Relational intimacy vs sexual intimacy

This is the third part in the “How do you get an uninterested or unwilling wife to have more sex?” series.

This one tends to get rejected by guys, but a lack of a real relationship is a common killer of marital sex. Because men are far better at separating sex and the rest of our lives, a wife can feel completely disconnected before her husband even has a hint their relationship has been evaporating.

I suppose some woman has used “we don’t spend enough time together” or “we never talk” as a way of blame shifting, but if your bride has cited a lack of non-sexual contact as a reason for not wanting or enjoying sex the odds are she’s telling you the truth. Because relationship is so important to women, it’s uncommon for them to use relationship as leverage.

Loss of non-sexual intimacy is the norm for marriages, and unless you’ve both worked to avoid it you can assume it has happened.  Early on, you have many things inside pushing you to be together, and to do things together. You wanted to know and be known, and talking was probably frequent and deep. As you spend more and more time together there’s a reduction in the hormones and brain chemicals that push you to be intimate. In addition, most of us become busier as we age. The result of less pushing you together and less time to be together is easy to calculate.

“Yeah,” I can hear many of you saying “but that doesn’t really reduce her sex drive, does it? Isn’t she just using sex to get what she wants?”  In a word, NO! Less non-sexual intimacy means less sex drive in women. It’s a hardwired cause and effect. Relationship is more important than sex for women, and what she feels you’re withholding from her hurts her much as her withholding sex hurts you.

What makes all of this messy is that it’s all gradual. The intimacy in your relationship doesn’t just stop – rather it gradually decreases over months and years. Your bride is aware of it, but it’s hard to define because there’s no easy way to measure relationship intimacy. If she tries to talk to you about it, you probably don’t see or feel it, and she can’t explain or prove it, so you likely ignore it.

The change in her desire to be sexual with you is also gradual, lagging behind the loss of relationship intimacy to some degree. This lag makes it even more difficult to “prove” that her loss of desire or pleasure is due to the change in the relationship. Her sexual changes don’t seem tied to any recent change in time together, and that makes her claims seem false.

Is a lack of relational intimacy a reason for there being less sex in your marriage, or less enjoyment of sex by your bride? If your marriage has had a drop in the non-sexual intimacy, that has caused a change in how she thinks and feels about sex – even if you haven’t yet seen it. But why try to see it? Unless there are other problems, increasing the relational intimacy in your marriage will certainly have a positive affect your bride’s sexuality. Please trust me when I tell you that working on the non-sexual parts of your marriage will do far more for your sex life than a new position, a new sex act, or getting her to read a book about sex.

Finally, just as her loss of sexual interest lagged behind the loss of relational intimacy, her recovery of sexual interest will lag behind the restoration of that lost intimacy. Give it time – keep working on building intimacy, and the sex will follow.

Other parts of this series (current page in bold):

5 Comments on “Relational intimacy vs sexual intimacy

  1. Outstanding! Written very well. Continually making your relationship a higher priority than your sex drive is well worth the work. Not easy work, but fun work. You will soon find she is the woman you always dreamed of.

  2. Well I read through the writeups,they are quire revealing and also thought provoking,the truth is what matters most is understanding.The Bible enjoins us to deal with our spouses according to knowledge.Let your knowledge of one another guide you in working things out.It gets to a time in such rrlationship that emphasis on sex is minimal but any surprises must be seen to be accommodated,even when the urge is not same.Issues that could provoke withdrawal should be given attention,sorted out and put behind.My earnest prayet is that God in His mercies will keep the joy of our relationship alive…amen

  3. Pingback: Sex for Her – when she resists or limits sex

  4. Pingback: She does not enjoy sex – physical pain or discomfort

  5. Pingback: She feels it’s wrong/bad/dirty/shameful/sinful

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