How Important Is Intimacy In Marriage?

Updated October 5, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Marriage can be a very satisfying experience when two people are on the same page. It can also be very difficult when you are having problems with your partner. You want to be able to make sure that your marriage is strong enough to stand the test of time. For your relationship to continue to flourish over the years, it's likely important that you are intimate with your partner regularly in many ways, like celebrating little holidays like "Share A Hug Day."

Does Marriage Really Need Intimacy To Survive?


Before we begin, it's important to know that the intimacy definition and sex definition aren't necessarily the same thing. Often, people wind up using these terms interchangeably, but this isn't quite accurate. It's possible to be intimate without being sexual. Conversely, you can have a great sexual relationship with your partner without being intimate.

Intimacy is about being open and comfortable with your partner, so you're not afraid to be vulnerable. When it comes to your marriage, the term "intimacy" is more about being close to your partner. Some people love each other deeply, but they still have trouble connecting on an intimate level. This may happen when one partner is afraid to let others be close to them. There are many reasons why couples may not experience intimacy together. With some effort, patience, and empathy, relationships can overcome this.

Three Important Elements Of Intimacy

There are many aspects to authentic intimacy, but the following are some of the most important. If you're struggling with intimacy in marriage, you can improve your relationship by focusing on these areas first.

  1. Feeling Comfortable Around Your Partner No Matter What

If you want to be truly intimate with your spouse, then you need to be able to feel comfortable around them. If you're afraid to be yourself, it may prevent you from deepening your connection. Most people are self-conscious about certain things. It's perfectly normal to be afraid of how others perceive you, but if your marriage is strong enough, you can wind up feeling incredibly comfortable around your spouse. A strong relationship should feel like a friendship, where you can be comfortable being yourself.

If one partner has trouble feeling comfortable around the other, then this issue likely needs to be addressed. For example, people with anxiety problems and body image issues will sometimes have difficulty being comfortable with their spouses. A spouse can help their partner by being encouraging and expressing their love clearly. A professional can also help this partner learn to feel more comfortable in general. It's easy to be yourself when you trust the other.

  1. Communication Matters

You want your marriage to feel like a true partnership. Therefore, it's important to be there for your partner for both the good days and the tumultuous times. When you have a healthy level of intimacy with your partner, it's easy to talk about these sensitive subjects. Although stereotypes suggest that only men have trouble communicating openly and honestly, this affects all genders. When we know that we can come home to kindness and acceptance after a long day, it makes all the difference.

Communication isn't always easy. There are times when one person in the relationship may feel like they can't communicate their feelings effectively. This is a common problem when two people with opposite personality types get married. If your partner is incredibly outgoing and boisterous, then your more subdued personality may have trouble keeping up from time to time. This can negatively impact intimacy and make you feel like you're always a few steps behind your spouse.

In this situation, the spouse with a more outgoing personality needs to be understanding and try to meet their partner's energy level. Learning to communicate and considering your partner's comfort is a part of becoming more intimately connected. Some people need to seek out professional advice to learn how to communicate effectively, but it's something you can improve over time.

Many factors can affect communication, from mood to how your day went. But it's important to be able to talk about anything, from your email inbox to your dreams for the future. With proper communication, you can express your own opinions, share your excitement, and speak with honesty. In the early stage of a relationship, it can be hard to develop strong communication skills, but it's worth the work.

  1. Sex Is Also Important

Now that we have established that intimacy is about more than sex, we can address the elephant in the room. Yes, sex can be important when it comes to cultivating a healthy marriage-it depending on what's important to each person. You don't want your entire relationship to be predicated on sex, but it can help you to connect and deepen your bond with your spouse. Unsurprisingly, regular sex can help you feel happier and is an excellent way to show affection.

Healthy sex life can do wonders for a marriage. In most cases, having regular sex and continuing to please one another will lead to a better overall relationship. When both people in a marriage are sexually and emotionally satisfied, everything else tends to fall into place. Taking care of the kids, for example, seems a lot easier when you have special time with your spouse planned for the weekend.

Sex also helps with intimacy because it shows that you are still sexually attracted to your partner. Showing your spouse that you love them and that you desire them is great for your marriage. It will help you to stay together and work toward your common goals as a couple. Treating each other with respect and passion inside and out of the bedroom leads to a healthy relationship.

However, there are times when one or both people in marriage may have sexual problems. Sometimes your sex life may not be what you want it to be, and other times anxiety issues may prevent you from fully embracing sexual intimacy with your partner. In these situations, you might need to try to fix the problems before they negatively impact your marriage.

Does Marriage Really Need Intimacy To Survive?

How Can You Fix Intimacy Issues?

There are a few different ways to work on intimacy issues. First, talk to your spouse. Tell them how you feel and what you want. While it may be a hard conversation, it's important that you're both on the same page and willing to work on any issues you may have. It can also allow you to recognize areas where you can improve. Most relationships require compromise in some way or another. 

You may also want to try doing more things together. Plan a night out or go to a movie after work sometime. When you take the time to nurture your relationship instead of just going through the motions, things can change quickly. This may be even more important if you have been together for a while and need to spice things up. Practice playfulness together, in any way that feels good. Maybe that means blowing bubbles outside like children, tickling each other until you reach laughter, or doing anything that offers support to your inner child.

If you want to do something a little more exciting, try something new together. Perhaps you have always wanted to skydive or go to a wine tasting; do that with your spouse. Show them how much fun you can still have together.

If these ideas do not help you get things back on track, then you may want to talk to a professional who has experience working with couples. A therapist will be able to see things from a different perspective and offer helpful advice. Their ability to analyze the situation from afar will be useful while you work on your relationship.

Seeking Help

It can be tough to fix intimacy problems without professional assistance. It's often more efficient to work with a couple's therapist to solve these issues. When one person in a marriage has problems with intimacy, it can make the other feel inadequate. If both people have separate problems, then significant work needs to be done, but things can get better.

There are an increasing number of studies that point to online couples counseling as an effective method of helping people with relationship issues, including intimacy concerns. For example, in one study, researchers looked at the effects of online sexual counseling for couples, finding that it created significant improvements in sexual outcomes. This finding can be added to an already large number of studies finding that online counseling is as beneficial as face-to-face therapy when dealing with a broad array of concerns, both for couples and individuals. Online therapy provides remote availability to useful resources, such as interactive lessons, educational audio and video, and counseling sessions—all of which are normally guided by a licensed mental health professional—so that couples can work through relationship issues from almost anywhere.  

If you are uncomfortable discussing intimacy issues within your marriage face to face, you can reach out to the licensed therapists at BetterHelp. You’ll be able to chat with a licensed counselor from the comfort of your home. And you’ll be able to reach out to your therapist outside of sessions. Any time, day or night, when you have a question or an issue you want to address without waiting until your next appointment, simply send a message and your counselor will get back to you as soon as they are able. The mental health professionals at BetterHelp know how to guide you and your partner on the path to a more intimate relationship. Below are reviews from counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"I would refer Helen to anyone that would need to speak to a counselor. She listens and gives excellent advice. My husband and I are the closest we've ever been."

"Stephanie is a gem! She's very thoughtful, thorough, honest, insightful but most of all helpful. This is coming from a person that never wanted to do counseling and just "knew" I didn't need it. She's been key in helping my wife and I find our better place. She made us grow as a couple and individually. Thanks, Steph!"


If you want a healthy marriage, intimacy is crucial. Feeling distant from your partner will make things difficult for both people. Luckily, it is possible to improve the situation over time. Even if you aren't as close as you would like to be right now, you can learn to become more intimate and work toward a happier future together. Take the first step today.

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.