What you need to know:
No couple has got perfect sexual intimacy, but with intentionality, communication, forgiveness, you can improve and connect deeper with your spouse. Intimacy requires that each partner focuses on meeting the needs of the other.
She called up a counsellor and complained about many things about her husband and their marriage. The counsellor listened as they both threw accusations against each other. Then he turned to the husband and instructed him, “You need to be intimate with your wife.”
Days later, the wife reported to the counsellor that their marriage was doing great. Unknown to the husband, he had messed up their marriage because he was responsible for abbreviated pattern that the intimate part of their marriage had taken.
It is considered normal that six months after the wedding, sexual desire will wax and wane after chemicals responsible for getting us turned on at the beginning of a relationship take a back seat. This may not be quickly realised by the couple but the counsellors are able to look beyond the surface to know that the cracks lay in our beds.
Sexual intimacy is designed by God- read Song of Songs in the Bible, for those who have paid the price of total commitment to one another through marriage. It strengthens trust and commitment in a marriage.
Inhibitors of intimacy
These include emotional issues such as unforgiveness arising out of bitterness on one or both sides. Either one is unrepentant or the other is unforgiving or both are unrepentant and unforgiving. Unresolved emotional conflict can be a buzz kill for even the strongest of intimacy. Disrespect, emotional, verbal and physical violence, and neglect, do not augur well for a rompy night between the sheets.
Unshaved and sweaty armpits, unshaved genitals, bad breath, dirty underwear and lingerie, smelly weaves, dirty nails, strong colognes and perfumes that can cause allergic reactions and a disorganised bedroom-are complete turn offs.
Hypoactive sexual desire disorder
According to Dr Rozen Ainembabazi of JARO Hospital in Kyaliwajjala, this is a condition of absence of or diminished sexual desire, thoughts, stimulation or activity, for at least six months or longer. It is common among women, especially during or after the birth of a child or postmenopausal women with the reduction of estrogen levels. Also hormonal imbalances and birth control pills’ side effects cause low libido.
Past sexual experiences
If someone was raped or defiled at a tender age, it takes psycho-social support to recover from such trauma. Unfortunately, many victims never get this kind of support and this affects their relationships and intimacy later in life.
Disease and treatments
Cancer, arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain, and some treatments such as blood pressure medications, antidepressants, can inhibit sexual intimacy. Certain medications can cause low libido. Sexual dysfunctions such as erectile dysfunctions are common in men between 40 and 70 years of age.
Lack of quality time to talk, touch, relax where both of you feel safe and connected but are occupied with work, parenting, business, ministry, and social life can be draining that a couple may be zapped of energy for intimacy. Intimacy requires that each partner focuses on meeting the needs of the other.
Some people come into marriage with low body confidence. Maybe they have scars or are uncomfortable in their skin that they feel ashamed of their bodies. As a partner, communicate and affirm them often to build their esteem. Also, the person needs to learn to talk positively to themselves.
This may sound mechanical but it is a great way to start being intentional and available for your sexual life. Regardless of how you feel, schedule sex at least once a week. Some call it “maintenance sex”. And once you schedule it, you will find yourself getting into the rhythm effortlessly in the long run. The bedroom and the cover of darkness are not the only place and time to have the sound of music. The kitchen, bathroom and any other space can be great spaces, of course in the absence of the children.
To leave intimacy to one person to initiate and manage while the other party is at the receiving end is a sign of irresponsibility. Both partners need to be involved. “Too many women don’t accept responsibility for their orgasms. They need to be an active participant, not just a receiver of their husband’s advances,” says Dr Kevin Lehman in his book, Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage (2008).
Physical exercises, rest and plenty of sleep are good ways to manage stress. Go away with your partner for a short holiday away from the children, where you will find time for your marriage and recalibrate your emotional and physical energies. Practise good grooming, maintain good oral hygiene and eat healthy too.