Advice from the pros on putting intimacy back in your relationship
Don't overlook the importance of physical, emotional intimacy
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
It's just a three letter word. A three letter word that undoubtedly has you simultaneously curious, introspective and possibly defensive.
Then there's this word: Intimacy.
Yikes. A lot more complex reactions. We know what the word sex means (as a parent you've had it at least once). Despite all odds, many parents are still having it.
But intimacy? That's a little different. Finding time in between loads of laundry is hardly "intimate." When you first met there were long talks into the night, and that sex thing? It was, well, easy. Now you schedule it. And the last long talk you had was about auto insurance.
Whether you're still having sex or it got lost in the to-do list, there are people to help you get intimacy back.
"... What we encounter for couples, and particularly couples with children, is that intimacy and sex go to the wayside. We show them how they can bring intimacy into their lives as a daily practice," says Elsbeth Meuth, who co-owns TantraNova in Chicago with her partner Freddy Zental Weaver.
Tantric, for many of us, is "that thing Sting does." But, Meuth says, there's more to it than just sexual technique.
If you're picturing a group of people in robes and a fishbowl full of keys, think again. It's much tamer than that.
A base of the TantraNova way is simply learning to breathe with each other, Weaver says. It calms the mind and helps the couple connect.
So it's not quite the Fifty Shades of Grey you were imagining.
Emily Harrell, LMFT, owner and sex therapist at the Center for Mindful Living in Schaumburg and Chicago, says the biggest misconception about sex therapy is that it's all about sex, not emotions.
Parents have a host of concerns, time being one of them, she says.
"When you have children, you're constantly in a position where your time is limited and your attention is constantly occupied. By the time evening rolls around, those parents report to me they don't have the energy for sex. Even if they wanted to earlier in the day, they are kind of done," she says.
Women, in particular, have a tough time of things. For one, they often feel less sexual after becoming a mother. Harrell notes that for the most part, the sexual objects in our culture are young and single. There's also the fact that women's brains work differently than men's.
"We are web-thinkers, which means we're multitasking. We're really good at that. That's not a skill set we want in the bedroom," she says.
So, who's seeking help in the boudoir? Apparently, a little bit of everyone. A variety of age groups, ethnicities, economic status and education level take advantage of TantraNova's teachings, Weaver says.
"There's the couple that come to us because they want to expand their relationship. Then there is the couple that loves each other but the spark went out of their intimate connection. The third category is the couple that comes to us as the last resort," Meuth says.
Weaver says being happy at home leads to being happy elsewhere. So it's worth what you're willing to throw at it. After all, it's as big of a risk to improve your intimacy as it is to ignore it.