Managing Sex and Intimacy in a Long distance Relationship

Managing Sex and Intimacy in a Long-distance Relationship

Nurturing sex and intimacy in a long-distance marriage demands a thoughtful strategy. 

As couples confront the challenges brought by physical separation, proactive measures and careful considerations become paramount.

In this article, I share from an interview where I spoke about the intricacies of navigating sex and intimacy in long-distance relationships. 

From mental preparation to handling virtual intimacy and reigniting connection, these insights aim to provide valuable guidance for couples navigating the complexities of distance in their relationship.

Question: How can couples mentally start preparing for intimacy while planning to be separated due to relocation?

Mental preparation for intimacy during a period of separation shouldn’t start when you get your visa; it should be a discussion that begins the moment the couple starts to deliberate on relocation. Couples need to address tough questions about how their relationship will function during the time apart, especially if it’s their first experience with separation.

If they struggle to connect while living together, it raises concerns about maintaining intimacy while separated. It’s crucial to assess the current state of the relationship — prioritizing quality time together, bonding emotionally, and nurturing their connection. Starting these conversations early helps to build a foundation for sustaining intimacy even when apart. 

For those who already share these habits, discussing how to manage time differences and maintain their routines while apart becomes essential.

The key is to establish these practices before the actual move, ensuring a smoother transition and the continuation of the bond they’ve cultivated. In essence, the critical conversations should start well before the visa is obtained, shaping the groundwork for a resilient relationship during separation.

Question: What about couples that want to relocate, and are not connecting in their relationship currently? Should they put their relocation plans on hold?

Couples contemplating relocation often do so for various reasons, typically seeking a better life. It’s uncommon for individuals to halt such plans solely due to intimacy concerns, given the substantial effort invested. Instead, couples might decide to seek coaching or address issues independently, acknowledging that maintaining intimacy during relocation won’t be easy. 

The key question becomes: Is our marriage important enough for both of us to commit? The focus shifts from individual efforts to the collective commitment needed for a thriving relationship. Being realistic is crucial; if weekly dates weren’t part of the routine, expecting an abrupt shift is unrealistic. 

In situations where decisions must be made swiftly, starting with small commitments is more achievable. Having realistic expectations and taking small but consistent steps, can help the couple build intimacy. 

It’s unlikely that couples who are committed to relocating will pause or abandon relocation plans due to intimacy challenges. However, they can start from where they are and gradually build on that together. 

Question: As a Sex Coach, what is one of the primary reasons couples neglect intimacy or find it challenging to commit to building intimacy?

A significant factor is the demanding nature of work. In the hustle to earn a living, individuals invest substantial time at work, often extending into evenings. This is particularly pronounced in locations like Lagos Nigeria, where work is coupled with lengthy commutes due to traffic. The exhaustion from work leaves people seeking personal downtime for relaxation, often turning to digital distractions like phones, movies, or games. 

The prevalence of digital devices, designed to sustain user engagement, has led to increased screen time, sometimes overshadowing time spent with partners. The allure of digital distractions, such as content recommended by algorithms, contributes to this because they are designed to keep you engaged. 

Additionally, couples with children face the challenge of balancing work, parenting, and maintaining their relationship. Children are blessings from God but I also think that they have their place. I cannot overemphasize the place of order in your life as a human being. A friend of mine shared how she plans her daily life to allow for intimacy. Her kids go to bed by 8:00 pm and she and her husband have time afterward to connect. 

That serves a dual purpose of creating order in your children’s lives, while also allowing time for you and your partner to bond and connect as a couple.

Establishing order, schedules and time is crucial in navigating the busy life of couples.

Question: How can couples navigate sexual intimacy, particularly addressing sexual desire, when separated due to long-distance travel, different time zones, and cultural challenges?

When it comes to dealing with ‘Konji’, if you are a Nigerian, you know what ‘Konji’ is but if you are not, ‘Konji’ means sexual desire.

When it comes to dealing with Konji, couples need to be pragmatic and true to their values. In the first place, sexual desire is normal and natural. It is also expected that couples will experience sexual desire even when separated.

Addressing Sexual Intimacy challenges during prolonged separations involves open communication and utilizing the power of agreement. The power of agreement emphasizes openly talking about desires and preferences to avoid secrecy, guilt, or shame that can negatively impact a couple’s sex life. 

Some couples choose celibacy during the separation, agreeing to abstain from sexual activity totally, while others opt for other forms of sex such as phone sex, video sex, or the use of toys. 

I have seen cases where husbands buy toys for their wives. And I’ve also seen cases where the wife decides to buy a toy for her husband. They both agree to use toys as a means of sexual relief. And because these discussions are had, there is no shame, no hiding, and both partners give each other permission to use the toys as needed in a bid to avoid extramarital affairs.

