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Intimacy Decline

Community Member

My partner and I have been together for 2 years now. We have been through many ups and downs but have always came out strong standing side by side.

Lately things have been rockier than usual and I have been so stuck at how to fix things or how to feel. We currently run a business together and things had been quite slow and then coronavirus hit and things got really tough due to all the pressure and stress of the business, intimacy declined rapidly between us. We haven’t had sex in 5 months and other displays of intimacy like little hugs and kisses have stopped.

Ive tried speaking to him about this as I was concerned and he insists it is stress but every time I try to rationally talk about it or try to be intimate we end up fighting and I end up really upset. I really want to help him and talking is not helping, I’ve tried to give him some space to but things haven’t improved greatly if not they have gotten worse.

How can I make us feel great again even if he is not ready to be intimate and how can I approach things better?

4 Replies 4

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Zay,

Welcome to the forums! I'm glad that you came to share some of what you're struggling with, and sorry to hear about your current relationship troubles.

It's no surprise that the compounded stress of this pandemic, and the economic havoc it has caused, has put a strain on your relationship. I imagine many thousands of couples around the world are experiencing similar things. That said, it seems to me that what's going on here wasn't exactly caused by Covid (especially since you say it's been 5 months), but Covid certainly didn't help.

There are many, many possible reasons why intimacy in a relationship declines or stops fairly suddenly, and it's possible that the reasons aren't even really clear to your partner. Do you think you and he might be open to talking about this with a counsellor, either together or separately?

In the meantime, I think there are other gestures of intimacy that are even smaller (holding hands, arm touching, sitting close on the couch when watching something) that don't carry the same weight (and maybe anxiety) as something like sex, but that still work to reinforce to both of you that you care for one another and enjoy one another's company.

If even these small gestures are rejected by your partner, then I think it's appropriate to have a calm, but serious conversation about what the underlying problem might be. You say that in the past you've attempted these conversations and they've ended in fighting and arguing. Can I ask what happens during the course of them that leads them in this direction? It sounds like you are approaching him in good faith and with genuine concern.

It won't be news to you that relationships take a lot of work, including dealing with unexpected and sometimes upsetting changes as they occur. I think you would both benefit from a bit of clarity as to what's driving this, whether that comes from talking together or with a third party.



Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Zay

I really feel for you as you face the challenge of rekindling parts of your relationship.

Definitely hard to feel happily excited when we're stressed and it sounds like there is quite a bit of stress from his side, from what you've mentioned. As a lot of thoughts and stressors remain in the forefront, the excitement that once existed in our relationship can naturally shift to the back burner.

Wondering what your partner's reaction would be if you suddenly approached him saying 'I have a new project but I'm going to have to get your okay on it. I am going to relax you to life. I'm going to work on ways to get the tension out of your mind and body. As far as the sex thing goes, don't worry. If that works it's way into the project at some stage, I'm happy to go with the flow. For now, my goal is to relax you out of what's brings you down. We're going to manage this together. All you have to do is experience relaxation and that's all'. Personally, I'd take that deal any day. Maybe you've already tried this approach and he's refused. I recall saying to my husband, when all this virus business started, and he was behaving like an out of control maniac 'Stress alone serves no purpose. Don't bring me stress unless you want me to help you manage the challenge you're facing. I'm happy to help but don't simply bring me stress with no intention of managing it'.

You could try experimenting with music. Personally, I love Sam Cooke (an oldie but a goodie), The Teskey Brothers (love the song 'Rain') and any other soulful music. Play it in the lounge room, with the lights down low and just stand there swaying in each other's arms. Close your eyes and don't think about the experience, just feel it. Ramp up the volume to increase the sensations. Nothing quite like relaxing and feeling the energy in motion (emotion) run throughout our body .

Investing in some good quality aromatherapy oils could prove to be a good investment. Massage is an absolute ripper for creating a balance of relaxation and excitement. Excitement relates strongly to our sensory experiences. The smell of the oil, the sense of touch, the sound of calm music and so on sweeps us into the present moment of fully experiencing life run through us. It can take us out of the regrets of the past and the stress of the future.

Sounds a bit weird, relaxing someone to life, but sometimes that's how we tick.

Have fun experimenting if your project gets the okay. It may create a whole new type of connection.


Community Member
HI zay
im new to the world of forums. This post caught my eye as me and my long term boyfriend are having Similar issues. I suffer with Severe depression and anxiety. I lack motivation for the little things... Sex is hardest but the Small intimate are the best place to start. I try to end every day on a positive, when we get into bed l ask him to tell me one good thing about the day. and he will ask me the same... some days it's hard to think of something but even the smallest things Count such as, "there was no line at the coffee shop this morning "
This tends to start a Conversation and we always go to bed with a good thought

I hope this helps,


Hi Kpaps,

Welcome to the forum! That's a lovely suggestion, and a practical answer to the age-old (and, I think sound) piece of relationship advice: never go to bed angry.

How are you going with everything? If you and your partner live together, presumably you have spent a lot more time at home together over the past few months.