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Sex and intimacy are not thesame

Gay couples often come to see me to explain that “the spark has gone” as there is now very little or no sex in their relationship – leading to shared feelings of a lack of intimacy.

This is despite living together, enjoying each other’s company, socialising together with friends and family, sharing loved pets, planning holidays together and having dreams about a place in the country one day.

Please remember: Intimacy is not only defined by how much sex is going on. Companionship is also undervalued intimacy.

Sex alone however does help to form intimate feelings, with the sharing of yummy brain chemicals. Unfortunately that same brain will de-sex your partner over time as it searches for new experiences. And then the longer the sex gap the bigger the barrier to get back in the boat, or bath, becomes so to speak.

There are very obvious, but often unacknowledged, obstacles that prevent sex happening:

TOO TIRED
Many of us work in busy and often stressful jobs, and commonly take work home with us at the end of the day. This can mean that the working day becomes incredibly long and at times seems endless. In these circumstances, there is no surprise that our sex life may not be getting the attention it deserves.

BEING PRESENT
You cannot be intimate if you are not present for each other. That might be spending too much time on individual computers at home, not listening properly to what your partner is saying, or forgetting to have dinners out with just the two of you. You have to spend time together to be intimate.

COMMUNICATION
A lack of communication reduces a sense of intimacy in the relationship and reduces the desirability for sexual encounters. Telling each other what worries each other is so important. Discussing sex issues helps to break the ice but if there never seems a right time to talk about this place an entry on the diary, whiteboard or whatever to do so.

LIBIDO
If you are lucky you will have the same libido as your partner, but this rarely is the case. Stress, bad sleeping or eating habits, lack of exercise and mental wellbeing affects libido. Paying attention to these aspects of health can lift personal libido. But nature will change your libido at various times of life. Talking about your libido with your partner should help them see it is not about rejection.

BEING CREATIVE
You know it’s possible to re-stoke the fire even if the flames will not rage as they once did. Set aside time to have a romantic evening with music, wine and some erotic images (porn is not a bad thing if not a compulsive habit). Change the way you have sex by having no expectations about orgasm and taking it slowly. Have a bath together. Lie in bed naked and talk with your legs on one another or sit of the couch with legs on each other. Discuss when you both met and what you liked about each other and still do now.

THE JAR
One game that has helped many clients start the ball rolling is the placing of a jar in the house. Place things you want discussed in the jar. Just a short note and then once a week, at a designated time, sit down and discuss them. Be creative and spend time with each other as you can’t be intimate without being present physically and mentally. When you communicate better by being present for each other that sex spark will more than likely sparkle again.


Gerry North is a gay couples counsellor also treating depression, anxiety and addictions. Email [email protected] or visit gaycounsellingsydney.com.au.

Comments

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Asherbella

Asherbella said on the 21st Apr, 2016

Most men equate sex with a kind of sport - we have a,"Yes, I scored!" mentality that gives us a short-term high. Sex is the physical manifestation of eroticism. Intimacy is the emotional validation that comes with being trusted enough to share someone's vulnerability....

Dissily Mordentroge

Dissily Mordentroge said on the 21st Apr, 2016



Why is it always necesary to separate the two?
Manifestation? Validation? Falling in love has never felt like that for me. Am I queer?

Asherbella

Asherbella said on the 21st Apr, 2016

Why is it always necesary to separate the two?
Manifestation? Validation? Falling in love has never felt like that for me. Am I queer?

What has falling in love felt like for you, Dissily?

:)

Dissily Mordentroge

Dissily Mordentroge said on the 21st Apr, 2016

What has falling in love felt like for you, Dissily?

:)

For me it's two minds/bodies dissolving into each other and that peculiar, and probably irrational, feeling you were always meant to know this person.
The physiological symptoms of love sickness I'm sure you don't need to have explained.
I'm not necessarily talking just about long term relationships or commitment either.
I've fallen in love with one night stands, the most recent had us both crying when we had to separate after having known each other for only four hours. Each of us took a part of the other and kept it.
I'm intrigued though that you use the phrase 'for you'. I suppose you're hinting falling in love means different things for different people, if so it may be almost impossible to explain what the experience is for me unless you want me to start getting poetic.

Asherbella

Asherbella said on the 21st Apr, 2016

Love for me feels like an overwhelming sensation of intimacy and familiarity, a yearning to be closer physically and emotionally to a like-minded spirit that I'm sexually attracted to. Love for me manifests itself in the meeting of two minds, bodies and hearts that have a magnetic, almost hypnotic and comfortable connection.

Dissily Mordentroge

Dissily Mordentroge said on the 21st Apr, 2016



Hypnotic and comfortable, now they're two words that really click. Age though has taught me the hypnotic part can get you in trouble.

zebra23

zebra23 said on the 21st Apr, 2016

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXaCxS8i-yc