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  • Writer's pictureWayne

Maintaining the warmth in an Intimate Relationship

Intimacy can be an area that many people have trepidation venturing into, so it is important to address the subject in an open and understanding fashion. Like most things the issues it raises can be complex and intrinsically unobvious. The temptation to generalize needs to be

resisted for variety is the only universal characteristic of sexuality.  What makes you attracted to a person at one stage in your life and not at another, what makes you enjoy one aspect of intimacy and then not, are feelings that we have all had to question in our lives. We are all moveable feasts, our feelings change, we develop. Little stays the same. 

When issues arise how you deal with it can make the whole situation worse if not handled

well, regarding affection in a relationship what you are telling yourself, the pressure you put

yourself under can be bigger than the original problem itself.  It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling there is something wrong with you, that you are somehow ‘broken.’ It would be a better policy to give yourself a degree of cognitive dissonance, big yourself up, make notes of all the things you like about yourself and be more aware of all the good stuff that is going on in your life. 

Let your partner know what is worrying you, showing a judgement-free way of thinking,

perhaps using metaphor to ease the responsibility for what is happening. That way the pair

of you can talk more freely without the feeling of being blamed or pressurized into thinking

you are doing something wrong.  Response depends as much on context as on the workings of your brain. It is a very individual process for peoples sensitivity to stimulations and to inhibitors will vary. You can only create the best possible environment that works for you, that avoids the stresses that make your brain interpret everything as a potential threat. 

What turns us on or off is learned from our own personal culture for little is innate, our

brain learns to associate stimuli with excitement or inhibition. We must ensure we control

the context rather than it controls us. This does not have to be overly complex if we can

reduce the stress that we often create for ourselves.  

Taking away the performance pressure needs to happen, when the context changes the

perception of the sensation can be different. Strategies to do this will sound simple but take

time to be a success, patience is required. People can feel safe in their old thoughts and

concepts no matter how unhelpful they realize they can be. They become old friends that

you do not want to say goodbye to but letting go of them sometimes must be done. 

This can be about trust, do you trust yourself at this moment, or do you want to keep it

imprisoned by negative thoughts?  It is as though there is a system at work throughout your

body in which brakes can be triggered to inhibit you. If threats are perceived whether at the

time or inherited from past events signals can be sent to turn yourself off or more

immediately a brake can be initiated by a fear of performance failure. 

We need to be aware of the associated worries and anxieties and the effects these stressors

will have and find ways to separate from them. Stress is of course not a new phenomenon;

it has been preparing us for perceived threats since evolutionary times. We need to give

ourselves time and space to discover strategies that suit us to discharge it. There are many

options to creating the right context to do this whether by physical activity, better sleep

patterns, mindfulness, more and better kindness to yourself as well as your partner,

creativity in the arts, keeping journals of your thoughts or simply having a cry. 

Past trauma can take control away from a person and intimate life, with the survival

mechanism kicking in to such an extent that the brain decides you cannot escape this

stressor often described as ‘the body keeping the score;. Processing the meaning that has

been created around it, challenging these belief patterns can help in the form of a top-down

approach. As a culture we are often made to feel that we cannot trust our bodies but this

feeling of being ‘stuck’ can change if we treat ourselves with warmth, kindness, and


When we realize that stress has been hitting our emotional brakes accept what is

happening, look for ways to change the environment around you and see what happens.

Our culture seems determined to criticize and find fault with anything, but we do not have

to play that game with ourselves. Replace this with self-kindness, if you stop beating

yourself up you will heal. Otherwise, the constant reinforcement of negative messages will

become imbedded in your response to stimulation. Whereas affectionate attention, giving

yourself a constant stream of reminders that you are amazing can help to energize your

desire with pleasure being the key to unlock it. 

By focusing on simply having pleasure, keeping things low key with zero expectation the

pressure and consequent stress can be taken away. Whether you stoke your own fire or do

it together passion does not happen automatically, it will need a degree of control of the

context. So, disrupt the problem, take away the pressure and avoid feeling there is

something wrong with you. The solution is based on attitude not behavior, think along the

terms that any emotional issue does not want to hang around any longer than you want it

to, they are itinerant travellers who need to pass on.

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