| There are times in every relationship when sex takes a backseat. During these “dry” periods we need to respect our mate when told, “No honey, not tonight.” To make our partner feel badly about not giving into sex builds resentments and kills intimacy. Kids, job pressures, illness and stress can bring the sex drive to a screeching halt. If we are concerned over a lack of sexual activity, it’s also our responsibility to speak up.
When we are uncomfortable participating in particular sexual acts, it’s our responsibility to say “no”. If there is sexual difficulty, dysfunction, affairs, cyber-sex or pornography addiction in a relationship, it’s important for both partners to seek help with a good therapist, a clergy person, support group, or in some cases, intensive treatment. With outside help, couples can slowly begin rebuilding the relationship. At times, it may be necessary to abstain from sexual activity altogether for a period of time, so that true intimacy can be developed between the partners.
Learning how to be friends again can be an important part of the healing process. Trust has been lost and healthy communication is gone by the time most couples realize that the relationship is in trouble. Trying to be sexual with a partner we are upset with - when we don’t want to be, damages intimacy. Setting up sexual boundaries, rebuilding communication and trust provides the foundation for a healthy relationship. Initially it may appear that there is more disagreement going on than before and that things are getting worse. In reality this is a healthy sign because during this time issues are being resolved and boundaries are being set. Boundary building involves trial and error and conflict. It also indicates that both partners are taking care of themselves. Eventually the conflict levels out as a new and exciting relationship based on healthy intimacy emerges - including healthy sexual intimacy.