Emotional Connection and Its Impact on Sex


#Emotional Connection and Its Impact on Sex

When you and your partner can’t connect on an intimate emotional level, it’s hard to enjoy yourself on an intimate physical level.

It can be very difficult for couples to connect on an emotional level when distance separates them. However, distance isn’t the only barrier; sometimes it’s a couples’ individual family history that creates the roadblock. Childhood experiences in particular color the way we communicate and show our love.

Such is the case for Mike and Priscilla. Like many Americans, Mike has to travel for work and is able to be at home with Priscilla only one week out of the month. Besides struggling with the physical distance from her husband, Priscilla also contends with emotional distance from Mike: Whenever she tries to get him to open up and talk, he shuts down. As a result, their sexual connection has fizzled because Priscilla doesn’t feel close, emotionally connected, or uninhibited with Mike in the bedroom.

If this situation sounds familiar, consider the following to help get your relationship back on track:

1. Understand each other’s language. Some couples talk to each other without actually communicating. You might think that you are saying one thing, but your partner hears something completely different. You and your partner should try repeating or paraphrasing each other’s words so you are both clear on what you’re hearing. For example, you might say, “I’m hearing you say that you are angry with me for not telling you that I’d be home late tonight. Is that right?” It might sound silly, but it can really help you understand what your partner is saying and avoid misunderstandings and misassumptions.

2. Examine your history. If you (or your partner) come from a home in which your parents were emotionally shut down and communication between them was limited, it might be hard for you to break that mold and create a new, healthy pattern in which you open up emotionally. Identify unhealthy behavior patterns from your childhood as potential problem areas in your current relationship and then work to fix them: whether it’s making small changes yourself or seeking help from a therapist to address the issues.

3. Be aware of “intellectualizing.” Sometimes people remove themselves emotionally by discussing matters on a purely hypothetical level or by intellectualizing. For example, instead of addressing an issue head-on or openly expressing true feelings, a person might simply discuss matters theoretically and somewhat remotely — such as, “I wonder if I am shutting down right now because I saw my parents do the same thing.” The theory might be true, but it doesn’t reflect the emotion that the person is experiencing at the moment; so it doesn’t necessarily help resolve the communication issues or help the relationship move forward.

4. Make your time together count. Long-distance relationships come with their share of struggles, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be happy and rewarding. Make the most of your time together when you are able to see each other, and try to keep the stress and arguments to a minimum during that time.

You need to spend time with a person in order to develop an emotional connection. I don’t just mean going out on dates. I’m talking about just hanging out together. Spending time together in a relaxed environment will allow more opportunity for sharing feelings and talking openly about things.

Look for activities you both enjoy doing. It’s hard to connect on an emotional level if you don’t share some common interests. You’ll find it easier to be your real self when doing something that you enjoy and feel good about. You’ll feel more at ease and your partner will get to see the real you. This works both ways, of course. You’ll get to see the real them, too.

Cuddling is something that nourishes that emotional connection. I’m not talking about sex now, I’m talking about non-sexual touching and physical closeness. Sure, sex can contribute to feelings of emotional connection, but it doesn’t always. It’s possible to have sex with someone without feeling emotionally connected at all. Sex alone won’t lead to emotional closeness.

Be aware of how your emotional connection impacts your physical connection and nurture it. If you aren’t on the same page outside the bedroom, you won’t be on the same page inside the bedroom. It will be hard for you to open up and be passionate and uninhibited if you don’t feel 100% connected. And one thing leads to another: Working on your emotional connection can greatly improve your sexual enjoyment, which will further enhance your emotional connection. So it’s really a win-win!


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