Category Archives: Hurdles to Intimacy

Sexual Fantasy to Spice Up Your Sex Life

Sexual Fantasy

The ability to fantasize is a powerful psychological experience, transporting you from your current reality to the land of possibility. Freud theorized that when reality frustrates us in some way, the mind creates imagined alternatives to help us cope. In this way, fantasy offers us a momentary escape, a psychic vacation that we can return

Affair Recovery: Rebuilding Your Sex Life after an Affair

affair recovery

The betrayal of an affair can be one of the most devastating things for an individual, and also for a relationship. It may not surprise you to hear that many relationships don’t recover from the fallout of an affair. However, many relationships do. That’s the focus of our attention today, those couples that decide to

Understanding a No-Sex Marriage

no-sex marriage

Because I am a psychologist, people frequently share with me what they are afraid to say to their partner or spouse. The confidentiality of the therapy session invites this type of freedom — an undoing of customary inhibitions. And, not infrequently, concerns about what isn’t working in the client’s relationship take center stage in our

Can Jealousy Be a Turn On?

what turns you own?

What do oysters, chocolate, and pomegranates have in common? They are all thought to be aphrodisiacs. But what if I asked you to consider adding a non-food item to the list? And what if it’s something you might think of as a bucket of cold water on the fire of lust, rather than something that

Why Is Sex So Important to Men?

Men and Sex

According to research, men think about sex more often than women. This probably isn’t a surprise to most of us, and it only becomes an issue when a man’s sexual appetite starts to interfere with other parts of his life, or when it prevents nonsexual aspects of a relationship from being nurtured. Some examples of

Relationship Security and Sexual Intimacy: Good Bedfellows

sexual intimacy

The need for connection, for attachment and relationship security, is inherent to who we are as people. We are born into relationships (with parental figures) and this need is always with us. Our relationships shape us in profound ways, and the fact that early relationships deeply impact us is now a scientific given. When our

Understanding Your Partner’s Level of Sexual Interest

sexual interest

There are certain relationship dynamics that impact a couple’s sex life and certain relational dynamics that arise from their sexual relationship. One particular pattern has to do with the expectations that result when one partner wants more frequent sex than the other—when one partner wants sex and the other can take it or leave it

Overcoming 3 Hurdles for Better Sex

Better Sex

When a relationship is new, the invitation for sex frequently comes in the form of flirtation and/or seduction. An innocent touch quickly travels toward a more erotically-charged touch, and before you know it, the couple is off to the races. Perhaps playful flirtation, a coquettish smile or a sexually provocative choice of words are used

Sexual Frustration and the Fear of Rejection

Sexual Frustration

In a previous post we talked about the importance of trust as a building block for creating a fulfilling sex life. An often hidden cause of sexual frustration stems from unresolved trust issues. Trust is key to sexual intimacy because sex involves emotional vulnerability. When trust is a given in your relationship, it recedes to

No-Sex Marriage? A Lack of Trust May Be the Cause

no-sex marriage

Whenever we speak of sex in marriage or long-term relationships (and the reasons for a no-sex marriage or relationship), emotional security becomes highly relevant. Experiencing emotional safety with your spouse/partner is the bedrock on which sexual intimacy rests, yet too frequently couples looking to enhance their sex lives fail to place this important issue under

Sex and Stress: Steps to Improve Your Sex Life

sex and stress

Life is full of priorities, commitments and distractions. Each of these creates a unique set of circumstances that pulls for a particular version of ourselves. To capture and appreciate this more fully, try to monitor yourself throughout the day and notice how you react with the different people and different circumstances you come across. These

Men and Sex: What Women Need to Know

Men and Sex

“If sexuality is one dimension of our ability to live passionately in the world, then in cutting off our sexual feelings we diminish our overall power to feel, know and value deeply.”  ~ Judith Plaskow Whenever someone talks or writes about gender-specific issues, there is always the danger of overgeneralizing what is being addressed as

How To Seduce Your Man

How to Seduce Your Man

Let’s be honest: some people just seem to naturally exude sex appeal and seductiveness. And then there are the rest of us who have to work on being seductive. The good news is, with intention, effort, and some understanding of the erotic mind, you can make seduction an ongoing part of your relationship or marriage.

