little can cause you to drift apart. Talking too much can lead to boring conversations and take away from doing something interesting and exciting with your life. Trust and understanding are essential components of maintaining emotional connection.

How to make love in a long-distance relationship?

You can only make love in a long-distance relationship when you visit each other or go on trips together. You can maintain a physical connection by sending each other handwritten letters, gifts, and care packages. You can also play with each other online. But none of these replaces physical closeness, which is an essential part of a romantic relationship.

How to handle a long-distance relationship sexually?

While in a long-distance relationship, you can do things like sexting and have virtual sex over phone calls and video calls. If you are a visual person, video calls will work better for you. If you are an auditory person, sex calls will do just fine. Sexting will keep your partner excited throughout the day. While this can work for a short period, to maintain a healthy long-distance relationship long-term, you need to visit each other regularly and plan spontaneous fun trips together.

How to show love in a long-distance relationship?

In a long-distance relationship, you can show love by sending an occasional text message saying how much you love your partner and letting them know you are thinking of them. Gifts and care packages are a fun way to give your partner something tangible, something physical that they can associate with you. One of the most romantic ways to express your love is by sending your partner a handwritten letter telling them how you feel about them and how much they contribute to your life.

How can I satisfy my girlfriend in a long-distance relationship?

Satisfying your girlfriend in a long-distance relationship involves emotional connection and open dialogue. Engage in deep conversations, surprise her with thoughtful gestures, share your experiences, and creatively maintain intimacy through technology-assisted interactions.

How do you know if your long-distance relationship is failing?

Signs of a failing long-distance relationship may include consistent communication issues, dwindling emotional connection, lack of effort from one or both partners and unresolved conflicts. Regular honest check-ins and addressing concerns promptly can help gauge the health of your relationship.

How do you keep the spark alive in a long-distance relationship?

Maintaining the spark involves regular communication, surprise gestures, virtual dates, sharing personal growth journeys, and being supportive of each other’s aspirations. Celebrate milestones together, discuss future plans, and find ways to consistently show appreciation and affection.

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