My blog post ideas typically come straight from things going on with my coaching clients. One thing I’m seeing a lot of lately is a lack of intimacy/connection in the couples I work with, and the resulting decline in their sex life.
3 Love Systems
If you’ve been at High T Marriage for a while, you know there are three love systems involved in romantic love:
- Attraction system (powered by dopamine)
- Relationship Comfort or Intimacy (powered by oxytocin)
- General Sex Drive (powered by testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone)
You also probably have a clear idea that lack of attraction kills your sex life since I’ve covered that extensively. What you might not realize, though, is that a lack of relationship comfort or intimacy can have the same negative effect.
Lack of Intimacy Impacts Her Desire for Sex
When your wife doesn’t feel connected or bonded to you, she won’t feel comfortable having sex with you, no matter how attracted she is. She may have sex, but not as often, and not nearly as freely as she would if she felt more connected.
You’ll hear her saying things like:
“All you want me for is sex.
You don’t care about me, you just want to get off.
I want sex, but it’s like there’s this little voice telling me I shouldn’t.
You’ll see things like:
She’s making out with you and seems to be into it, but all of a sudden, she gets upset and comes to a dead stop. She may try initiating a conversation in the middle of sex, and you’re left high and dry, going, “What just happened?”
Women Need to feel Close to Relax into Sex
Men and women are different. As Billy Crystal says, “Women need a reason, men need a place.” It’s a cliché because it’s true.
In general, once men are married, they feel they’ve established all the intimacy they’re ever going to need and can move on to the good stuff.
It’s different for women. It’s not a coincidence that many women use the euphemism ‘being intimate’ to mean having sex. For women, sex and intimacy go hand-in-hand; that’s not as true for men.
A woman needs ongoing closeness and communication in order to feel comfortable having sex, even when it’s with her husband. I know that seems crazy to most of the guys out there, but I promise you it’s true. It’s a feature, not a bug.
The good news is that it’s not all that hard to build the intimacy she needs to feel comfortable having sex with you.
Specific Ways to Build Intimacy & Comfort
Building intimacy and comfort is a matter of spending time together, but it has to be a certain kind of time. It’s not enough to simply be in the same room, looking at your respective devices.
There are five specific types of interactions that catapult you into intimacy with your wife. I creatively call them ‘The Five Types of Time’.
Every couple needs to have ‘MealTime’ together each evening, even if they’re on different meal plans, or don’t even eat all that much. It’s the connection that’s important.
You need to have fun together at least once every week. It doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive activity, just something that creates dopamine between the two of you. Sample activities:
- Ice skating
- Roller blading
- Bean bags
Try this little hack. Each of you write down three or four ideas for fun/dopamine activities on a piece of paper and put them in a bowl. Take turns drawing one out of the bowl each week and doing that activity.
I’m continually amazed at how little time couples actually spend together without looking at their devices. Each of you staring off into your respective screens is not together time; it’s simply parallel time.
Try this … talk to your wife and the two of you agree on device-free times and zones. For example, my husband and I have a device-free bedroom. Our bedroom is for sleeping and sex; that’s it.
You can also make certain times of the day device-free. Maybe it’s MealTime, maybe it’s in the morning when you two have a cup of coffee in bed. Whatever works for you.
5. Weekly Planning Time
I don’t think I’ve written about Weekly Planning Time on the blog, yet, but it’s one of the most important things you can do as a couple.
Pick a time of the week where you won’t be interrupted and sit down together and plan your week. Weekends are ideal for most couples. My husband and I do our meeting every Sunday afternoon.
You can start small with logistics and parenting stuff, but eventually you move on to bigger things … family goals, budget and investment goals, career goals, etc. This is one of the best tools I’ve found for bonding a couple and helping them feel part of the same team.
Make sure to take notes. What doesn’t get recorded doesn’t get done. Follow up periodically during the week for accountability.
How to Start
If you can’t find it in yourself to start all of the 5 Times together at once, then start with CandleTime and Weekly Planning Time. Those will get you jump started.
That’s about it. Is this a time investment? Sure, it is; however, if you’re consistent with it, you and your wife will both find yourselves looking forward to the time together, and eventually your day/week won’t seem complete without it.