Rebuilding Intimacy

Hope this helps...


How To Rebuild Intimacy


Studies are showing that more often today couples who have been married for some time can often experience a loss of intimacy.  While intimacy can be defined differently, it's common that many couples will experience some amount of disconnect or diminished amounts of affection and intimacy towards each other. 

In many of these cases, this experience and subsequent behavior spirals out of control, and what's left is a marriage that is void of intimacy, and the couple begins to wonder what happened.

While there can be many different reasons that lead to this problem, there are remedies and exercises that can be implemented to help reverse this process, and restore intimacy to a marriage.

A very common technique marriage counselors use is to simply recommend taking a break from sex, for 2 weeks to a month.  What this does is encourage the couple to first see if they can be intimate again, and then focus on the intimacy itself.  While this approach is not bad, and often helps, the following techniques and exercises take this several steps further.

Couples usually get married to their soul mates, with the belief that this person is the only one for them, and that they will grow old together.  With life expectancies well into the 70's, staying married is more challenging than ever.  Follow the exercises below, and get back on the road to intimacy.  If followed for 2 weeks to 1 month, you should experience a significant improvement in intimacy and affection.

1.  Refrain from sex.  Minimum of 2 weeks, after that, you will evaluate where you are at to see if you continue, and for how long.  Rules:  M*a*s*t*e*r*b*a*t*i*o*n is OK, but do it alone.  Try not to wear provocative clothing or lingerie, and try to wear night clothes, as to reduce temptation.

2.  Sit down with your spouse, once a day, to discuss what's going on with them.  What's really going on with their life.  Not to talk about work, but what feelings did you experience today, what is your mood, and why.  Show genuine concern for their emotional and physical state.

3.  Kiss.  This may not be easy the first few days, but it will get easier.  Take turns, take hold of your spouse, and give them a passionate kiss.  Kiss each other in the morning either when you wake up or before you leave for the day, and at night before you go to bed.

4.  Say "I love you".  Do this once a day, and take turns every other day telling your spouse why you love them.  This gives the statement weight and substance, and makes both spouses think about each other in a fond way.

5.  At some point when you are intimate, tell your spouse why you fell in love when you first started dating.  Talk about that, and the times you shared early in your relationship.  This exercise is very healthy, as it not only reminds us of why we were initially attracted, but brings it out into an open discussion environment.

6.  Don't argue.  During this time, agree that if either of you has a problem, you will discuss it as calmly as possible.  Arguing kills intimacy, so it's important to maintain your friendship and intimacy during the course of the exercise.


7.  Go ahead and get passionate, if you can refrain from making love or other forms of sexual relations.  As the sexual tension builds, you'll experience a heightened sense of intimacy, because the passion continues much longer than it has in recent years.  You can relieve yourselves, but in another room, and then return to each other.  This technique works best towards the end of the exercise period.

8.  Go on a date, at least once, more if possible.  Take turns deciding what to do, so you can experience what your spouse likes to do, and what you like to do.  This forces you to enjoy each other's company without sex, or the idea of sex looming in the background.

9.  Back rubs.  Can be substituted for foot rubs, or other non sexual massage.  Again take turns, and relieve stress for each other. 

10.  Make sure you have tried all of the above techniques, with some success.  It's imperative that you change the behavior of the marriage, and the day to day behavior of each other.  Watch your own behavior, and behave well.

After 2 weeks, and after successfully practicing the techniques listed above, you are ready to evaluate the state of your marriage.  If the sexual tension is "too much to handle", and you find yourselves anxious to see each other ASAP, and can't wait to make out, then you are ready to make love.  If you are struggling with the exercises and techniques, and not feeling a strong sense of passion and intimacy, then continue the exercise for one week, and then evaluate again.

Good Luck!


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11 Responses Jul 15, 2008

"Refrain from sex"??

You've got to be kidding! You have to have sex before you can "refrain" from it.

Yes, the placement of this "help" in ILIASM's area of EP is a total joke. I think the advice above is for couples BORED with their sex, not for couples NOT HAVING IT. COMPLETELY different, universes.

Take a break? That is the problem... We seem to always be on a break! I love my husband... But I don't enjoy the way he touches me. I have issue with technique... How can we fix that? Any advise?

This is such crap. When a refuser doesn't want it in the first place, none of this helps. This is just junk someone says who doesn't know what it's really like. That what she said above makes it sound easy. It's not as simple as that. It just ain't.


