Sexual Intimacy

Research shows that sexual health is an important component of a satisfying relationship.

SEXUAL intimacy is the measure of connectness and closeness between partners.

Physical and emotional challenges to intimacy present themselves at every age and stage of the long-term romantic relationship. Individuals may experience sexual loss through physical limitations, a history of sexual abuse, as well as emotional disconnectness.  While these losses significantly impact enjoyment and togetherness, many couples find effective solutions by prioritizing intimacy and seeking professional help together.  In fact, research shows that couples who work together on their sexual challenges report higher levels of overall intimacy and satisfaction.

Many couples communicate a desire for more sexual intimacy.  Interestingly, research shows that emotional intimacy is the key to great sex!

In a recent study on long-term relationships, feelings of emotional intimacy increased sexual desire and activity. More passion and playfulness during sex was enhanced by togetherness and emotional connectness. So, emotional intimacy fuels great sex and serves to buffer daily stress and enhance well-being for both partners!

For many men, erectile dysfunction is the rate-limiting-step to experiencing sexual intimacy.

Erections are not just about “having sex” for many men– healthy sexual responsiveness contributes to a sense of wholeness, confidence, and masculinity.  Men with ED often experience embarrassment and shame from inability to pursue their loved one.  Women may feel that they are to blame and men may respond with withdrawal—couples may even begin to avoid holding hands and snuggling. Sexual dissatisfaction in a relationship can contribute to depression and anxiety for a man and can lead to isolation and hopelessness for the couple.

By addressing physical limitations and rekindling emotional bonds,couples can rediscover intimacy.

Resources: Rediscovering Intimacy and Togetherness

“One of my areas of focus is restoring sexual health for men and couples. We know that this is important not only for personal enjoyment, but for the impact on wellness, preventing depression, and enhancing a couples’ relational health. Research shows that couples who work together on their sexual challenges report higher levels of overall intimacy. When couples are able to leverage their mutual respect and care for one another, they can approach sexual challenges with insight and hope.”


The Marriage Podcast for Smart People

  • “Emotional Intimacy is the Key to Great Sex” (Jan 2017)
  • “How to Keep the Romance Alive in Your Marriage” (Jul 2019)
  • “Why You May Be Experiencing Pain During Sex” (Jan 2020)

The Allender Center Podcast

  • “What Women Wish Men Knew About Sexuality” (Jan 2020)
  • “What Men Wish Women Knew About Sexuality” (Oct 2019)
  • “Sexual Brokenness and Healing Part 1-3” (Sept-Oct 2018)

Sexy Marriage Radio

  • “One Sided Sex in Marriage” (Jul 2019)
  • “The Challenge of Intimacy” (Sept 2019)
  • “The Lower Desire Wife” (Oct 2019)


  • Passionate Marriage: Sex, Love, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships – David Schnarch, PhD
  • Intimacy with Impotence – Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz
  • Saving Your Sex Life: A Guide for Men with Prostate Cancer – John P. Mulhall, MD


  • – conversation starters around sexual intimacy
  •  – online courses on Desire & Female Sexuality, Couples Sexuality, and Couples Relationship Course

Sexual and Marriage Counselors