If you think experiencing a lack of intimacy in a relationship is hard, think again. The turmoil seems to double when you have to have an awkward conversation about “it”. However, things don’t have to be this way. There can be a scenario in which you both have an open conversation about this and come out of it as a stronger married couple.
Marriage is challenging and sometimes monotonous. There are times where you can feel your relationship stagnating. A lack of intimacy can be one of the major reasons for this. You may want to talk to your wife about a lack of intimacy but can’t figure out how to approach the subject. Here are 8 things that can guide you.
8 Ways To Talk To Your Wife About Lack Of Intimacy
How to bring up a lack of intimacy? If this question has been weighing on your mind, the first order of business is to understand where the lack of intimacy is stemming from. Sexologist Dr. Rajan Bhonsle, Head of the Department of Sexual Medicine at K.E.M.Hospital and Seth G.S.Medical College, Mumbai, says, “Sexual avoidance can turn into a touchy subject between couples. However, not all sexless marriages are equal. If you’ve had a robust and fulfilling sex life for the first few decades of marriage, and then experience a decline in intimate interactions, then coming to terms with this natural order of things can be easier.
“However, if a lack of intimacy is triggered by unresolved issues in a marriage or the real issue at hand is mismatched sex drives, then resolving this deadlock can be harder. In such cases, honest and transparent communication, without placing blame or hurling accusations, must be the foundation of talking to your wife about intimacy.”
So, if you find yourself wondering, “How do I talk to my wife about a sexless marriage?” and if a sexless relationship is causing depression to one of the individuals in the relationship, it is time to talk things out. The longer you avoid this conversation, the worse the situation will get.
If you can’t figure out how to talk about intimacy in marriage with minimal conflict, refer to the 8 points below for assistance:
1. Make sure you are in a stable mind space
You are angry and frustrated and in this rush of emotions, all you want to do is spill your heart out. Stop yourself right there. No good ever comes out of having a conversation fuelled by anger. Facing a lack of intimacy is a sensitive topic and should always be dealt with with the utmost care.
Anger has a way of ruining most things, don’t let it ruin your marriage. Only have this conversation when you are in a calm space of mind. Dr. Bhonsle says, “Often when men don’t get enough sex in their marriage, they begin to lash out at their partners. However, this will only further alienate her and make reconciliation that much harder.”
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2. Make sure your partner is comfortable
Before you decide to dive into the conversation, make sure your wife is comfortable. Pick a place where you are both at ease. Ensure she is comfortable with her surroundings and completely relaxed. A calming atmosphere will have a lot to do with the way she reacts. You can also choose to take her out for coffee or even a few drinks.
If your issues are too deep-seated or your attempts to talk to your wife about lack of sex in the past have triggered nasty conflict, it can help to rope in a third party.
3. Don’t bring it up completely out of the blue
“How do I tell my wife I need more intimacy?” Joshua wondered, as yet another one of his sexual advances was turned down by his wife. This had become the pattern in their marriage since the birth of their daughter. He went quiet, turned his back to his wife and wrestled with his frustration.
When she reached out to ask him if something was wrong, Joshua blurted out that he had begun resenting her for wilfully withholding sex, as if to punish him, without even trying to understand the real reason his wife was avoiding intimacy. That one impulsive statement harmed their marriage even more.
If you too are trying to figure out talk to your wife about lack of sex, know that it is best to not surprise her by dropping a bombshell totally out of the blue. Forewarn her! Let her know that there is something that has been bothering you that you would like to discuss with her. She has the right to know about the context of the conversation/outing beforehand and not be caught completely off guard.
4. Don’t beat around the bush
We understand that this is no easy task. Chickening out and distracting yourself with other topics might seem lucrative right now. But in the long run, this will only make things worse. This is an elephant in the room that you cannot possibly avoid. The harder you try, the worse it will get.
Avoid beating around the bush and stick to the topic at hand. It would be helpful to pre-plan the conversation and even rehearse it so you know exactly what you want to say and you don’t end up sidestepping what’s actually important. This brings us to the next point.
5. Be clear, honest and open
So, how to talk to your wife about lack of intimacy? By being clear, honest and open. You have dipped your toe in the water, it is now time to dive in. While you divulge deeper into the conversation, make sure you lay bare how the lack of intimacy in the relationship is affecting you in unambiguous terms.
Don’t talk in riddles. Focus on improving communication in your relationship. You know what you want and she has the right to know too. You know you’re experiencing a lack of intimacy, be honest about it. When intimacy is gone in a relationship the only way you can put your point across successfully is by being completely open with her.
6. Don’t play the blame game when it comes to lack of intimacy
You need to tread carefully as this is delicate ground. Blaming and throwing accusations is not the way to go. Instead, try making suggestions. Tell them something you like doing with them and weave in something else you would like to explore. This is not an opportunity for you to point out your partner’s flaws and insecurities.
