Here's my problem: social media is sabotaging our intimacy.
It's everything about it, really. Visually, we are constantly reminded of how others are doing better than we are. They are more happy, more in love, more sexy, more, more more....
People post smiling photos with captions of "vulnerability," and we can't help but think (even if subconsciously), "I wish that my messy moments were that pretty." Or, we see the couple who seems to have had an easy path of fertility, or an easy first year of marriage, and we become discontented with our own lives. What we don't see is they moments where that same couple sweeps problems under the rug, avoiding honest communication for the sake of keeping the peace.
And hear me: my heart is not to put down the friends, family, or influencers that you follow on social platforms. I'm calling attention to a problem that (I hope) you already know exists.
We pick up our phones subconsciously and scroll... all the while, forgetting to roll over and give attention to our partner (and, maybe they are right there with us, scrolling aimlessly). There's an ingrained instant gratification that keeps us hooked, waiting for the next "like" or "new comment."
And this, precisely, is what is ruining our intimacy.
Intimacy requires a slow burn. Patience. Observation so focused that you can pick up on the subtle shifts in your partner - and in your internal state, as well. Without this attunement, you're more likely to miss cues. To misinterpret. To shut down or blow up instead of leaning in to the discomfort of conflict and finding healthy resolution.
Sex may be easy when it's a quickie or a "let's get it over with, I'm busy" or "I'm horny, so I want to scratch the itch." Super easy. But if you want the kind of sex that allows yourself to be seen and vulnerable... the kind that looks at your partner (who pissed you off yesterday) and still says "I love you, I honor you,"... If you want to make love in the most literal sense: loving their mind, body and soul in simultaneous pleasure and mystery... that requires slowing down. It requires a quiet mind. It requires a sensitive heart.
Social media is undoing all of that.
So what options do we have? What can we do?
Start by limiting your interaction with social accounts. Limit your mindless scrolling. Override the discomfort of whipping out your phone immediately when waiting in a long line or in traffic.
Learn to feel the tension of a slower pace. And, in time, you'll master that tension. It won't feel like tension at all. You'll notice things that you didn't notice before. You'll notice how the little boy in the line a few feet ahead of you has a laugh that sounds a lot like your nephew's. You'll notice how the smell of the earth as you walk to your car is... soothing. You'll notice that the anxiety you feel while laying in bed is because of an unresolved conflict with your spouse - and you'll be motivated to move towards them rather than escape into a virtual happy place.
You'll have more sex.
You'll have more enjoyable sex.
You'll learn how to allow your body (ladies) to welcome an orgasm.
But while that's all exciting, I want to emphasize that the true gift of re-sensitizing yourself to intimacy is the multidimensional nature of it. In short: you'll get your emotional, spiritual, and physical needs met more easily.
Turn off your phone. Look up. Engage with the world.
I'm Sadé, and I love talking about intimacy.
As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I help couples find the root of their problems and build a long-lasting solution. As a dating coach, I help singles choose well and dismantle shame-based thoughts from Purity Culture.
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