Intimate Solutions is a broad term I use to describe my work of helping couples work toward and ultimately achieve “Oneness.” My methods and therapies for Intimate Solutions are integrated into the counseling and therapy I provide for individuals and couples who are undergoing Couples Sexual Recovery, Addiction Recovery, Partner Recovery, as well as Couples Therapy & Counseling.
“Oneness” in marriage is a Divine ideal. Achieving it seems daunting, if not impossible. I believe we need to strive for ideals. I also appreciate breaking things down into manageable pieces as we go. I find value in focusing on achieving “Oneness” one moment at a time. Then, we are more likely to do what we can to return to that experience of “Oneness” again and again.
What is the main reason couples have turned to me for help? To establish or strengthen Healthy Intimacy in their relationship.
WHAT IS INTIMACY?
INTIMACY: A KNOWLEDGE DERIVED FROM A FAMILIAR, PERSONAL, CLOSE STUDY; OF OR PERTAINING TO THE ESSENTIAL NATURE OF SOMETHING; A CLOSE OR CONFIDENTIAL FRIENDSHIP, FAMILIARITY, FELLOWSHIP OR CLOSENESS, INCLUDING SEXUAL RELATIONS.
As a marriage therapist and counselor, I have observed four primary “Detours” that hinder the establishment of Healthy Intimacy. In my practice, I regularly confront all four of these Detours and work with my clients to get them back on track to develop true Healthy Intimacy.
1. Misinformation, ignorance, or misunderstanding of what is healthy and normal sexual functioning. Healthy Intimacy is often compromised by a misunderstanding of the concept of intimacy. Very often, we use the word “intimacy” as a broad euphemism when talking about sex, while ignoring other equally important aspects of intimacy, such as the emotional, spiritual, and physical intimacies. Intimacy is defined as: “a knowledge derived from a familiar, personal, close study; of or pertaining to the essential nature of something; a close or confidential friendship, familiarity, fellowship or closeness, including sexual relations.” In my view, Healthy Intimacy pertains to the essential nature of marriage.
2. A history of abuse – physical, emotional or sexual. Abuse is sadly all too prevalent. Statistics consistently tell us that, on average, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused as children. When a child’s first sexual experience is imposed, coerced or forced upon him or her, or introduced at a developmentally inappropriate time, there is severe damage to one’s expectations of what a safe, healthy, sexual relationship is supposed to be. Physical and emotional abuse leave their own variations of damage to a person’s concept of intimacy within relationships. Where there is damage from abuse, healing is needed to clear the way for Healthy Intimacy to develop.
3. Sexual addictions, including to addiction to pornography and/or fantasy sex. Healthy Intimacy is also compromised when there exists a pattern of sexual behaviors outside of marriage, such as pornography use, masturbation, seeking sexual encounters outside of marriage, and other behaviors, which may constitute Sexual Addiction (SA). Even though in our culture, behaving sexually outside of a committed relationship is often portrayed as “the norm,” such behavior does not diminish the reality of the devastating pain it causes in relationships.
4. Intimacy anorexia. As I pursued specialized training for working effectively with couples, I learned about Intimacy Anorexia. Rather than manifesting through “acting out” behaviors of sexual addiction, Intimacy Anorexia manifests through “acting in” behaviors of withholding Healthy Intimacy such as withholding love, affection, praise, sex, the sharing of feelings and spiritual connection. Similar addictive dynamics feed both Intimacy Anorexia and sexual addiction.