When relationships hit the rocks, couples take up space on the relationship counsellors’ couch; unearthing and analysing the ins and outs of their relationship in an effort to understand what’s gone wrong. But what most couples don’t realise is that when intimacy begins to diminish within a relationship, a qualified sexologist might actually be a more appropriate avenue to explore.
Meet Shilpa Anand (name changed for anonymity).
“My husband and I have been together for 15 years. We went through the usual relationship stages; infatuation, settling and now maintaining. We even have two children. I love my husband deeply but the intimacy is gone. He does not seem to be interested in me. He says he loves me, but is unable to be physical with me. Whenever he does, it is very awkward and uncomfortable.”
Raghav Gupta (name changed for anonymity) shared a similar story:
“I’ve been with my wife for two years. Our relationship is still new. Sex is a topic we are both uncomfortable with. We don’t know if it is just us, or everyone is awkward like this in the early years of marriage. We are unable to talk to anyone about it. Even though we know something is wrong. We have no children, and have had sex only or 4 or 5 occasions.”
What is Intimacy and why is it important?
Intimacy translates to all avenues of our relationships. Physical intimacy involves freely giving of affection, touch and sex. Emotional intimacy requires sharing, listening, communicating and closeness. We share intimate bonds with those with whom we are close; our friends, family and partners.
Intimacy is an essential component in any relationship; without it a sense of coldness can creep into relationships that can be both stifling and suffocating. Intimacy is one of the most rewarding aspects of being involved within a relationship and requires bringing our partner willingly into our inner sanctum.
Intimacy within a relationship is cyclical; when we feel emotionally close, we are likely to feel sexually close and vice versa. Sexual intimacy can also lead to emotional intimacy when two parties feel trusting, open and safe with one another. Similarly, if one feels emotionally shut down, it is hard to develop sexual intimacy.
How can a Consultation with Sexologist Help?
Qualified sexologist Dr. Vijay Abbott understands just how effectively a session can inspire couples. Abbott explains, “Sex floods the body with chemicals including oxytocin which serves to bond partners emotionally. It is the same chemical released when mothers birth babies, so it is powerful indeed. When the sex goes sour within a relationship, it can take a toll on intimacy elsewhere. Couples report feeling more like brother and sister or like roommates when physical intimacy is taken away.”
“It’s hard to say what comes first; emotional intimacy or sexual intimacy. It’s a bit of a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario but often when intimacy is at stake, the crack lies somewhere within the sexual or physical side of the relationship. A sexologist feels comfortable within the realm of sex; there is nothing taboo or off-limits. A sexologist can help you re-build the intimacy within your relationship.”
When should you Consult a Sexologist?
There are many ways in which a Sexologist can help you and the issues that may be churned up within relationships are multifarious. A sexologist can help with any of the following intimacy ailments:
- Anxiety/fear surrounding sex
- Repressed anger/guilt and other emotional residue that can take a toll on sexual attraction including the aftermath of infidelity as well as buried grudges
- Ignorance of the partners body including inability to make partner orgasm or premature ejaculation
- When you and your partner have conflicts sexually i.e. high v/s low sex drive or ‘vanilla’ fantasies v/s more wild desires
- Varying sexual histories and expectations
- Differences between levels of desire and frequency
- Power struggles throughout the relationship which tie into the sexual relationship
- Past trauma from previous relationships and childhood
Expert advice in this post has been provided by Dr. Vijay Abbot and edited by OyeHelp.