5 Ways to Talk About the “I” Word – Intimacy

Before we delve in to what you all want to know, it’s important we are on the same page.  As we have been at various events, on the radio or talking to people, we have noticed that the word intimacy to most people is the conservative code word for sex.  Which would mean the title of our book, decoded, would be Real Sex.  BUT this is not a book about real sex but a book about intimacy, Real Intimacy – or in other words emotional, spiritual, physical, sexual.

Whether you realized it or not, I just started a conversation with you, letting you know how I see intimacy.  Can you imagine if I just moved forward with this article assuming you defined intimacy in the same way I did yet you thought I was in fact going to give you 5 ways to talk about sex?  You may be confused, you may be disappointed, you may get frustrated.  Regardless, the conversation would be a frustrated one before it even had a chance to get going.  Starting with asking yourself how you define intimacy, here are five ways to talk about intimacy with your spouse.

Be clear about where you are coming from and talk directly –  If you speak in code or in round-about ways it will be difficult to be able to respond to you in a way where you feel understood.  If you are wanting to talk about your sex life, say that.  If you are feel like you are lacking in the emotional department say that.  If you ask for something vague you will more than likely get something vague in return.

Conduct an honest inventory – It’s easy to filter out the areas of your relationship that are working and focus on the areas that are not.  However, before you jump in to the conversation, get real about your relationship strengths and then identify the area you would like to improve.   This will not only balance your perspective but bring balance to the conversation.

It’s all about timing – Brining up aspects of your intimacy during a big sporting event, while juggling children, after a stressful day or when either of you are overly hungry and/or sleep deprived is a sure fire way to have a conversation that will be highly unpredictable.  Consider having a date night, going to bed earlier than normal or create a weekly “check-in” time with eachother so the timing is planned and anticipated.

It’s never all-or-nothing – We can get trapped in absolutes thinking things like “my spouse never tickles my back” or “They always interrupt me when I am speaking.” Take a minute and ask yourself is this true?  Do they never tickle your back or do they occasionally and you would like them to tickle your back more often.  Do they always interrupt you or are their times when they are great listeners and you would like more of that.  If you get caught in black-and-white thinking you are bound to put your partner on the defense and have the conversation derailed without a conclusion.

Don’t throw in the kitchen sink – If you and your spouse are not having regular conversations about intimacy and/or don’t seem to finish a conversation without a fight, it may be tempting to bring in all of the ways your spouse has offended you.  Stay on topic and if you have other things you would like to address start addressing those in subsequent conversations.  This is about practicing emotional boundaries and having discipline.

 If you find you are having a difficult time talking about intimacy without a fight or if you find it difficult to broach the subject so avoid it, consider professional coaching or counseling.  Both can be tools to add to your relationship toolbox. 

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