In my esteemed opinion – which may or not be all that esteemed – there are two separate types of intimacy problems. The first is a general intimacy problem, which encompasses intimacy in all situations, and with all types of people. The second is a specific intimacy problem, which would be classified as an intimacy issue with one person.
In order to enjoy all facets of a relationship -be they sexual, emotional, mental, or just physical – you must be able to accept intimacy with that person. This means trusting your partner to take care of you and to never hurt you purposefully. It also means comfort with sharing personal information, and with being both alone and out in public.
Intimacy is not just a sexual issue, although physical intimacy is certainly a factor. In a relationship, there are all different kinds of intimacy, and they all build on one another. For example, if you can’t trust your partner to be faithful, then it is doubtful that you will fully enjoy sex with him or her. Similarly, if you don’t believe your partner truly loves you, then how can you ever fully trust that person?
A romantic relationship means relying on another human being for emotional and psychological support. It means giving yourself to that person, no matter how corny it sounds, and accepting whatever he or she offers in return.
Many times, intimacy problems are identified only in the bedroom. Intimacy issues with sex are often the most noticeable because we place a high priority on sex. If we are unable to express ourselves sexually in a relationship, then we lose a quality that has been deemed quite important, which might result in the deterioration of the relationship.
If you know that you have intimacy problems, here are a few things you can do to help relieve your fears:
1. Evaluate Your Relationship
There has to be a reason why you have intimacy problems, and you must first decide whether you have general or specific intimacy issues. Do your problems reside with your current partner, or have you felt the same way in every relationship?
2. Talk with Your Partner
If you can’t discuss intimacy problems with your partner, then you have no business being in a relationship. A healthy, committed relationship must be built on trust in the other person, so try to explain your feelings to him or her. Maybe your partner can offer some interesting tidbit of insight, or maybe you’ll feel better just having voiced your concerns.
3. See a Therapist
This doesn’t mean that you are crazy, but that you need an outsider’s perspective on intimacy. There are therapists who have dealt with intimacy problems throughout their entire careers, and you might benefit from third-party advice to which you have no emotional connection.