Marriage Retreat » Save Your Marriage » Sexual & Intimacy Problems

Sexual & Intimacy Problems

unhappy-couple-6A couple’s physical and emotional intimacy can get eroded over time by unrepaired upsets or cycles of poor communication. These damage partners’ ability to feel emotionally connected, can reduce how attracted they feel to each other, or how open they feel to being sexual. The tools couples learn in an intensive retreat to repair emotional wounds and become more engaged often re-ignite sexual desire and passion for each other.

I sometimes hear one person complain that the other no longer wants to be sexual. But their partner often complains back “all they want is sex” or “they are never affectionate anymore.” Neither sees the interlocking nature of their pattern or that they have worked their way into a mutual standoff. This is usually accompanied by decreasing behaviors like hugging, cuddling, spooning, supportive touch, eye contact — actions that biologically create a sense of shared safety, emotional connection and openness to being sexual. So, instead, each feels increasingly blocked and disconnected.

Of course, partners won’t realize this, or they would reverse it. In their downward spiral, any sincere bids for supportive physical connection can get rejected. This rejection triggers more upset that deepens their gap both emotionally and sexually. Reactive communication —including blow ups or shut downs — further deepens their disconnection.

For at least one partner, if not both, such negative states in the body are biologically incompatible with sexual attraction and desire. Instinctual survival states of fight, flight or freeze will block the feeling of safety needed to open up to full sexual functioning. The part of the brain involved in lust and attraction gets redirected into survival threat responses. And positive behaviors that could reverse the trend ironically drop out even more.

Resolving emotionally reactive cycles — as well as the instinctual survival states that can accompany them — is one of the central goals of an intensive couples retreat. This can bring back a sense of emotional connection and ignite a sexual reconnection. But there are a host of causes of sexual and intimacy problems in a marriage. Having children is a common case where partners disconnect without realizing it. They may agree that the kids come first, failing to realize how this will drive them apart over time — and how that is not even good for the kids!

In general, when partners unconsciously fall into taking each other for granted, the sense of excitement that ignites desire will diminish. A sense of novelty and curiosity is a part of what stimulates interest in each other. This is why partners may become vulnerable to affairs — that they are no longer interacting with each other in ways that keep interest alive and inspire engaging in shared pleasure.

A retreat often gets partners to feel connected again and renew the spark — even if they haven’t really felt it in years and had thought that maybe long term marriage is equivalent to settling for less.

The source of sexual problems is as varied as people are. Other factors can include physical or emotional changes that occur with aging; medical conditions; shifts in hormonal levels; changes in libido; physical injuries; emotional crises; performance issues; unresolved trauma or shame associated with sexuality.

Renewing Intimacy and Rekindling Desire

Whatever the cause, our retreat provides an ideal, safe and supportive place to explore the blocks and optimize your sexual and emotional relationship. By the way, any exploration is fully within the bounds of what is completely comfortable. I have found that most of the problems around sex occur long before anyone ever gets naked. Exploring what really prevents connection is usually fun and interesting! We discover all the myths, misunderstandings and mistaken beliefs that have unwittingly gotten in the way of freely sharing pleasure.

Amazingly, most remedies are much simpler and easier to implement than a couple would ever suspect. Many of these things can take just minutes! For instance, some partners discover that if they change how they reunite when someone comes home, it can dramatically increase how connected and attracted they feel to each other for the rest of the evening. Or how hugging or spooning in a supportive non-sexual way for a few minutes can have a positive impact on their sexual and emotional lives! These are just a some basic examples out of the large variety of solutions that can be discovered in an intensive retreat to reignite your ability to share more joy, pleasure and excitement on all levels, including in the bedroom.