When sexual connection has been lacking for a while, due to illness, overactive schedule, childbearing, child raising, or due to conflict that has just finally been resolved, it can be awkward and feel unnatural to sexually reconnect with your partner.
In an earlier post “Sex- How much is Enough” , I talked about reasons why there might be a lack of sexual connection in a relationship. When couples do decide they’re ready to try and reconnect, there is often a lot of anxiousness. It can sometimes feels easier to carry on without, instead of trying to re-connect, even when this causes strain in the relationship. Sometimes sex is a lot more important to one person than the other. If you are wanting to re-connect sexually with your partner, I’ve provided a suggested path you might consider.
Before beginning this process, be sure that you have done your best to resolve conflict, or are working on conflicts. Also, be sure to communicate your desire to engage in this process with your partner, to ensure that you are both in agreement to try this as a means of moving forward. If you find that things don’t go as planned, or that conflict or anxiety arises within this process, don’t hesitate to talk to a counsellor. This could be a result of unresolved issues related to trauma. For physical concerns, such as pain during arousal or intercourse, or fears regarding erectile dysfunction, start by checking in with your doctor.
Here’s the plan:
Set a time frame for each section. At the end of that time re-evaluate, to see if you are ready to try the next section. If so, set a time for the second stage. Through each time period, ensure that you are checking with your partner about what is working for them or if they are uncomfortable with anything that is happening. Be sure you are communicating the same for yourself.
There will be no intercourse, sexual touching, or sexualized comments during this first time period. Finding special things to say or do for each other can be part of this section. Find ways to connect physically in affectionate ways. For example: Sitting close enough to be touching on the couch; greeting each other with a hug and kiss; holding hands while walking; a hand on the shoulder or arm when talking to the other; etc. Be sure to check with your partner if they’re uncomfortable with anything that you are doing and that you communicate your level of comfort with what is happening..
During this period of time, the focus is on romance – finding ways to communicate that you not only have affection for your partner, but are re-discovering romantic feelings for them. Once again, intercourse is not a part of this time period, but you may say romantic things or make romantic gestures. More physical connection, such as bathing together (showering or baths), massages, lying naked together, may be a part of this time. These are not necessarily intended to be sexual but are meant to be intimate connecting points that you would not have with someone you don’t have romantic feelings for.
Sexual touching and talking are permitted, but not intercourse. Masturbation, mutual masturbation, sexualized massages or messages, may be a part of this time period. Finding ways to please yourself and each other, without intercourse, is important. Express interest in finding time to connect sexually. Find ways to have fun with sexual play. Try out games, roles plays, etc, but only as you and your partner are comfortable.
Everything is an option (as long as you are both consenting), but nothing is required. You may engage in intercourse, but only when you both really want to. You have now explored a wide range of ways to connect physically, affectionately, romantically, and sexually, and you may want to continue to utilize a wide variety of ways to connect. Again, be sure to communicate what you are hoping for, or open to, in this time, and continue communicating. Enjoy yourselves and each other!
Check out this TedTalk “Pizza as a Better Metaphor for Sex” about sex being more than just intercourse.
Check out Sex – How Much is Enough?
See also Staying Together, after Kids
You might also find this post helpful 8 Steps to Communicating with your Partner about Big Life Issues
See also My Shitty Body (Image)