It’s no secret that physical intimacy and emotional intimacy are closely related. But, HOW do you build an emotional connection in marriage that enables you to be sexually connected. In this article, we’ll cover 5 Tips that are sure to improve your connection…
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About the Author
This article is based on scientific evidence and clinical experience, written by a licensed professional and fact-checked by experts. Josh Spurlock, MA, LPC, CST is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Therapists with over 10,000 hours of clinical experience. Josh specializes in Marriage Counseling and Sex Therapy. You can schedule an appointment with Josh for online counseling.
Sex is an emotional experience.
God designed sexual desire to lead a woman into an emotionally intimate relationship and to enjoy sexual expression in the context of an emotionally safe and connected relationship- i.e. Marriage. If a woman’s marriage doesn’t feel safe or if she doesn’t feel emotionally connected to her husband, she’s probably not going to feel a desire to be sexually vulnerable with him. Being disconnected doesn’t necessarily mean you have a bad relationship. Couples who love each other very much and are safe with each other can get emotionally disconnected just from the busyness of life getting in the way. If we’ve been too busy to nurture the relationship, then we’re probably emotionally disconnected. If we do have serious communication difficulties or breaches of trust in the relationship, it’s unlikely that we will ever have a healthy, passionate, sexual relationship until this is addressed.
5 Tips for Staying Emotionally Connected
1) Be Friends
If you and your husband aren’t friends – you’re probably not going to be very good as lovers. You need to cultivate a relationship with each other outside of roles as parents or roommates who share domestic responsibilities.
Friends hangout. As married people, we like to call this “dating” your spouse. You keep them like you caught them. If you stop putting yourself together and going out as a couple, the flame will dwindle.
Doing things…together…is important. Even if it’s just binging on Netflix next to each other on the couch, have shared experiences in your week. If you live completely separate lives you’re not going to be very connected with each other.
To a sunny beach in an exotic location or to the grocery store without children – whatever the budget allows. Building memories together is an important part of deepening a relationship. Having adventures together, even tragic sagas, accumulate shared experiences that weave our stories together.
2) Make-Out in the Kitchen
The kitchen, elevator, park bench, a deserted hallway at church – wherever [won’t get you arrested]. Non-genital physical affection is important to the emotional connection in your relationship. If the only time you two touch is when one of you is initiating sex, you’re not going to be very emotionally connected and the sex is going to be more scarce as well. Make time to snuggle, cuddle, hold hands, sit with an arm around your spouse, back scratchy, and lean up against the counter with your arms around each other. The more it grosses out your kids, the better.
3) Learn to Fight
A lot of couples are no good at fighting. Not for lack of practice, but the form is terrible. The best at communication turn conflict into greater closeness, instead of allowing it to drive a wedge between them (yes this is possible). If you tear each other down when you fight, leaving the other feeling hurt, uncared about, and unsafe in the relationship this will get in the way of a healthy sex life. Sure, makeup sex can be fun because of the intense hormones flowing through our veins when we fight. However, if we don’t know how to navigate conflict in a way that feels like a win for us both, resentment will eventually choke out our affection for each other.
4) Talk before Sex
Most women need lots of verbal intercourse before the other kind. No, I’m not talking about oral sex – I’m talking about communication [if you’re still confused check Webster’s Dictionary]. The former may be helpful as well, but that’s another article. Sharing about each other’s day and feeling like we care about what’s happening in each other’s life helps women feel emotionally connected to their husbands. Don’t come home late from work and commence to groping your wife – it probably won’t go over very well. Try having a conversation (not a fight about points of conflict) with her before you lead into flirting. I know it sounds crazy men, but you might even try texting or calling your wife during the day.
5) Resolve Conflict
If you have a habit of sweeping things under the rug, the awkward pile that forms over time can really get in the way of your sex life. Unresolved conflict leads to resentment, which chokes the life out of passion. If there have been betrayals of trust, hurts, wrongs that have never been addressed, or ongoing disputes that are not worked through- make cleaning these messes up a priority. If you don’t know how, get professional help. You’re not the only couple to ever face these sorts of challenges. There are books and counselors who can help you work through these things so they don’t keep you from a passionate relationship you love.
- Johnson, S., & Zuccarini, D. (2010). Integrating sex and attachment in emotionally focused couple therapy. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 36(4), 431-445.
- Yoo, H., Bartle-Haring, S., Day, R. D., & Gangamma, R. (2014). Couple communication, emotional and sexual intimacy, and relationship satisfaction. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 40(4), 275-293.
- Talmadge, L. D., & Talmadge, W. C. (1986). Relational sexuality: An understanding of low sexual desire. Journal of sex & marital therapy, 12(1), 3-21.
- The Three Kinds of Sex – Dr. Sue Johnson 
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