Sexual intimacy is an integral part of marital bliss. It strengthens the connection between couples. However, when it dwindles, it affects marriages negatively causing divorce and separation.

Research has shown that sexual intimacy begins from the way partners relate with each other and couples who are good friends have greater marital satisfaction.

Meanwhile, several daily simple gestures help to foster physical intimacy which translates to sexual attraction. Couples need to understand themselves and create an atmosphere for the bonding to occur.

In her view on the issue, a bank worker, Mrs Funke Medeludo, said activities surrounding the home, made couples lose sexual feelings quickly. She said that misunderstanding, lack of communication, job and career stress, and caring for kids could shift the couple’s attention from each other.

She added that dissatisfaction with one’s partner’s sexual performance, baby arrival or when trying to conceive could contribute to the decrease in sexual connection.

“Lack of communication and misunderstanding is a big issue. It could create a large gap that will affect the connection. Before I got pregnant, I wasn’t interested in lovemaking anymore because it was becoming mechanical and there was no result. When the baby came, I started showering love on my child. Later, through counselling, I learnt to adjust and create time for my husband even when I’m busy,” she stated.

She noted that couples must try to balance other aspects of their lives so that it doesn’t affect the sexual aspect and deny them sexual duties which could sever the marriage. She further said it was vital to seek counselling to resolve certain marital issues.

Medeludo said, “Reuniting feelings is not far-fetched, it’s in the little things we do. Couples should learn to adjust in areas affecting their marriage. Communicate often and try to balance things to prevent infidelity.”

On her part, a businesswoman and mother, Mrs Ruth Kolawole, said that the issue of sexual intimacy cannot be overemphasised in marriage because of its ability to destroy the union if not well managed.

She noted that the inability to appropriately study one’s partner or when partners stop expressing certain gestures and care for each other could reduce sexual feelings.

Kolawole said, “I make sure I study my husband and know what he likes. When I do what satisfies him, it makes him more attracted to me. Being too busy or giving excuses to your partner will make them begin to lose interest. Lovemaking is an integral part of marriage and it’s meant to be enjoyed but when partners let other things take the time for it, it causes the marriage to develop hitches here and there.”

The businesswoman stated that couples should always create time to communicate, study, understand themselves, and learn lovemaking to foster the nuptial bond. She added that one’s partner should be a top priority to seal any loophole or external attractions.

“Couples must create time for themselves and understand each other. This is so that when one partner is unavailable, there will be adequate communication and knowledge of the situation. Childhood traumas could also affect couples’ sex life; they must discuss it and seek therapy/counselling to deal with such issues,” she added.

A civil servant, Mr Fafowora Olasoji, said that when he noticed a disconnection from his wife, he studied her mood and tried to communicate with her especially when stressed or worried about something.

He said what causes a disconnection between couples most times is when there is an imbalance in the home (especially financially), a physical distance, or stress adding, “When there’s a lot of external pressure from work, financial obligations, children and so on, one wouldn’t be thinking about sex. What I do in this situation is to just be there for my wife, communicate with her and get her into the happy place where she gets the sensual connection and is willing to get warmth in my embrace.”

He stated that with appropriate communication, sexual intimacy wouldn’t be an issue.

Commenting on the issue, a sex therapist, Mabel Onwuemele, stated that sex was an emotion thought from the mind before reflecting on the genitals, adding that without the emotional and sexual connection, couples would be unable to bond well.

During lovemaking, she said a hormone called oxytocin (happy hormone) is released, making the couples feel the connection that, when absent, creates a void.

She noted, “When couples stop doing the little things like buying gifts for themselves or communicating, it creates a sort of disconnection. Don’t stop doing the little things that made your partner fall in love with you. Focus on each other’s strengths. Loving someone means you’ll have to adjust and adapt to whom they are and live in understanding with them. This will make the home a much happier place, and make the couple feel more fulfilled. What burns down the home are little things neglected.

“Little gestures like telling your partner ‘I love you,’ how they mean to you, or appreciating them goes a long way in building that strong connection between you both and firing the sexual attraction you have for each other.”

Talking about what could cause a decline in sexual feelings among couples, a sex therapist, Earl Alright, identified stress from all angles (daily routine at work and parenting), children or spouse’s ill health, poor finances/debts, physical changes, and poor hygiene of one partner.

This, he said, could make them lose physical attraction and invariably sexual attraction to each other.

On the solution, the sex therapist advised couples to be deliberate about spending more time with each other and doing things together, stating, “Partners should hold hands as much as possible, eat and watch TV together, discuss issues, exchange big kisses and hugs for at least 15 seconds. Couples should get into the act of fondling sensitive parts of the body and massaging each other, reduce the amount of clothing worn to bed and if possible, change the kind of nighties they wear to ignite a fresh spark in the brain of their partner.”

He noted that when partners communicate the issues responsible for sexual disconnection, it would help them adjust appropriately. He advised couples that after building friendship and intimacy, sexual attraction would fall into place.

Alright advised, “Communicate more often at least three times a day, find topics that you both can talk about, and discuss your sexual fantasies. You can decide to learn something new with your partner or share some gist you have for them via WhatsApp or any other social media platform while at work. Spend time with your partner as much as possible and make sure you have bodily contact with your spouse. You could also change the setting of your bedroom or the bulb. Just do new things that will spark new activities in the brain, they are great ways that can help.”

Besides, a relationship/family counsellor, David Ovie, noted that a breakdown in communication created the channels for more issues to arise which ultimately leads to sexual disconnection, adding that feelings start dying without communication.

He stated that stress and emotional issues caused by financial instability or pressure from work, taking wrong advice, etc. were some of the reasons why couples lose sexual feelings.

Ovie said, “Imagine someone who has undergone stress repeatedly during the week, they wouldn’t give sex a single thought. In fact, it will become a secondary activity in the home. I will advise couples to help their partner who is stressed through the process of relieving stress.”

The relationship counsellor further said that when partners begin to lose sexual feelings, an understanding partner should discuss issues affecting them and not begin to suspect infidelity.

He said, “Though infidelity is one of the reasons some partners lose interest in their spouse, accusing your partner of infidelity when they start losing sexual touch is wrong. It will rather kill the drive more and may cause the marriage to break apart.

“Rather than fight your partner, you should sit and have a conversation about it. Ask questions and discuss the issue causing the loss of interest. It will help you both to get to the root of it and deal with it squarely.”