Can Lack of Intimacy Ruin a Marriage?

Jupiterimages, Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Intimate encounters are important in meaningful and loving relationships. They increase feelings of reassurance and security and help individuals form emotional and physical attachments. A lack of intimacy isn’t uncommon in ongoing relationships, including marriages, but it can be unhealthy in any relationship, as intimacy facilitates and secures the connections we have with each other.

Understanding Intimacy

You can't pigeonhole intimacy into one aspect of human relationships. In fact, the University of Florida Counseling & Wellness Center website indicates that there are four different types of intimacy: intellectual, which involves exchanging thoughts, experiential, which involves sharing activities, as well as emotional and sexual intimacy. Each of these types plays a part in developing a meaningful and loving relationship. However, in romantic relationships, it is the physical and emotional aspects of intimacy that are typically the most important in establishing a deep and lasting connection.

Sexual and Emotional Intimacy

Sexual intimacy is any intimacy that is physical and sensuous in nature, such as touching, kissing, and engaging in sex. Emotional intimacy is intimacy that stems from sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other. It’s important that you understand where the intimacy is lacking in your relationship. The different types of intimacy are closely interlinked and quite often more than one aspect is lacking. It is likely that you and your partner will need to work on all areas of intimacy to fully reinforce your connection and bond with each other.

Biological Underpinnings

There are biological reasons why a lack of intimacy can cause issues in a relationship. Oxytocin, dubbed as the “love hormone,” plays a great role in pair bonding, as noted on the Psychology Today website. Its release is increased through acts such as kissing and hugging, as well as during close emotional encounters. Therefore, a lack of intimacy in a relationship can hinder the ability to bond and feel attached to your partner.

Restoring Intimacy

To stop intimacy from fading in your relationship, it’s essential that you both make the effort to be intimate with each other. This can be as simple as having a “date night” each week, where you take an evening to dedicate your time and attention to each other. Even just giving your partner a gentle kiss and a hug on a regular basis will help maintain intimacy between you. Don’t be afraid to be open and talk with each other about being more intimate. Making small efforts to restore intimacy in your relationship will help you both sustain a healthy, loving, and caring bond with each other.