Would you like more physical intimacy in your relationship?
To have a healthy physical intimacy, you need physical attraction and emotional intimacy. Both physical attraction and emotional intimacy is something that happens naturally. That said, you can strengthen the emotional connection by improving your communication. You can also stimulate physical attraction by making your relationship fun and exciting.
In this article, you will learn the definition of physical intimacy and how you can strengthen it in your relationship. We will also look into common issues surrounding physical intimacy and how you can deal with them.
What Is Physical Intimacy?
Let’s have a look at what being intimate means according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:
- Marked by a warm friendship developing through long association
Suggesting informal warmth or privacy
Engaged in, involving, or marked by sex or sexual relations
- Of a very personal or private nature
- Marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity
- INTRINSIC, ESSENTIAL
Belonging to or characterising one’s deepest nature
- A very close friend or confidant: an intimate friend
Intimacy is the feeling of connection and trust you can develop emotional intimacy through effective communication.
There are two kinds of intimacy: emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. Many people think that physical intimacy is equivalent to sex. Although sex is a part of it, physical intimacy refers to physical closeness, touching, kissing, and of course, sex.
Usually, getting to know another person involves a lot of touching. Physical touch can reassure you that all is well, and it can also tell you if something is wrong. Without physical contact, it is hard to navigate the state of your relationship.
The unfulfilled need for physical intimacy can lead to you feeling sexually frustrated. While this frustration is expected and normal, you need to know how to handle it.
The way you deal with the lack of physical intimacy directly affects your relationship, so take care and consider your partner’s needs as well as your own.
Why Is Physical Intimacy Important in a Relationship?
Physical closeness helps you feel safe, calm, and content. Without it, it’s hard to judge the state of your relationship. It’s challenging to maintain your relationship without physical affection. You don’t get the comfort of physical touch, a kiss or a hug.
Having a sexual life with your romantic partner is healthy. When you don’t get to fulfil your need for physical intimacy for a long time, it’s normal to feel sexually frustrated.
When you’re feeling sexually frustrated, this frustration will spill into other aspects of your life. If it lasts for a long time, it can harm your relationship.
Physical Intimacy Issues
Intimacy issues are a big deal in a romantic relationship. When you share a significant amount of time with your partner, it is essential to feel emotionally connected and physically satisfied.
As you go through different stages of your relationship, you face many challenges individually and as a couple. Working through these challenges together builds a stronger bond and a healthier relationship.
When the challenges become too hard to handle, you may start having some issues in your relationship. If you do not address these issues, they can turn into problems. And over time, lead to a toxic relationship.
At that point, a couple has two options:
- Recognise the issues, challenges and problems in your relationship and find a way to fix them.
- End the relationship and move on.
Some things may be happening in your relationship which can be the cause of the lack of physical intimacy, such as:
- Too much work
- Personal insecurities
- Unresolved problems
- Anger and resentment
- Physical health problems
- Financial problems
These problems are not directly related to physical intimacy, but they will affect your behaviour and the dynamic of your relationship.
Unless you resolve these issues, they will affect other areas of your relationship, including intimacy, both physical and emotional.
No Physical Intimacy in Relationship?
The lack of physical intimacy can manifest as:
- Lack of sexual desire
- Lack of physical attraction
- Lack of romantic feelings
- Lack of emotional connection
- Fear of intimacy
- Anxiety before being intimate
- Avoiding physical intimacy because of insecurities or physical problems (e.g. pain during intercourse)
- Fear of being vulnerable
- Not enjoying the physical intimacy with your partner, but not being able to express it for fear of hurting your partner’s feelings
A lack of physical intimacy can result in:
- Cheating (Cheating can be a cause and a result of intimacy issues, both physical and emotional).
- Flirting with others
- Being sexually frustrated
- Being edgy
- Other relationship problems
How to Deal with Intimacy Issues in a Relationship
- Recognise that you are having some intimacy issues.
- Discuss these issues openly and honestly with your partner.
- Find a way to fix these issues in a loving way respecting yourself and your partner.
- If you do not see a way to fix your issues that works for both of you, consider taking some time apart.
If you want to stay together but can’t find a way to solve your issues, you may need professional help. If this is the case, feel free to get in touch.
How to Discuss Intimacy Issues with Your Partner
- Set a specific time that suits both of you to discuss your intimacy issues.
- Take turns expressing yourselves as clearly and objectively as you can.
- Take the time to hear each other out. Pay attention and avoid interrupting the one expressing themselves.
How to Fix Intimacy Issues in a Relationship
To fix the lack of physical intimacy, talk about it with your partner. Without sharing your troubles with your partner, they will not know how to help you. A relationship is teamwork. So, help each other and love each other.
How to Increase Physical Intimacy in a Relationship
- Spend more time together
- Make trips and go on holidays together
- Spice up your sex life
Improving the physical intimacy in your relationship requires you to spend quality time together.
