Physical intimacy: dread or pleasure?

Romance is in the air as Valentine’s Day gets closer, when many of us arrange meals, flowers and intimate occasions for our loved one. For most it is a day to look forward to in the midst of the darkness of winter; for others, it might be a day to dread.

If physical intimacy is a struggle then romance usually takes a knock; and if romance is not present then physical intimacy is likely not to be possible either. The national day of St Valentine reminds us of how we believe relationships should be and can bring the issues back to the surface.

There can be many different reasons for the lack of intimacy or romance; it may be that having children has left little time or energy for romancing our relationship. Perhaps something more physical is stopping us getting together romantically. Maybe trying unsuccessfully to conceive has left us feeling like a machine, and the romance which once oiled the cogs has been lost. The fear of failure and rejection should there be an expectation of physical intimacy is enough for us to avoid the romantic setting.

In the lifetime of a relationship we are likely to experience all sort of issues. Most we are able to deal with as they happen and some will just disappear on their own accord; but every now and then there are situations that are so delicate it becomes impossible to talk with our partner about. An issue with physical intimacy is a situation that can make us avoid saying anything, and yet we long to do something to make it better.

Taking steps to change

Avoiding these issues creates a big elephant-in-the-room in our relationship and the longer we wait to talk and seek help, the scarier it is to approach our partner or a professional. If we can find the courage to seek professional help, either individually or as a couple, it is such a relief to begin to air the issues. 

After only a couple of sessions it is likely that our problems will no longer seem insurmountable, and we soon find ourselves moving on physically but also in our mind. We will have a clearer idea of how it can be different and the confidence to believe that we are able to make the changes needed to put that elephant back in the jungle where it belongs.

Taking the first step is always the hardest move. Picking up the phone to make that initial connection can seem very frightening to us, but don’t forget we are phoning a professional who is used to talking about our type of issue - someone who is likely to know that taking this first step is a huge deal for us. 

A professional will understand and make us feel a little more comfortable before helping us to make an appointment and guide us through the process of attending the initial session.

It all gets easier after that.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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