How Silence Led to a Sexless Marriage (Installment #3)

sexless marriage

Welcome to the 3rd installment of the Making of a Sexless Relationship series where we witness one couple’s sex life change from a rich landscape of possibility to a place devoid of sensual/erotic pleasure. And, in the process, where we can learn more about our own sex lives and learn how to avoid the pitfalls

Self-Surrender: Letting Go for Better Sex

Self Surrender

When you hear the word “surrender,” what goes through your mind? The idea of surrender usually has negative connotations: losing a battle, being overtaken by someone more powerful, giving up, handing over your power. It’s usually the beleaguered partner who throws up his/her hands and exclaims, “You win, do it your way!” In these instances,

5 Approaches to Initiating Sex

5 ways to initiating sex

Sex doesn’t just “happen”; it is set into motion by the partner who wants to have sex (the initiator) and then it is up to the other partner (the recipient) to accept (or reject) the invitation. When you or your partner desire sex, one of you must request sexual engagement (unless you both end up

Sexual Turn Ons: Understanding Your Libido

sexual turn ons

“My husband gets turned on at the drop of a hat. At times I can just give him a hug and I can feel he’s getting hard. If his libido was a car, it would be a Ferrari with a full tank of gas and his foot already revving the engine. My libido is very

5 Steps to Spice Up A Boring Sex Life

overcome a boring sex life

Dictionary.com defines a rut as “a fixed or established mode of procedure or course of life, usually dull or unpromising.” At times we’ve all felt like we’re just spinning our wheels with little-to-no forward movement. For some of us this might occur in our efforts to become healthier or lose weight. For others a particular

The Dangers of Initiating Sex

Initiating Sex

For sex to happen, someone has to initiate it. (I realize I’m stating the obvious.) But for the couples in marriages or relationships that have grown stale, and for couples who’ve fallen away from each other despite their desire for emotional connection, the initiation of sex is often an anxiety-provoking experience. Too many couples fail

Fear of Intimacy in Men

Fear of intimacy in men

In every loving, intimate marriage or relationship, the potential for damaging shame is close at hand. Why is this? It’s been said that of all emotions—including love, hate, fear, happiness, grief—there is only one so powerful that the passage of time cannot dilute the feeling. That is shame. In other words, recalling the specific circumstance

Sex After 50 (Part 2): Stop Standing in Your Own Way

Sex After 50

In a previous Sex After 50 blog post, we examined a particularly damaging attitude that too many older couples hold regarding their sexuality—an attitude that dictates what is considered appropriate/inappropriate for a particular age group. When applied to older couples, the attitude of “age-appropriate” behavior places significant constraints on a couple, constraints that impact not

Sex After 50: Is Better Sex Possible?

Sex After 50

“Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” ~ Samuel Ullman For sexual desire and fulfillment to exist, there must be a mindset that encourages and nurtures one’s sexuality. And this is particularly

Passionate Love-Making: Are You Being Realistic?

Passionate Love-Making

When couples complain about their sex lives, they are either frustrated with the frequency (too little sex, or in some cases, one partner complains that the other wants it all the time), or the quality of sex is lacking (the sex feels lifeless, mechanical or overly predictable). For the couples who come to see me,

The Making of a Sexless Relationship (Installment #2)

Making of a Sexless Relationship

This is the second blog post in a series that follows Becca and Hugo, a couple struggling to recapture the sexual and emotional intimacy that once existed in their marriage. You can read the first installment by clicking sexless relationship. Misunderstandings and conflict, and the emotional wounding that ensues, are a normal part of any

The Making of a Sexless Relationship (First Installment)

Sexless Relationship

“The Making of a Sexless Relationship” is the first blog post in an ongoing series that follows one couple through the ups and downs of their relationship as they try to make sense of their struggles with emotional and sexual intimacy. While you may not identify with every aspect of their story, there will likely

Fear of Intimacy? You’re Not Alone!

Fear of Intimacy

Is a fear of intimacy hurting emotional intimacy and sexual connection in your marriage/relationship? For many of the couples I work with, this is indeed the case. Let’s explore how a fear of intimacy negatively impacts relationships and how couples can overcome this all-too-common experience. Overcoming a Fear of Intimacy: A Lesson from Therapy One

Self-Connection Is the Foundation for Emotional Intimacy

emotional intimacy

When you think of how to spice up your marriage or relationship, when you desire deeper emotional and sexual intimacy with your partner, do you ever consider the relationship you have with yourself as the starting point? Many of us don’t, and this is a mistake. Let’s look at why our relationship with ourselves (self-intimacy

