The word intimacy is given various meanings. For many, it refers to the physical act of sex. For others, it has far more to do with emotional transparency and knowing each other on the deepest levels. For many of the thousands of couples we have worked with, it is has everything to do with how these two meanings interact — where blocks to emotional intimacy ultimately lead to struggles with physical intimacy.
Here is a stereotypical dilemma couples fall into. He complains that she never wants to have sex (the genders may be reversed, of course). But she complains back that he never is available to emotionally connect. She tries in vain to explain to him that if he could approach her and talk about feelings – or even just touch her without it seeming to suggest sex is his real goal – that could actually turn her on. But the very ways she tries to communicate this useful information only seems to trigger him and deepen their mutual reactive cycle. So both sexual and emotional intimacy deteriorate. Continue reading