Fill your time with fun, exciting and spontaneous things to do. Add some creativity and an element of surprise.
To increase physical intimacy, spend more time together, go on trips and holidays together.
You can spice up your relationship by including sex toys, erotic literature, sexy lingerie, role-play games, etc.
Whatever new things you try, make sure both of you feel comfortable with it. Avoid doing things that do not resonate with you just for the sake of pleasing your partner or saving your relationship.
How to Overcome Physical Intimacy Issues
Here are some ideas of things you can do to bring physical intimacy back into your relationship:
- Go on dates frequently. Home dates are ok, as long as you establish it as a date and focus on the romantic side of it.
- Make trips together
- Go on fun holidays
- Share a hobby
- Play games together
- Laugh and enjoy each other’s company
- Have fun together
- Spice up your sex life
- Share your fantasies and desires
Intimacy is an integral part of a healthy romantic relationship. Having a romantic relationship where you cannot be physically intimate with your partner isn’t healthy.
Emotional intimacy helps you feel connected. Physical intimacy can give you more tangible feedback about the estate of your connection.
Long-distance relationships are a clear example of a relationship where there is a lack of physical intimacy. Being away from your partner means that neither of your physical/sexual needs will be satisfied.
Problems in other areas of your relationship directly affect the connection between you and your partner and cause intimacy issues.
You may find yourself having some of the intimacy issues described in this article.
Take some time to understand the root cause of these issues. By knowing the origin of your problems, you can have a more targeted approach to solving these problems.
Unless you identify the problems behind your intimacy issues, your effort to fix them can be in vain.
You can improve your intimacy by working on your communication. Trust and understanding are cornerstones for a healthy relationship. The way you demonstrate it is through clear and open communication.
By talking openly and honestly about all your feelings and desires, you can learn what is happening in your relationship.
Once you get everything out in the open, it will allow both of you to get on the same page. Together, you can make the decisions that work for both of you.
To express yourselves and solve your problems, you need good communication. It will help you bring up sensitive topics and understand both points of view.
Help and Advice with Having Physical Intimacy in Your Relationship
- Work on your communication
- Express your needs and desires openly
- Spend quality time together
- Do fun activities and go on trips together
- Spice up your sex life
- Keep your relationship fun and exciting
- Share your feelings
If you don’t know how to develop your physical intimacy your relationship and need professional help and advice, we’ll be happy to help! Check out our coaching options here.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much physical intimacy is too much?
In this article, you have seen how physical intimacy is more than just sex. In terms of sex, however, everyone has a different sex drive. So, it is a good idea to talk about it with your partner. When it comes to physical intimacy as a whole, you need to make sure that you and your partner get the personal space that you need. A sign that you are spending too much time together is you are feeling bored and not appreciating each other’s company. In a healthy relationship, you should enjoy your time together and be excited about your personal lives.
Does emotional intimacy lead to physical intimacy?
Emotional intimacy is a component of physical intimacy. The more you feel emotionally connected, the stronger is the desire to be together. On the other hand, if your relationship is unhealthy, you avoid spending time together. So, if you avoid each other’s company and prefer to spend more time with other’s than with each other, it’s a possible red flag. And in this case, you should set aside some time together to reflect on your relationship.
Can a relationship survive without physical intimacy?
A romantic relationship involves physical intimacy. Without being physically together, your relationship becomes platonic. With time, you may drift apart altogether. That is why long-distance relationships that last a long time are unhealthy and become a struggle for the people involved.
Are physical intimacy and love connected?
First of all, you need to be clear on what love means to you and your partner. Way too often, partners have a different definition of love. This disparity leads to unrealistic expectations and disappointment. Once you can define love, you can compare it to physical intimacy, as described in this article.
What is the difference between physical and emotional intimacy?
Emotional intimacy is being and feeling emotionally connected. Physical intimacy is a physical connection that relies on emotional intimacy and physical attraction. So, healthy intimacy relies on good communication and enjoying the time together.
How much physical affection is normal in a relationship?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, affection is “a feeling of liking and caring for someone or something”. So, we could say that physical affection is a behaviour that intends to demonstrate that you like someone and care for them. Liking and caring can also be ambiguous, and you may interpret them differently from your partner. The best thing to do is talk about it with your partner to see if both of you are satisfied with the amount of physical intimacy. Be open to express yourselves openly and fully and take the time to hear and understand one another.
Can relationships work without physical intimacy?
Some partners choose to stay in a relationship, despite the lack of physical intimacy. Such relationships tend to get unhealthy and, after enough time, become toxic. If you have intimacy issues, it’s worth taking the time to talk about them and sort them out before carrying on with your relationship. If you would like some help, send us a message.
Why do I struggle with physical intimacy?
The reasons may vary depending on what you are struggling with. Are you struggling to allow yourself to be intimate, or are you having intimacy issues while in a relationship? The former can stem from personal issues and insecurities. The latter can result from your and your partner’s personal issues or the dynamic in your relationship.