Common Intimacy Issues And How To Deal With Them

Updated July 12, 2019

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Intimate relationships involve physical and emotional interaction; for some, intimate interaction comes easy, for others, it can trigger thoughts and behaviors that make intimacy uncomfortable. There are intimacy disorders that make forming close relationships problematic, but there are also many intimacy issues that are not rooted in phobias or related to disorders.

Some intimacy problems surface once a relationship reaches a point where physical intimacy enters the picture, other issues make dating itself a problem. Many couples begin to experience intimacy issues as they mature, this can be due to health problems or emotional and mental trauma caused by family problems unrelated to the bedroom.

Regardless of the severity of the problem, there is a help. Sometimes learning about common intimacy issues can help individuals and couples work through their problems. It can take something as simple as a quick medical exam to recognize health problems that are wreaking havoc on your sex life. Finding a qualified therapist or couples counselorcan help put intimacy problems into perspective and help you and your partner find the answers and make changes to better the relationship.

Fear Of Intimacy

Fear of intimacy is understood as social phobia; it is an anxiety disorder that makes it difficult to form close, intimate relationships. Many people with a fear of intimacy have no close relationships other than family, and even family relations may be strained. This disorder is related to adult attachment theory, the exact cause of this problem can stem from a neglectful or abusive childhood and trauma such as rape or childhood sexual abuse.

Those who struggle with a fear of intimacy have difficulty believing they are worthy of love and avoid others out of fear of rejection. Other symptoms includefeelings of vulnerability, uncomfortable with the emotions of exchangingpersonal information, and problems communicating feelings in intimate situations. These symptoms can range from slight to severe and impede an individual's ability to form lasting intimate relationships.

Dealing with a fear of intimacy requires more than an understanding of the disorder. This problem can make it difficult to form a relationship with a therapist,and this is essential for overcoming this issue. The first step is to find a therapist or psychologist.Talk Therapy is one type of therapy that may be introduced.If the problem is more demanding, medications may be used to help calm the anxiety and make it easier to engage in talk therapy.

Social Anxiety Disorder

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Social anxiety disorder can affect intimacy, the same thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are related to social anxiety disorder can seep into established relationships and trigger intimacy issues. Avoidant behaviors are one symptom of social anxiety that can cause intimacy issues. Intimate interaction is something that requires trust,and it can create a feeling of vulnerability that is reminiscent of the feelings and thoughts that accompany social anxiety disorder.

The best way to keep social anxiety disorder from affecting intimacy is to seek help for the anxiety problem. Those who suffer from social anxiety are more likely to suffer from fear of intimacy too. It is important to work through negative thoughts and emotions as they surface, avoidance is one of the main behaviors that stem from anxious thoughts about rejection or fear of vulnerability.

The best way to deal with these anxious thoughts and emotions is to work to recognize them for what they are; they are based on fear not reality. A good therapist can help by talking through negative thoughts and emotions as they surface.

Intimacy Avoidance

Intimacy avoidance is a behavior that makes it impossible to create or maintain a healthy intimate relationship. One of the main reasons an individual develops avoidance behaviors is childhood trauma, abuse, and neglect. As an adult, avoidance becomes a defense mechanism that protects the psyche from potential pain and hurt.

Adults with an avoidant personality disorder, social anxiety disorder, or fear of intimacy disorder, almost always engage in intimacy avoidance when relationships become serious. Symptoms of intimacy avoidance can be as simple as working late to avoid intimacy with a partner or as severe as avoiding intimate relationships altogether. Dealing with intimacy avoidance behavior begins with recognizing the symptoms and finding help.

Dealing with intimacy avoidance alone is no way to deal with the issue. Intimacy avoidance is all about being alone; it is important to find a therapist and work with them to learn about the symptoms and work toward changing the behavior itself. There are many therapies designed to address avoidance behaviors,and they are very successful. Finding the right therapist is the first step to facing intimacy avoidance and finding happiness.

Negative Body Image And Intimacy

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A negative body image is not a disorder, but it is a symptom of many different emotional disorders. A negative body image can destroy intimate relationships or keep relationships from becoming intimate, both physically and emotionally. Body image is a personal perception of one's own body, and it affects how an individual perceives their sexual attractiveness.

A positive body image is something everyone would love to have, but the modern ideals of attractiveness are not easy to achieve. Ultra-thin models are only one part of the modern portrayal of sex appeal; today digital enhancement makes changes that no real person can achieve. Comparing personal body image to some unattainable standard damages more than the ability to feel comfortable in our skin; modern media creates an enhanced, fictional image that can trigger eating disorders and other body morphic disorders.

It can be difficult to enjoy intimacy with a negative body image; this leads to infrequent sex and unsatisfying sexual encounters. Intimate relationships can fall apart or never take off at all if a negative body image interferes and creates distance. Dealing with a negative body image is hard when the media sets the standard for sexy.

It is important to recognize the difference between what the media portrays as sexy and what reality says is sexy. Keeping an intimate partner at a distance or ignoring their sexual advances can destroy a relationship, instead, talk about the thoughts and feelings. Talking about how negative body image interferes with intimacy allows both partners to understand avoidance behaviors and find ways to overcome the problem.

Sexual Performance Anxiety

Sexual performance anxiety is one of the easiest intimacy issues to deal with, but many strugglesand suffer needlessly. This problem is almost always related to a health issue. Many health problems can lead to erectile dysfunction or other sexual performance related problems. Ignoring health problems and performance problems onlycreate more stress and anxiety over the issue,and this leads to more performance related issues.

At the first sign of performance problems, discuss it with your partner, and make an appointment with your healthcare provider. Ignoring the problem and letting it spiral out of control can take a toll on intimate relationships, sometimes partners begin to blame themselves for the performance problem and this just adds another issue that must be dealtwith.

There are many things a doctor can do to help alleviate performance problems that are due to health-related issues. First, get an exam, find out where the real problem lies. There is no reason to stress and worry over performance problems, finding and addressing the underlying health issues will make all the difference in the world.

Sexual Communication Issues

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Everyone, or at least almost everyone has problems when it comes to talking about sex with partners. Experts say that both new and long-term relationships have sexual communication issues, if this is true, then sexual communication issues are the number one intimacy issue. Even if talking about sexual likes and dislikes is not a problem for one partner, chances are, the other partner is not so comfortable with expressing their likes and dislikes.

There are ways to overcome sexual communication issues that don't involve sex therapy or talking with a couple's counselor. Sexual communication can be more than a verbal exchange, using body language to express sexual desires can be just as effective. Body language is used everyday to communicate with others without using words. Changing position, kissing, and caressing can also be used to communicate without words.

Learning to communicate sexually is also a big topic for self-help. Try reading a few self-help books, advice on learning to communicate with your partner about sex can help by giving both sides of the issue. Women should search out books written by men on how they deal with sexual communication issues, and men should search for books written by women on the subject.

If dealing with this issue is on your own is not working, couple's counseling may be a viable option. For some, it can be easier to express themselves to a therapist rather than their partner. Talking with a therapist works because they can give you valuable feedback and advice on how to approach your partner and learn to express yourself sexually.


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