Find the time to work on intimacy before Valentine's Day
WITH Valentine's Day looming ever larger on the horizon, Coast intimacy coach Pauline Ryeland says it is a good time for couples to work on tightening their bonds.
The certified Tantra teacher, sex coach and educator said a recent survey she had found showed there were more than 1.7 million Australian men and women in sexless marriages.
Coupling that figure with the high divorce rate, Ms Ryeland said it was important that couples learnt to shut down if they want to get down.
Technology, kids, work and a plethora of other commitments eating away at the time dedicated to one another was one of the key catalysts for a decline in intimacy in couples, she said.
As time together slipped away, so too did the ability to communicate with each other properly, driving distance between couples.
Ms Ryeland, who works with both individuals and couples, believes there are key strategies that can help people reconnect with their significant others.
"I think a lot of it is people just don't know how to talk about it (their intimacy needs)," she said.
"A lot of it is our cultural upbringing. It (sex) is taboo on so many levels.
"(After time) a little bit of the practicality sets in too. Sleep becomes a priority. Life does get in the way."
The key to maintaining or rebuilding a connection, Ms Ryeland said, was to sit down and work out shared goals, as well as undergo "relationship audits", to check in with each other and try to create "intimacy windows" in busy schedules.
"You need to sit down and prioritise," she said.
Whether it was sitting down at the table instead of in front of the TV, or turning off the smartphone in the bedroom, Pauline said there were many ways to tighten bonds, despite the limits of what many couples believed was possible.
Another inside tip from Ms Ryeland was for couples to seek help before things went awry.
Plenty of couples who were travelling along fine and seemingly had no issues often came to her to try to deepen their bond - a strategy she said was often just as beneficial as repair work for struggling couples.
As for whether the Coast, with its relaxed lifestyle, is faring any better than our bigger city neighbours, Ms Ryeland believes there is no discrimination when it comes to relationship struggles.
"It's a universal problem everywhere," she said.
"I've had 18-year-olds, people in their mid-20s.
"It's people of all ages, couples and individuals. Libido is a universal problem."
Having at one stage considered becoming a business coach, Ms Ryeland said she could not imagine doing anything else than her current work.
She said it was hugely rewarding to help people rediscover the reasons they fell in love with their partner.
To get in contact with Ms Ryeland, email pauline@ paulineryeland.com
How to reignite the fire?
- Acknowledge one another. It's easy to take each other for granted. Show appreciation for the mundane.
- Put the technology away! Be attentive when talking, especially when the topics are important. Sit opposite one another making eye contact.
- Find common interests.
- Practice being fully present. Sit with each other in silence, looking left eye to left eye. This is a tantric practice that brings about deeper intimacy and connection.
- Schedule a regular date night.
- Bring the flirting back. Send each other fun messages during the day. It's a great prelude to date night.
- Let go of the outcome. Bring play and exploration into having sex. It's a journey not a destination.