Sexual Intimacy and Your Body

Sexual Intimacy and Your Body

(In a recent blog post—5 Blocks to Sexual Gratification—we briefly touched upon the important issue of somatic disconnection. In today’s post, we’ll further explore the issue of why a disconnection to your own body can hurt emotional as well as sexual intimacy. We end with an exercise designed to help you reconnect to your own

Remaining Open to the Possibility of Sex

Overcoming a sexless relationship

At a recent couples workshop on intimacy, I asked the participants what helped get them in the mood for sex. What followed was a lively discussion about each person’s turn-ons and turn-offs, but soon the conversation veered to the important issue of when one partner is sexually raring to go while sex is the last

Rekindle Sexual Desire by Understanding Your Sexual History

Rekindle Sexual Desire

Sexuality is much more than a physical act or body-based experience—it’s a state of mind and way of being. While influenced by hormones, sexual desire and expression (or lack of expression) are powerfully shaped by your deep-seated attitudes and relationship to your own sexual longings, as well as your feelings about your partner/spouse and his/her

Sexual Intimacy in Marriage: Why Trust Is Central

Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

“Having sex with someone I didn’t really know or care about was easy. It’s when I fell in love that sex became amazing and dangerous at the same time. All of a sudden, trust and the potential for betrayal became relevant.” ~Eric, 33 years old When love becomes part of the relationship landscape, when the

Intimacy in Marriage: Is Sex Deepening Emotional Intimacy?

Intimacy in marriage

Say the word “sex” to twenty different people and you are likely to get twenty different reactions. Why is that? Sex is an emotionally-charged experience with few rivals—sex and sexuality are not neutral phenomena, devoid of meaning. In fact, it is the psychological/emotional meaning that sex is imbued with (a meaning shaped by unconscious beliefs

When a Negative Body-Image Blocks Sexual Pleasure

sexual pleasure

Sex brings our bodies onto the center stage of our own awareness and the awareness of our spouse/partner. For this reason, our relationship to our body (how we feel and think about our body in general, as well as how we think and feel about particular aspects of our body) is highly relevant to whether

Tips for Greater Passion and Sex in Marriage

Sex in Marriage

New relationships are often infused with passion—an emotional intensity and a sexual charge that creates a blissful orbit around a couple, bathing them in euphoria and excitement. Connecting moments—in and out of the bedroom—seem to automatically happen during this initial phase of the relationship. But as a relationship matures, something starts to shift. Over time,

Using Sex to Avoid Intimacy

Using sex to avoid intimacy

It isn’t a given that sex deepens emotional intimacy and connection. And, frankly, you may have sex at times and want little to do with emotional closeness. There is nothing wrong with sex for the sake of pure pleasure, occasional escapism or sexual abandon—a feeding of our more primitive selves. Sex may have different meanings

Is a Fear of Intimacy Hurting Your Sex Life?

Sexual Passion and Desire

“For a marriage or relationship to flourish, there must be intimacy. It takes an enormous amount of courage to say to your spouse, ‘This is me. I’m not proud of it — in fact, I’m a little embarrassed by it — but this is who I am.’” ~Bill Hybels Emotional intimacy involves a connection that

Men and Sex: 3 Mistakes Guys Make in the Bedroom

Men and Sex

Great lovers are sensitive lovers. They are open and receptive to different levels of feedback (verbal and non-verbal) from their partners about what is and isn’t working sexually. And then, most importantly, they adjust accordingly. We’d all like to consider ourselves astute lovers who drive our partners wild with sexual desire, but the reality is

The Power of Learning How to Feel Sexy

Learning how to feel sexy

We’ve been talking a great deal about sex, passion and sexual intimacy here at How to Spice Up Your Marriage, but in today’s post, I’d like to shift gears just a little and talk about the importance of feeling sexy even when sex isn’t necessarily on the agenda. How do you define sexy? Do you

How to Seduce Your Husband: One Husband’s Perspective

How To Seduce Your Husband

Daniel and Elizabeth have been married for about four years, while they’ve known each other for a total of eight years. Throughout the ups and downs of their marriage, the couple reports that they always had a “good sexual relationship,” but a pattern has set in that concerns Elizabeth. Daniel rarely initiates sex, though whenever

5 Blocks to Sexual Gratification

blocking sexual gratification

Humans have an amazing capacity to experience pleasure. From laughter, joy, awe, gratitude, love and feelings of accomplishment, to experiencing a deep sense of connection to a loved one—the different forms that our earthly pleasures take are varied, to say the least. And while we’re speaking of pleasure, let’s not forget sexual pleasure. Sex is