Instead, it is a chance to have a healthy conversation about how you both can grow as a couple and mutually enhance your intimate moments. “As you reel under the effects of lack of intimacy in your relationship, don’t lose sight of the fact that it can’t be easy on your wife either. She may have her reasons for not wanting to indulge in sex, and those cannot possibly be pleasant,” says Dr. Bhonsle.
Use ‘I’ statements to put across your point without making it seem like she is somehow responsible for it. For example, saying ‘I feel we don’t have enough sex’ is likely to be far better received than ‘You just don’t want to have sex with me anymore’.
Related Reading: 9 Sexless Relationship Effects No One Talks About
7. Hear her out and understand her perspective
Now that you have communicated your bit, it is your time to listen. Make sure you’re really listening. She will try to make you see things from her point of view. It is your responsibility as her partner to understand her perspective. She may be facing certain issues which could be the reason behind the lack of intimacy.
“If it is the case of mismatched libidos, it’s entirely possible that what you believe to be a lack of intimacy is just enough for her. I once counseled a couple where the husband felt there wasn’t enough intimacy in the marriage whereas the wife said they had just had sex 10 days back and she didn’t think the frequency of sex in their marriage was less at all.” You need to acknowledge and recognize these issues and work upon reinvent sexual chemistry in your relationship.
8. Come to a mutually agreed upon conclusion
After you both have put forth your views, it’s time to figure out a plan of action and come to a conclusion. This should be something that is agreed upon by both parties. You have to find a middle ground that is mutually beneficial. Don’t feel dejected if you don’t get everything your way.
Any relationship entails compromise. What counts is the fact that you made progress as a couple. So you’ve finally had the talk but unfortunately, you figure out that your partner does not want to be intimate. How do you deal with this? Read on…
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What To Do When Your Partner Does Not Want To Be Intimate
There can be multiple reasons for a partner not wanting to be intimate. They can be complex reasons arising out of deeply nested issues, health issues, or just a lack of comfort. If your wife or partner tells you that they are facing problems with intimacy, your role is to support them.
Working on the marriage and helping them understand why this may be happening is the way to go forward. Here are a few tips.
1. Check yourself
Not feeling sexually gratified in your marriage can be extremely unnerving. A study based on a General Social Survey in the US in which 19% of couples reported being in sexless relationships directly tied sexual engagement to happiness levels. In this scenario, it is only natural for you to want to take action to remedy the situation.
However, besides talking to your wife about intimacy, you must also reflect upon your behavior. Try to remember if you did something to make your partner uncomfortable or upset. This may have led to a lack of intimacy. You can also ask your partner if you have caused them discomfort in any way. If you have hurt your partner in some way, you cannot blame them for not wanting intimacy. it’s imperative you aplogize sincerely for hruting them.
2. Get a change of space
“How do I tell my wife I need more intimacy?” If you have been struggling with this question, remember the good-old adage ‘actions speak louder than words’. Sometimes we get so caught up in the web of routine we barely realize we need a break. It is a possibility that you and your partner could use a change of space.
Plan a couples’ retreat. A relaxing vacation can do wonders to fix a lack of intimacy. It is also a great way to uplift your spirits if you feel like a sexless relationship is causing depression. You will return from your trip rejuvenated, relaxed and closer than ever.
3. Give them time
A major reason why your wife or spouse is unwilling to be intimate could be stress. It could be stress related to work/in-laws/relatives/friends or a billion other reasons. Even a marriage involves a lot of emotional investment. When intimacy is gone in a relationship, sometimes the best thing to do is to give your spouse time.
They might need some time and space by themselves to get back on track. Be as supportive as you can but remember to not be pushy. Personal space is crucial in a relationship, so give them room to breathe. You can help by getting them vouchers for a spa or salon to really help them unwind.
Related Reading: If You Really Want To Make Your Wife Happy Give Her Some Me Time
4. Understand them
Try to understand why your partner is facing this issue. Talk it out with them and see if you can identify the core reason behind their unwillingness to be intimate. Once you’ve identified the reason, you can both work upon it. When intimacy is gone in a relationship, a lack of understanding between partners will worsen the situation.
At the same time, this is also when couples are most vulnerable to a communication breakdown that can cause misconceptions to fester. This can prove to be quite the Catch-22 situation if not handled sensitively. As the partner of someone who may be struggling with issues that are inhibiting their natural desires, that onus falls on you.
5. Consult an expert
If you have tried everything but nothing seems to work, it may be time to consult an expert. There might be deeper issues related to lack of intimacy that you might not be able to address but an expert can. You can consult a therapist who can help you both when intimacy is gone in a relationship.
They will help you deal with your issues in a healthy manner. Many times we don’t even realize we need expert help till it’s too late. You can consider talking to an expert from Bonobology’s panel of counselors or talk to a qualified therapist near you.
Lack of intimacy can be a bump in a relationship but it’s nothing you can’t get past. With understanding, love and support, you can overcome this barrier and go back to the way things were. This is just one of the challenges in a marriage that brings you closer together. We hope you now know what to do when your partner doesn’t want to be intimate. Don’t worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
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