"Way to go, Chip. Well said," Gruffalo commented on my July 9, 2009 blog post, Chip August: “Sex isn’t just a piece of skin wiggling around in some other skin.” "Now the really silly thing is that the first step is difficult. If you love, cherish and like each other, but you've lost the habit of physical intimacy and lovetalk, it feels strange, embarrassing and artificial to start. I know, one step at a time, but how to start?"
Chip returned a thoughtful response that was so helpful that I'm devoting this post to it, rather than leaving it as a comment that might be overlooked:
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to your question. Without knowing your history, how you came to lose the habit of intimacy, what each of you dreams your relationship could be, it’s very hard to tell you what your best first step might be.
If you were a client in my Intimacy Coaching practice, I would ask, Have the two of you ever talked about the “inertia” that has turned your sex life into a dead zone? Is either of you on medications that might be reducing your libido? Has erectile unreliability become an issue? There are so many ways to be unhappy.
In general, if we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always get what we’ve always gotten. A great way to move past the embarrassment and artificiality is to change something -- anything. A place for you to start is to notice and change your thoughts that get in the way of you starting.
Noticing and actively changing thoughts that don’t serve you is a good way to get up the courage to start a conversation. Perhaps begin a conversation by sharing your appreciation of your partner. Another step might be to reach out and hold hands when you are walking together. Another step might be to print out this page and ask your partner to read it. Another step might be to ask, “May I gently caress your face?”
The best first step is whatever step you actually take.
Be bold. What have you got to lose?
Chas. "Chip" August is a Personal Growth and Couples Intimacy Coach, host of “Sex, Love & Intimacy” an internet radio show, and author of the soon to be published “Marital Passion: The Sexless Marriage Makeover.” Chip sees clients at his office in Northern California and also does phone-coaching, phone: 1(650) 391-7763, email him at ChasAugust@gMail.com