Intimacy in a relationship consists of two elements: emotional and physical intimacy. When a relationship is fresh, these elements are likely to be healthy and in harmony. Over time however that paint can chip off, and challenges to intimacy arise.

How to Be Intimate in Long-Term Relationships

One of hardest things for couples is to maintain intimacy in long-term relationships. Often, communication gets much more logistically-focused. You end up talking mostly about the mortgage and who is going to pick up the kids from school – instead of your hopes, dreams, feelings and insecurities. In lengthy committed relationships, you frequently also stop sharing things you fear might make your partner feel hurt, or trigger them to think about leaving you and the relationship. As time passes, you may be changing on the inside, but not necessarily feel like it is ok to share these changes with your partner. Sex can become routine, boring, or even non-existent.

While it can feel quite scary, keeping intimacy alive in a relationship means making space for your partner to change – and sharing these changes with each other. Work on consciously dedicating time and energy to sharing the deepest parts of yourself you don’t share with anyone else. And most of all – share physical intimacy in a relationship throughout your day-to-day lives and set time aside for sexual connection and erotic exploration.

Beware of Intimacy Killers!

    1. Treating Intimacy Like a Means to an End: Many people think of intimacy as a means to an end – such as a marriage. The problem with this concept is that it actually blocks you from seeing and accepting the person in front of you. True intimacy is about letting yourself be open to who you truly are – and making a space of acceptance for the other to share into that.
    1. Fighting Unfairly: The worst versions of fighting unfairly includes physical violence or emotional abuse. However, other ways of decreasing intimacy often rear their ugly heads, even in otherwise healthy relationships – like blaming everything on the other person, refusing to listen to their side of the story, or threatening to leave them over and over again, until they slowly begin to disconnect from you.
    1. Withholding Affection/Sex: Sometimes people punish one another when they are angry by withholding sex or affection. This can be very detrimental to the intimate  relationship connection, and make the anger and pain last even longer. Simple physical touch can be a motivator to resolve problems and reconnect, so consciously (or unconsciously) taking it away can be very destructive. If not intended as a punishment, but instead physical intimacy in the relationship with your partner is no longer wanted or desired, it is essential to support them in seeing how they can get it.
    1. Lying: People think of lying (and particularly the form of lying that we call “cheating”) as the most horrible thing a person can do in a relationship. However, most people lie because they are afraid of loss or of rocking the boat in a relationship they very much want to keep. Lying however is extremely damaging to that trust you need to maintain intimacy. You may be able to keep a relationship from breaking up by lying or hiding parts of yourself, but your depth of intimacy will be lost in the balance.

    How Can a Sex And Relationship Coach Help You With Intimacy Problems?

    Fostering or enlivening intimacy in a relationship is the realm of an experiential expert, such as a Somatica Coach. They can practice intimacy with you alone, or your partner present, and help you figure out what’s blocking you so you can resolve your issues and have a more intimacy-filled life.

    Another fast-track option is to take an immersive workshop where you learn the building blocks of emotional and erotic intimacy in a relationship and then practice them with your fellow classmates. The Somatica® Core Training is an in-depth training where you have a safe container in which to practice intimacy and connection, learn, grow, and become part of a supportive community.

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Danielle Harel
Danielle Harel, PhD is the Co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the Co-Founder of the Somatica® Institute. She trains coaches in the Somatica® Method of Sex and Relationship Coaching. She has her own private practice in Sunnyvale, where she supports her clients in having amazing sex and relationships as well as passion-fueled lives. She has published original research on Orgasmic Birth and is the co-author of two books, Cockfidence - The Definitive Guide to Being the Man You Want to Be and Driving Women Wild and Making Love Real - The Intelligent Couples Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion. Danielle Has her Masters in Clinical Social Work From Haifa University in Israel and her PhD in Human Sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS). She is a Clinical Sexologist and a Certified Sexological Bodyworker. Danielle is a Certified Body Positive Facilitator and took many trainings in embodied and mindfulness based therapeutic approaches such as Hakomi.