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Sex and intimacy issues are extraordinarily common. It seems we all face them at one time or another – in one relationship or another. Sometimes, the same problem haunts us through every relationship we enter. That persistent problem can frustrate us and make our best efforts seem sad and futile.

Problems can arise from some obvious issues – like recovering from an affair or getting over an abusive relationship. They can also have more hidden causes, like identifying signs of an affair or financial problems in marriage. Intimacy problems can happen in both straight and same sex relationships. It seems that everyone gets at least their fair share.

Though these problems are almost universal, and some will require the assistance of couples therapists, help is never far away. Here are some healthy relationship tips that will at least help define the potential problem so it can be addressed:

The Distance Problem

One frequently-reported issue is distance. This doesn’t usually mean physical distance. Sometimes, you just don’t feel that you and your partner are inhabiting the same planet, even when you are physically conjoined during sex. It can lead to a nervous, unsettling feeling during what should be intimate moments of peace and fulfillment.

The cause can be a lack of trust rooted in a history of abuse in relationships. Something is keeping you or your partner – or both – from being fully present to each other. This lack of courageous openness and trust can bedevil even the most ideal-seeming relationships. It can spoil chances at true intimacy.

Once you are able to fully share your honest feelings with your partner, you’ll both then have the task of working through those feelings. Sometimes, the implications can be frightful or disturbing. You must persist. If your partner can’t handle your feelings and recognize their true origins, the distance problem will continue.

Communication is Still Key

“Communication” is cited so frequently as the cause of relationship problems. It often seems that all we really need to do is talk things out and then everything will be ok. Why doesn’t everyone just do this? Sounds simple.

But if it were that simple, relationships wouldn’t be so challenging, and great ones wouldn’t be such heroic achievements.

Still, sometimes the main problem in a relationship is this: when he says “x,” she hears “y.” Or when she says “q,” he hears “let’s stay at home and watch sports tonight.” Communication problems in relationships arise when we assume we know the intensive – unspoken – part of the communication. That assumption can wipe out the ostensive part that carries the real message. The mastery of communication in a relationship demands we understand both the spoken and unspoken content, while assuming positive intent.

Communication issues frequently are one of the main problems in relationships for men. Communications also are the main focus for online couples therapy. Couples therapists are mainly in the business of facilitating communications between partners, while reframing messages to more accurately reflect the true feelings behind them.

Help is Close at Hand

Cuppls offers counseling that can help you confront the sex and intimacy issues in your relationship – no matter who you are. Sometimes, it takes a compassionate, active listener to help bring out the feelings just under the surface, and to help you say what you really mean. Oftentimes, we forget having a relationship requires skill, and skills require time – and coaching – to develop.

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