If you’re having issues in the bedroom, disconnecting over how often, what to try … sex is not the problem. It’s a symptom of an underlying problem.

We like validation. In all parts of our world. It’s reassuring to hear chimes of agreement when we speak no matter the topic. Social media is a prime example of validation gone wild. People logging on and confessing cringe-worthy secrets, vaguebooking for attention. When we are needy, confused, or feeling alone, we turn to the experts, the peanut gallery, our friends, a trusted family member, an article perhaps. Solidarity enables us to live another day.

On the slippery subject of sex, guess what?

You and your partner are the experts in your relationship. No one else. Outside influences will do nothing to mend or strengthen inside matters.

Whether you are having sex three times a day hanging upside down in a shower stall, or your interludes occur every couple of weeks, or even months as fireworks threaten to burn down the house, know this: your sexual fingerprint is unique as compared to anyone else’s. As long as you both feel warm and fuzzy about it, as long as you witness your partner holding eye contact, as long as they cherish you and make you feel like the god or goddess you are, then you guys are just fine. You don’t need anyone or anything else to confirm your fineness, only your partner is required for that task. When you believe you both are on-track, when you feel good about the time you carve out for each other and the ongoing communication the two of you should make a priority, you better recognize, such mutual agreement upstages the nookie.

Sexual satisfaction is realized when both parties willingly come to the bed, when both are stoked to share in such intimate moments, which extends beyond the bedroom, and you got it, right into the heart of the relationship. In the heart, love is nurtured and the real, grinding effort competing with the day-to-day to be together, the action of choosing each other again and again reigns. Roots of intimacy, the love felt as you aim the flashlight so your SO can retrieve the screw that fell out of the air compressor, the meals made for the one working late, the silence given to the long-winded one as they expunge a day’s worth of frustrating BS, these roots are capable of a miracle. As they broadcast the reverence of your relationship, they also reaffirm your partner’s importance.

Odds are, if you’re having issues in the bedroom, disconnecting over how often, what new positions to try, whether morning sex is better than evening, and blah, blah blah…edible massage oil…blah, blah, blah…flogger…sex is not the issue. What you’ve described is a symptom, my love, a beady-eyed symptom lurking under the hood of your relationship awaiting nurturing and attention. A symptom that will, at any cost, make itself known.

Maybe you have done the work as side-by-side gardeners, growing your sexy, sultry crops. Great for you two! If you feel satisfied with the intricacies of your intimacies, as the old saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But do keep cultivating, do nurture, do create the incentives to bud and proliferate all over the place. Do make your sex life a resplendent bed of dewy, fragrant flowers.

Intimacy is not merely the physical act of passion, it comprises so much more, Trust, belief, the faith you are greater than your ability to pay bills, shovel the walk, do the laundry, wipe your kid’s tushie, well, it’s a mindset, too, which allows a partner to open up to their SO and experience not only physical loving, but the emotional caress, the return to water to slake a thirst—which should be done frequently. Whether you take your intimate plans all the way to home base, or schedule a movie night to see where your date might lead, as long as the two of you are grooving on a symbiotic vibe, are committed to showing the love, then you’re okay. I have reinforced this belief hard! I’ve stopped listening to overlookers—well-meaning voyeurs enjoying our very private, no-one-else-invited kink fest. Always remember, no one else is a subject matter expert on the two of you, but the two of you! So listen to the voices originating from inside your relationship, hear what needs must be addressed, who is feeling not-so-whole and not-so-special, why and what can be done about it. Stop in the moment and give a longer-than-usual hug, put your phone down and make eye contact—like you mean it, now! No thinking about how much you want to reconnect with that plasticky, icky passion-killer glued to your face or thumbs the majority of the time. Ask about your lover’s day, perform niceties: drop off the package your SO hasn’t had time to get to, pick up their dry cleaning, restock their favorite cookies or chocolate. When you are so lovingly attended to, how could you feel disconnected during an interlude? When you are remembered and thought of, it makes you want to return the favor. Using smaller building blocks to erect a solid relationship base ensures your coupledom has a greater chance of resiliency and yield when the larger tragedies of life swoop down upon you. Building in this manner also ratchets up the percentage that your sex life will stay…excuse the pun…bangin’. When you take a moment to audit your relationship, recenter and refocus on the both of you. Address the questions whose answers may provide an avenue to intense intimacy. Slow down on hustling it onto the mattress, the counter, the stairwell, you crazy, sensual fool! Sex is a tool to take you to depths you wish to go together, a way to reconnect, listen and reprioritize, even if it’s not sex at all. Sex is a precious secret the two of you share. As a gatekeeper, you should know why it’s so sacred yet fragile. Trust me, when you put your relationship priorities on a pedestal the sex will…ahem…come.

Original article appeared at The Good Men ProjectReprinted with permission.

Photo: Flickr/Harumi Ueda

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