Sustained intimacy in relationships doesn’t just happen.
In order to maintain a thriving, interesting, loving connection, communication in the relationship is critical.
It helps ensure intimacy. It leads to a more fulfilling relationship. And it helps you to keep wanting to jump each other’s bones—even after years together.
In this article, you’ll learn three reasons why communication is crucial to maintaining intimacy, be it in your marriage or your relationship.
In the beginning, it’s always easy.
In the beginning of relationships, intimacy is kind of a given.
Little thought is put into creating it, it just sort of happens. There always seems to be time to enjoy a cuddle on the sofa, to prepare a meal together, time to share a bottle of wine, time to have sex. Lots of it.
Falling in love is one of the most intimate experiences.
But when the passion dwindles, which it does for most of us around six months to two-and-half years into the relationship, intimacy can turn into a hard project—a project that we have no time or energy for.
All of a sudden, it’s like intimacy can only be achieved by going to fancy restaurants, booking ourselves into a spa facility, or going on a trip to Paris. But intimacy doesn’t actually need to be fancy or expensive. There’s a much simpler solution right in the back of your pocket: communication.
What Happens When we Don’t Communicate
1. Sexual desire diminishes when relationships stop growing.
When we keep the lines of communication in the relationship open, our relationship is privy to constant evolvement.
A relationship that changes and grows keeps us interested. The novelty we experience in an ever-changing relationship—be it sexual or nonsexual—is also great for our libido.
But a great sex life isn’t only dependent on novelty between the sheets. It also needs extra heat which is, in part, created by our spouse or partner being interesting and intriguing to us in other areas of life.
You might be thinking, “But I like my relationship exactly the way it is!” And maybe you do today. Maybe you will tomorrow, or still for months to come. But when our relationships stop growing, they go boring and stale. They stop feeding our souls and tending to our needs. They stop revving up our sex drives and sex turns from a pleasurable activity to a duty.
Relationships that don’t evolve run the risk of losing all intimacy, which is why we need to put the work in to keep our connection alive.
2. Our Brain Thinks We’re Going to Die.
When communication in the relationship stops—we stop being intimate.
Intimacy is a crucial part of being human. Not just because it’s “nice” or makes us feel good. Our need for intimacy is rooted in our DNA. We thrive on it because intimacy is a part of love, and love is what all humans need.
Love was what made sure we were a part of the group way back when we lived on the savannah. If we weren’t loved and didn’t love, we ran the risk of being excluded from the group. And when we were left to be on our own, we were much likelier to die.
Nowadays in western society, love and intimacy might not be as crucial to our physical survival as it used to be. They are, however, still crucial to our mental health and well-being.
This is partly because a lack of intimacy can, on a subconscious level, be misconstrued as a sign that we’re excluded from the group. Effectively, our brains think we’re going to die, leading to worry, anxiety, and depression.
3. We’re Not Loved For Who We Truly Are.
When we don’t communicate with our partner or spouse, we don’t show our true colours. And when we hide certain parts of ourselves, we don’t get to experience being loved for our wholeness.
The only sides of ourselves that are showered with love and affection are the sides that we ourselves deem as “good.” The parts of us that we believe make us lovable. This leads to us keeping feelings and experiences to ourselves, causing our experience of love to be halved.
We distance ourselves from our partners, whether we want to be or not, and we lose the intimacy we once shared.
What Happens When we Communicate
Communication can be many things—a means to a boring end; like getting your partner to do the dishes, a way of establishing boundaries; like telling your spouse you need space, or put simply, a way of creating intimacy.
What Sexual Communication Is
Sex isn’t usually viewed as a way of keeping communication in the relationship alive. But the thing about sex is that it kind of is communication. Whether it be purely bodily communication or a mixture of the physical and conversational, having sex is letting one another know how much we enjoy them.
It’s telling our partner we find them beautiful, sensual, exciting, adorable—comforting.
But sexual communication isn’t just about the act of sex, it’s also about the conversation.
Talking about sex can be difficult. It can feel awkward and shameful, but if we’re willing to accept that it might not be the easiest conversation, it can turn into a wonderful moment of intimacy—especially the more often we do it.
By discussing our likes and dislikes, our wants, needs, and fantasies, we’re maintaining intimacy in our relationship.
If you find it tricky talking about sex, you’re definitely not alone. For tips and pointers on how to talk to your partner about sex, you can read this article on communication and relationships.
What Non-Sexual Communication Is
Communicating on a day-to-day basis is fundamental to our relationship.
When we communicate, we’re bonding with our partner. We’re sharing our thoughts, feelings, and needs. We’re letting them know about our fears and hopes, and—perhaps most importantly—we’re sharing sides of ourselves that we let few others see.
The parts we’re afraid others will find irritating. The parts we dislike. The parts we feel ashamed by.
When the lines of communication are open in our relationship, we’re constantly creating and sustaining intimacy, because communication is intimacy.
In order to keep our connection intimate throughout the good times and bad, we need to communicate, day in and day out. Sexually and non-sexually.
When we do this, we don’t run the risk of our brains thinking we’re going to die, our relationships going stale, or not being loved for who we truly are. By communicating, we create intimate moments and deep bonds.
And in the end, intimacy is what relationships are all about.