Hi everyone...I read through your responses and I hear that you are struggling with a lack of sex brought on by a lack of long term intimacy. I think the passion only starts after the conversations have occurred and healing has taken place.<br />
1) Is there resentment built up? If so, talk about it and acknowledge your partners feelings--that can make someone feel close and open up the possibilities of sex.<br />
2) Pretend that you don't know your spouse and that they don't know's a game, but it can work and it may even spark a role play which could lead to something more passionate.<br />
3) Look at old wedding photos or plan a date that includes getting dressed up, dancing, or something that makes you spouse feel sexy and alive...dates are really helpful in stirring up the old romantic feelings.<br />
<br />
Therapy is amazing, but only works if both individuals can admit that they need to change and commit to making the relationship work....if you are going to stay married, why not make it enjoyable??<br />

I love the list. In fact, that was so similar to my own list.. a list to which I often referred, when discussing how we'd like to 'keep this alive', with my partner when we first met. He was in full agreement. <br />
<br />
I am all for the list.<br />
<br />
He isn't.<br />
<br />
Not at all.<br />
<br />
My spouse on the subject of communication:<br />
<br />
"I don't like to talk. You know all my stories. I talk to you when I need to; I just don't need to talk like you do."<br />
<br />
My spouse on the subject of massage:<br />
<br />
"I've never really been into massage. I don't like oils, they are sticky. I don't want you to touch my skin, it breaks out too easily. I can massage you for a bit if you have a headache, but only until I work out the knot, after that I'll just make it worse. Sensual massage isn't really my thing. I'm not a touchy-feely kind of guy."<br />
<br />
My spouse on the subject of kissing:<br />
<br />
"I don't like kissing. Your kisses are too wet. I kiss you - I kiss you every morning before work. I'm just not a kissy-kind-of-guy."<br />
<br />
My spouse on the subject of hugging"<br />
<br />
"I let you hug me."<br />
<br />
My spouse on the subject of talking about our love and when we first met:<br />
<br />
"I know.. I was there." mood-dependent.. either.. *rolls eyes* or... *smiles at me like I'm a cute little child and then walks away*<br />
<br />
My spouse on the subject of sex:<br />
<br />
"If you don't want to, I'll just do it myself. That's how I am. But, I don't like to have a lot of sex. I can give you three times a month and that's good with me and if one day you don't want it, that's okay with me, too. I do it when I want to, with or without you, and I don't when I don't."<br />
<br />
Perhaps, I have a problem more with my spouse than with sex. ....hmm...<br />
<br />
Great list, though. I fully agree.

Wow, as your advice is great but I am in a sexless marriage because my husbands doesn't have a sex drive he say's. He hates to kiss although we kissed when we dated and he knows I love that. He doesn't like for me to kiss him or be in his face. He says he loves me and we tell each other and he has gone to the doctor for depression etc. but still nothing. When I do mention intimacy, he feels pressured. I mean intimacy anyway shape or form. When he comes to bed usually around 8-8:30 PM he covers up and goes to sleep and gets frustrated when I ask about intimacy. He says I wait until we go to bed (early) to want anything. Well when he gets off work, he sits outside on the porch and drinks until time to eat (I cook) then watch about an hour of tv and bed.. So when can I bring it up? Although I've been patient with the situation and just made it a point not to need sex, I think I still want to just leave and move back to where my children are. My husband is on meds now for bi-polar, hoping that is the problem but he complains of ailments all the time.. I feel guilty if I get upset with his excuses.. I am 48 and he is 41.. Go figure this one..

Yea, I know. The advice is garbage. There is something wrong with our spouses. They are just not sexual, at least not with us. Mine is into ****, but denies it. He's just too lazy to give me pleasure. His favorite joke...."You know why a prostitute is better than a wife? Because you don't have to give a prostitute an ******." He denies to this day he ever told me that joke and denies today he ever thought it was funny. Nothing's changed in our relationship, tho. Still high and dry.

Sounds like my evening, more or less. We haven't even touched each other in months. Two weeks ago I tried to initiate anything even snuggling...she bolted upright in bed and asked me to stop. She said she felt trapped. I knew in that moment there wasn't going to be any intimacy, let alone sex with her.

My wife claims to have problems with intimacy. What do you suggest for that?

Sadly, I have to agree with the comments here. Take a break from the shortest break I've had from sex or intimate touching or kissing has been five months. I am sure that others have had much longer drought periods. <br />
<br />
We talk and tell each other we love each other and my wife is content to leave it at that. This is despite talking about it calmly and engaging in therapy. <br />
<br />
No offense intended but I would guess that for most of us in this group, its more complicated than the procedural steps suggested. But then again, there may be some for whom it works. If so, anything that can help is a bonus.

5 months try 2 plus years.... too bad nothing works

Um... Yah. What notawife said. <br />
<br />
I took a year long break from sex at my wife's insistence. Taking a break from sex is not a problem for those of us here. It's more like a prison sentence.