Dr. Jenev Caddell explains how problems with sex are most often a symptom of a larger relationship problem.
I’ve heard it said that when committed partners do not have problems with sex, it occupies about 5% of their relationship’s energy. When sex is a problem, however, it occupies about 95% of the relationship’s energy.
What’s the secret to a great sex life?
Some handcuffs, a sex swing, other assorted toys? The latest magazine that explains the top 5 positions you need to try now? An open relationship policy and a departure from monogamy? Not necessarily.
What’s needed is intimacy.
In other words, intimacy = closeness.
And perhaps that’s obvious: You need to be physically close to have sex. Very true! Just as important as actually being physically close, however, is being emotionally close. Remember: When sex is a problem, it occupies 95% of the relationship’s energy. More often than not, however, sex isn’t the main problem.
Problems with sex are typically a symptom of a larger problem–A lack of emotional intimacy.
Sex may be the first thing to go that a couple will notice and seek help for. One partner may wake up to the fact that there are serious problems in the relationship upon the realization that their sex life is either dead or barely breathing. That’s often a complaint that brings a couple to coaching or counseling.
More often than not, though, sex has come to a halt because of a disconnect in the couple’s emotional bond. Emotional closeness involves feeling truly safe with your partner, so that you can be vulnerable with each other.
When you have emotional intimacy and safety and are vulnerable with each other:
You are not only accepted for who you are, but cherished.
That’s why couples in long-term committed and happy relationships report being the most sexually satisfied out of all other groups of people. When partners feel safe enough with each other to express their true desires and be open with each other, they are able to have better sex. And of course, partners have easy access to each other.
The sex life of a happily committed couple is then like a good bottle of wine that just gets better with age.
This may be hard to believe when we are living in a culture that is obsessed with the thrill of the chase, the lure of the mystery and the thrill of sexual conquests. Let me assure you: It’s backed up in the research.
When you’re in a partnership with someone who you know has your back, cherishes you, understands you and values you more than anything, and you feel the same about this person—grateful every day to be with them, and totally safe with them—you’re free to be more open, playful and enjoy sex in ways that you may not otherwise.
Great sex then involves the ability to be both emotionally and physically vulnerable with each other.
Dr. Sue Johnson likens sex without an emotional bond to dancing without music: It’s flat, one dimensional, and not really fun or exciting at all. The secret to a great sex life requires some of the same ingredients of a stellar relationship: A strong emotional bond.
A strong emotional bond starts with being emotionally present with each other. So put your phone down, shut down your laptop and be together.
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Originally published: My Best Relationship.com