Relationships and intimacy are such a personal thing, as they should be. Some couples thrive off date nights, while others prefer spending quality time together at home. Some are still in the beginning stages of their relationship where everything is fresh, new and incredibly exciting, and there are others who may be in the early days of parenthood with little to no sleep, wondering if this is what the rest of their life will look like. Whatever stage you are in, in your relationship, chances are that there will be a time that your level of intimacy dwindles, where you feel miles and miles away from your partner despite sharing a bed with them and having coffee together in the morning. It’s totally normal, and I’m pretty confident that 90% of us have been in that situation.
I attended a talk with Tracy Ziman Jacobs, a relationship and intimacy coach towards the end of last year and it was such an eye opener. We were a small group of women and we really got down to the nitty gritty of intimacy and relationships, each speaking about our own struggles and challenges that we had or were currently facing. A few weeks after this, I had a one on one session with Tracy at her Bryanston based practice where we spoke about what the most common factors that affect people’s intimacy are, and compared different lubricants – to say it was an educational experience is an understatement!
This post has been a long time coming, when I mentioned that I was thinking about writing it I had such an overwhelming response from you all. I didn’t want it to become to long winded (because who has the time to read all of that) but it still needed to be useful so I asked Tracy to give me her top tips for getting back into the groove of things. I tried my best to touch on all of the topics that seemed to resonate the most with you and so without further ado, here is a bunch of advice from Tracy herself:
1. Schedule sex: as bizarre as that sounds, if a not having time is your reason for the lack of intimacy in your relationship, then you need to prioritise a portion of time a few times a week to be intimate with your partner. Tracy maintains that sex doesn’t always need to take up a huge amount of time, there is power in the quickie!
2. Let your current stresses bring you together as opposed to pushing you apart: when I ran my poll on Instagram stories a while ago, a good 70% of you said that financial stress was one of the biggest contributing factors to a lack of intimacy between you and your partner, and I can completely relate to that – financial stress can be absolutely crippling! It seems almost natural (to me at least) for this to drive a bit of a wedge between you and your partner but Tracy advises that instead of letting this happen, make a concerted effort to let this stress bring you together to problem solve as a team. She also suggests putting those stresses into a different box in your mind, separate from your relationship so that it doesn’t affect your intimacy.
3. Keep communication open: Tracy suggests having a night in, where you sit down together in a safe space (so most likely somewhere in your home) and talk about what you want in terms of intimacy in your relationship. Now this is something that had me trembling in my boots – it seems like such a scary concept! But I put on my big girl panties and did it, and trust me, it pays off!
4. Tips for post-natal: sex after a baby is a bit of a minefield – there is so much going on. Physically there can be sensitivity or scar tissue from traumatic labour that can still hurt even two years later. Tracy says that in this case, sensual foreplay is incredibly important, your whole (whooooole) body needs to relax. She also suggests that you ditch the KY Jelly and purchase a good lubricant, something that is silicone based. This makes the whole process a lot easier with a lot less friction, meaning less pain. You might even want to look into something like vaginal rejuvenation – to some it might sound ridiculous but a procedure like this can change your life and your relationship for the better. Emotionally, many women feel like they are on a bit of a roller coaster after they have a baby; those post-baby hormones make you feel slightly crazy and your self esteem can take quite a dip, you look so different! Sex is often the last thing on your mind, and although you shouldn’t force yourself into anything before you are ready, it is a good idea to slowly ease yourself back into things which brings me to the next point…
5. Get yourself into the mood: sometimes it feels like men just have to turn on a switch and they’re ready to go am I right? Generally it takes women a little bit longer. Tracy suggests starting to get yourself in the mood from early on in the day; read some erotica, wear your beautiful lingerie and send your partner some naughty texts.
6. Have fun with your live in lover: this was my favourite piece of advice that Tracy dished out because I know that so often I take for granted that I live with such an incredible man who absolutely adores me. Life can be testing and challenging, we could all use the little reminder to let our hair down and have fun with our partners.
Tracy was so incredibly easy to chat to and so full of practical advice and I would recommend her to anyone who needs to add a little bit of oomph to their love life.
I know that this isn’t my typical post but I think it’s something that we often don’t talk about and it can have such a huge effect on our lives. Is there something that I missed or something that you would like to read more about? Let me know in the comments or pop me an email, it’s so helpful to me to know what kind of content you want to read.