The key is to find an approach that both parties are comfortable with. And to ensure that conversations about sex are an integral part of the relationship, thereby fostering understanding. This transparent dialogue is crucial for maintaining a healthy and satisfying sex life, even during periods of physical separation.

Question: How should couples handle the situation where one partner is open to virtual sexual intimacy while the other is reluctant due to various reasons, often unspoken until problems arise later?

So here is what I believe, when people say No, No is an objection. Rather than accepting a “No” at face value, it’s crucial to understand the objection and engage in open communication. By exploring the reasons behind the reluctance, couples can identify potential solutions or alternative approaches that address concerns. 

For instance, if a partner is uncomfortable with video sex due to privacy fears, the discussion can shift to non-recorded options like phone sex. The key is to redefine objections and find a path of less resistance, fostering understanding and compromise rather than dismissing the issue outright. This approach allows couples to navigate potential challenges related to sex more effectively and maintain a healthy connection during periods of physical separation.

Question: Could you please explain how couples who choose to be celibate while apart can manage temptation? 

First of all, I feel even if you are not having sex, you should still be able to talk about it. Couples should feel comfortable discussing desires, acknowledging changes, and maintaining a sense of humor about the situation. 

Conversations like, ‘ I know we said we are going to be celibate, but babe I’m horny’. Couples should be able to talk about sex and not shy away simply because they agreed to be celibate.

Flexibility is crucial, and people can adjust their decisions based on evolving circumstances. If for instance, a planned 6 month separation becomes a 6 year separation, flexibility is important. Reviewing the initial agreement may be up for addressing.

Besides talking, distraction becomes a key strategy for managing temptation during celibacy. Engaging in exercises, developing hobbies, or pursuing self-development are some ways individuals redirect their focus during this time. 

Question: What will you say to the person who explores virtual sex with their partner but is still exposed to temptations around them?

There are two scenarios or two ways when you look at this. Scenario 1 is a partner who has always opened themselves up to temptation even when not separated.

The second is a scenario where absence has intensified sexual desire, and the person feels like an active sex volcano ready to erupt at the slightest touch. 

In the second scenario, it’s crucial to recognize personal limitations and weaknesses. Define clear boundaries to avoid triggering situations. If necessary, establish rules like avoiding physical contact with the opposite sex. Communication with your partner about how you feel is essential; ensure your boundaries align with you and your partner’s mutual commitment to fidelity. 

You have to put those boundaries in place if your marriage Is important to you.

In a situation where the person has always been like that, little can be done. 

However, when the separation sparks challenges like these, actively defining boundaries, and communicating openly with your partner can be helpful.

Question: What are some factors that could cause a couple to get a bit cold when it comes to their intimacy and sexual life too? Cold could mean not exploring any style. 

The dynamics of single and married life differ significantly. 

In marriage, living together daily with increased responsibilities can impact sex, which now happens in the context of the overall relationship. And because emotions are highly involved, the state of your relationship is likely to affect what happens in the bedroom. 

If somebody is not happy, it will likely affect the bedroom.

Unlike singlehood, where a fight can be resolved through sex, long-term marriage requires a different strategy. How many recurring problems will you fix with sex? 

What does that mean for married couples? It means that you have to take responsibility for your sex life and your relationship. What makes this person want to be intimate with me? What makes this person feel good? What are the things that make me feel good and happy?

There is both the place of self-understanding and understanding your partner, and what makes the relationship work. Taking joint responsibility for your sex life and your relationship is important if a couple is to keep enjoying great sex together.

Couples should also explore new things, foster creativity, have sex frequently, and introduce variety to avoid monotony.

Question: What advice do you have for couples who want to relocate but are not in a rush to? What should they start doing now?

The couple should discuss their relocation plans, considering not just the financial aspects but also the impact on their marriage and relationship. Honest conversations about maintaining intimacy and handling desires when apart are crucial

Use the preparation time to evaluate the relationship, identifying strengths and areas of improvement. Consider it an opportunity to build friendship and intimacy. Even when separated, view it as a chance to rejuvenate your connection. 

Carve out time for relationship-focused activities, such as playing games, discussing, or incorporating rituals like praying together, daily couple time, etc. Both partners need commitment and active involvement to make the long-distance relationship work. Prioritize your relationship as you prepare for the upcoming changes, knowing that flexibility and ongoing effort will be key when the reality unfolds.

To sum up, when individuals in a long-distance relationship or marriage reunite, there’s a misconception that everything will instantly fall into place. Please understand and allow for what I call the transition phase. Whether the couple like it or not, time apart creates a level of independence, where you can function without the other person. 

The transition phase is when couples readjust to living together again. During this period, they both need to realign. This transition phase doesn’t imply that there is a problem in the marriage, but is a normal part of blending and coming together again. 

It is a normal part of readjusting mentally to the new phase of rejoining your life as a couple.

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