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Understanding Intimacy: Frustrated in Redmond

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We've been married for over 10 years and we're best friends. But these days, I can't get my partner to give me any touch at all.

Dear Dr. Jane,

 My relationship has been hanging by a thread for quite a while now, but these days I'm almost ready to call it quits. We've been married for over 10 years and we're best friends. In the past, we were loving and affectionate. But these days, I can't get my partner to give me any touch at all. This is hard for me because physical touch is my love language. I see people all over town who look like they're in love. In our marriage, there's no hand holding or any other kind of personal touch anymore—not when we're out for a walk, not even when we're home alone. I know we've been under a lot of stress since COVID and that a real vacation would help, but that's just not in the budget right now. What do you suggest?

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From, Frustrated in Redmond

Dear Frustrated,

I hear you. Covid has been incredibly difficult for many, many couples. It sounds like in the past, your relationship was very loving and affectionate and now without physical touch it feels very lonely. This is really hard for you since touch is your love language.

Central Oregon looks like Honeymoon Heaven during the summer. Of course, lots of the people who are having The Time of Their Lives in Drake Park are on vacation. It looks like they're getting more than enough physical affection and love.  

Remember that even though life in Central Oregon is wonderful, you're still home when you're here—with all the stressors of daily life: the bills, the upkeep, the family issues. Hopefully, you're able to enjoy everything the area has to offer, but unless you both make a specific effort to relax, it'll be tough for your partner to let go of stress enough to connect intimately. This is very common. It's hard for many of us to get out of our heads enough to get turned on or to feel affectionate at all.  

Try this:

1. Pretend you're on vacation for a couple of days. Set up a fun weekend or midweek staycation—you don't have to spend a lot of money to make this work. Clear your calendar. Silence your devices. If you've got kids, have them stay with friends for a couple of days—and later return the favor. Or see if Nana and Grampa might be able to help you. Even without an overnight this can be great.

 2. Prepare for your time alone. Talk about what might be fun to do (or not to do) together. Would you rather spend time just hanging out or get up early for a hike to Tumalo Falls? Get things settled at home so you don't have to worry about upkeep while you're "gone." Tidy up. Find a dog sitter or enjoy your fur babies if that sounds fun.

 3. Pre-plan food for your staycation adventure. Include something sexy like an assortment of charcuterie items: salami, thinly sliced apples and strawberries, fancy cheeses. Select something to drink that's refreshing and special. When the time comes, it might feel sexy to feed each other, or to just savor what you've prepared. You don't have to spend a fortune to have beautiful food that tastes amazing and at the same time, nourishes your bodies and your connection.

4. Put expectations aside. Let the staycation be what it is. I hate to tell you this, but if you bring big expectations for wild and crazy Staycation Sex, you're likely to be disappointed. Pressure is the last thing either of you need if you're going to rekindle something sweet between you. That said, as you're getting ready for this time together, agree on a purpose; maybe something like "to let go of stress so that we can both explore how we've been feeling," or "to talk a little," or "to share time that's loving and relaxed." See what you come up with as a couple, and then see where your staycation takes you...with ease.

Of course, Hotel Sex is a great way to get things going, but Staycation Sex (or just Staycation Connection) can be just as much fun—and a lot less spendy.

You got this.
Xoxo
Dr. Jane

—Dr. Jane Guyn (she/her) is a well-known relationship coach who received her Ph.D. in Human Sexuality and is trained as a Professional Sex Coach and Core Energy Coach. She works to help women and their partners release shame and increase confidence in themselves. Her work is in the area of intimacy and sex, as well as fears and/or abuse issues related to sex, plus a variety of other issues that may arise from any relationship. She's the author of the Amazon #1 Bestseller, "Too Busy to Get Busy" and has been passionately married to her best friend for over 30 years. You can find her at howtofixmysexlife.com. Send her your questions at thesource@drjaneguyn.com.

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